What’s up? A new study published May 7th, 2021 in World Journal of Men’s Health reported that the coronavirus can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). This is the first study to “demonstrate the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the penis long after the initial infection in humans.” The researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine suggest that “widespread endothelial cell dysfunction from covid-19 infection can contribute to ED.” The researchers believe that COVID-19 can damage the peniIe blood vessels that supply blood to the penis, noting that “endothelial damage associated with COVID-19 is likely to affect the penile vascular flow, resulting in impaired erectile dysfunction.” This is very concerning! The virus presence in the penis is likely to worsen ED. Researchers say, “Patients should be aware of the potential complication of post-COVID-19 ED. Any changes observed in erectile function after infection should be followed up with the appropriate specialist for treatment and to help further investigation into the condition.” The researchers further acknowledged that “future studies are needed to validate the effects of this virus on sexual function.”
We know the best way to avoid COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. But even if you are vaccinated, it is still possible to get infected with the coronavirus and penile viral exposure. Also, people who have not gotten vaccinated and who have natural immunity after getting COVID-19 can still get re-infected with the virus.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to obtain and maintain an erection for sexual activity as a result of hormonal, neurological and vascular factors. 30 million men worldwide have erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction affects some 18 million men in the United States. As men age, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases. From the early age of 30, the number of men who have underperforming erections, or none at all, increases. The main causes of erectile dysfunction include aging, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Today, when a man in his 30s or 40s goes to their primary care physician because of erectile dysfunction, it is often recommended that the patient see a cardiologist! Many cases of erectile dysfunction are caused by cardiovascular problems with a warning that you may be at a greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Do you have the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as: family history (mother, father, sibling, etc.), elevated blood lipids and LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, hypertension, elevated triglycerides and C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation in the body)? If you have any of these risk factors, you need to take charge and lower your risk. See your physician now! Every risk factor that you eliminate, you lower your risk of heart disease and erectile dysfunction. To improve long-term cardiovascular health and erectile function, men should eat a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and engage in a daily resistance training and vigorous aerobic exercise program. Several studies have shown that men combining physical activity with the Mediterranean diet can provide additional and enhanced benefits to alleviate erectile function. Regular exercise and the Mediterranean diet also stimulate nitric oxide release and promote health and function of endothelial cells lining vascular walls.
Overweight men that lose weight often have improvement in their erectile function, testosterone levels, and sexual health. Research has shown that men following the Mediterranean diet, low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fats, nitrates and polyphenols (from extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, fruits, and leafy vegetables) have less erectile dysfunction. Research has also shown that men with the metabolic syndrome – a group of risk factors (i.e., hypertension, high blood lipids and insulin resistance) – were 100% more likely to have erection problems than people who exercise regularly. The incidents of heart disease were greatest in men suffering from the metabolic syndrome and erectile dysfunction. Exercise and the Mediterranean diet protects against erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.
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