Many doctors have reported that their COVID-19 patients complained of ED immediately after and long after their illness.
But the first study to investigate this relationship properly has just appeared in the Journal of Andrology.
Scientists from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the University of Rome, and the Polytechnic University of Marche collected data from the [email protected] online survey that was run in Italy between April and May 2020.
They found 25 men who were sexually active and who had reported contracting COVID-19. They also found 75 sexually active men who had not had COVID-19 with whom to compare them.
As measured by the Sexual Health Inventory for Men, 28% of the COVID-19 group versus 9.33% of the non-COVID-19 group experienced ED.
After adjusting their results to compensate for other factors that may cause ED, such as psychological health, age, and body mass index, they determined that those who had suffered from COVID-19 were 5.66 times more likely to have ED.
The authors of the study offer the possibility that endothelial dysfunction may link the two conditions.
Endothelial dysfunction occurs when the inner lining (endothelial layer) of your blood vessels cannot perform its functions, such as enabling the dilation of blood vessels for good blood flow, preventing blood clotting, and so on.
This is one of the first consequences of heart disease and, as researchers have now found, it is also a major symptom of COVID-19.
This can potentially explain why people with heart disease are more likely to have severe COVID, and why people with COVID are still unwell months after they officially test negative for the virus.
Importantly, since healthy sexual function requires functional blood vessels, this also explains why people with heart disease and people with COVID are more likely to have ED.