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Covid-19 could cause male infertility and sexual dysfunction, but vaccines don’t

<span class ="caption"> New research has found that some men with COVID-19 may experience unwanted sexual side effects. </span> <span class ="attribution"> <a class= tuaindeed / iStock via . ” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/YeJelyvHj2UyFM88cP0UxA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOS4zMzMzMzMzMzMzMzM0/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/nWnCfvul9vOeROc..oXSGg–~B/aD05NTk7dz0xNDQwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/https://media.zenfs.com/es/the_conversation_espa_a/6481c3ffd1f4d589a2bf2f41ce85442a” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/YeJelyvHj2UyFM88cP0UxA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOS4zMzMzMzMzMzMzMzM0/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/nWnCfvul9vOeROc..oXSGg–~B/aD05NTk7dz0xNDQwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/https://media.zenfs.com/es/the_conversation_espa_a/6481c3ffd1f4d589a2bf2f41ce85442a”/>New research has found that some men who have suffered from COVID-19 may experience unwanted sexual side effects. tuaindeed / iStock via .

Contrary to the hoaxes circulating on social media, covid-19 vaccines do not cause erectile dysfunction or male infertility.

What is certain is that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19, poses a risk for both disorders.

Until now, little research has been done on how viruses or vaccines affect the male reproductive system. But recent research by doctors and researchers at the University of Miami has shed new light on these questions.

The team, which I include myself, has uncovered potentially far-reaching implications for men of all ages, including the very young and middle-aged who want to have children.

An illustration of human sperm.

What the team found

I am the Director of the Reproductive Urology Program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. My colleagues and I analyzed autopsy tissues from the testes of six men who died from the infection.

The result: the covid-19 virus appeared in the tissues of one of the men; in three there was a decrease in the number of sperm.

Another patient, who survived the COVID-19 infection, had a testicular biopsy about three months after his initial COVID-19 infection cleared. The biopsy showed that the coronavirus was still in his testicles.

Our team also discovered that COVID-19 affects the penis. An analysis of penile tissue from two men who received penile implants showed that the virus was present between seven and nine months after their covid-19 diagnosis. Both men had developed severe erectile dysfunction, probably because the infection had reduced the blood supply to the penis.

Notably, one of the men had only mild symptoms of Covid-19. The other had been hospitalized. This suggests that even people with a relatively mild case of the virus can experience severe erectile dysfunction after recovery.

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These results are not entirely surprising. After all, we scientists know that other viruses invade the testes and affect sperm production and fertility.

As an example, researchers who studied the testicular tissues of six patients who died from the SARS-CoV virus in 2006 found that all of them had widespread cell destruction, with little or no sperm.

Mumps and Zika viruses are also known to enter the testicles and cause inflammation. Up to 20% of men infected with these viruses will have impaired sperm production.

Male patient getting vaccinated.Male patient getting vaccinated.

Another reason to get vaccinated

A new study on vaccine safety has yielded some good news. A study of 45 men showed that the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna appear safe for the male reproductive system.

So this is another reason to get vaccinated: to preserve male fertility and sexual function.

It is true that the research is only a first step on how covid-19 could affect male sexual health; the samples were small. Studies must continue.

Even so, in the case of men who have had COVID-19 and then have experienced testicular pain, it is reasonable to consider that the virus has invaded the tissue of the testicles. The result can be erectile dysfunction. Those men should see a urologist.

Our research also presents an urgent public health message regarding covid-19 vaccines.

The millions of vaccine-reluctant men may want to reconsider their stance when faced with this aggressive virus.

One of the reasons for doubting the vaccine is the perception among many that vaccines could affect male fertility. Our research shows otherwise. There is no evidence that the vaccine harms a man’s reproductive system. However, ignoring the vaccine and contracting COVID-19 could very well do it.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original.

Ranjith Ramasamy does not receive a salary, nor does he practice consulting, nor does he own shares, nor does he receive financing from any company or organization that can benefit from this article, and he has declared that he has no relevant links beyond the academic position cited.

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