Covid ‘can cause erectile dysfunction’ – but there’s NO evidence coronavirus vaccines cause men to be sterile, docs say

DESPITE unbacked rumors that Covid-19 vaccines may cause men to be infertile, doctors say there's no evidence they will.

However, studies show there may be long standing effects from coronavirus that could affect men's reproductive health – like erectile dysfunction.

Unbacked claims have surfaced on social media amid misinformation that Covid vaccines cause men to be sterile.

Doctors, health experts, and the FDA all maintain there is zero evidence to show that it does, and are working to disprove those unbacked claims.

Ranjith Ramasamy, MD, Associate Professor and Director of Reproductive Urology; and Daniel Nassau, MD and Andrology Fellow, both at the University of Miami, are conducting an ongoing study to evaluate if Covid vaccines cause men to be sterile – but don't anticipate they'll find any evidence it does.

"There is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine causes men to be sterile," Ramasamy wrote to The Sun.

"We are investigating if there are any negative impacts of the vaccine on male fertility, but we feel this to be unlikely," he added.

Ramasamy and Nassau are studying both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine – the two shots that have been approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA.

The study is expected to have around 60 participants in total.

Researchers are collecting semen samples from men before they receive Covid-19 vaccines.

They will then collect sperm samples three and six months after the second vaccine dose, to evaluate if they have any effects on male fertility.

A spokesperson from the FDA told The Sun there is no evidence showing that Covid vaccines will cause infertility.

The FDA spokesperson noted, however, that infections or other inflammatory conditions – like mumps – can have negative effects on male reproductive health and fertility.

Henry, a 29-year-old living in Boise, Idaho, told The Sun he's had a number of changes in his sexual health since he suspects he had Covid in late October going into November.

He said he's "barley had any semen for over a month and zero sex drive."

"[My] Girlfriend and I were having internet sex daily or twice daily before and then I just didn't feel it like at all," he said of the differences he's felt since he was sick.

Longstanding effects on male reproductive health

One recent study published by the Royal Society found that some men who had a fever with coronavirus later were found to have testicle tissue damage.

Fevers can cause damaging swelling in men's testicles – called "orchitis," the study noted.

This could lead to male infertility, the study, led by researchers from lead by Assam University said.

Dr. Emmanuele A. Jannini, Full Professor of Endocrinology & Medical Sexology at the Department of Systems Medicine at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, has worked on several studies looking at longterm effects of Covid and male reproductive health.

One study Jannini worked on and published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation in May evaluated the possibility of Orchitis as a possible Covid-19 complication.

Jannini's study found at the time there was no evidence showing possible testicle damaging from swelling related to Covid-19.

Jannini said Covid does not seem to affect men's reproductive health in the way of fertility as much as it does in the sense of erectile dysfunction.

"The male reproductive function seems not so dramatically affected by both Covid, the therapy of Covid, the vaccination and so on," Jannini told The Sun.

"We do not have so many strong reasons to believe that there is a possible effect of the virus, of the infection, of the consequences of infection into the male ability to reproduce," he added.

As much has been learned about the virus over the course of the outbreak, however, recent studies – like the one published in the Royal Society, have suggested otherwise.

Jannini said that there are longterm effects that can affect men's reproductive health following infection – like erectile dysfunction or the "ability to maintain erection."

Pre-existing risk factors, respiratory illness, and erectile dysfunction

One study Jannini worked on evaluating the possible lasting effects of Covid-19 on male reproductive health was published in July 2020 in the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Jannini told The Sun that there are links showing men who have pre-existing conditions or risk factors that cause erectile dysfunction – like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, or other conditions – are more likely to contract severe illness.

Jannini said cases of erectile dysfunction seem to appear in men who have had severe illness – specifically pneumonia – after contracting Covid.

It's difficult to say if erectile dysfunction is specifically caused by Covid, or if it appears primarily because it's more linked with pre-existing conditions, Jannini said.

Because Covid-19 is so new and there is much doctors are still learning about it, it's difficult to say if erectile dysfunction is caused by coronavirus infection or is more related to the pre-existing conditions that can cause it, Jannini said.

"It seems the people having erectile dysfunction are at risk of having… the worst disease," Jannini said.

Jannini said that there appears to be links between patients who had pneumonia and developing erectile dysfunction.

He noted that rather than a respiratory illness, pneumonia "is more of a vascular dysfunction" – meaning it's related to the body's blood vessels.

The breathing can in turn be affected by the vascular issues in Covid infections, Jannini said.

"We are figuring out that definitely, people may be with erectile dysfunction after the pneumonia – even if they are healthy before," he said.

More data and research are needed on these links, however, Jannini said, as he emphasized that observations are early.

Psychological effects of Covid on reproductive health

Along with possible physical side effects on men's sex organs, Jannini said Covid has shown side effects on both male and female sexual health –– from a psychological perspective.

Multiple factors – including isolation, emotional distress, loss of relatives and family and friends – can cause trauma and stress in people, the study Jannini worked on that was published in July said.

The study sait it is "unsurprising that sexual desire and frequency have declined in both genders during this pandemic" and said there's "reason to suspect that psychological suffering might exacerbate pre-existing subclinical sexual dysfunctions."

Jannini said in one study he worked on that studied the habits of nearly 7,000 Italians in early months of lockdown last year, "people who remain in having some kind of sexual activity did experience much less levels of anxiety and depression with respect to people not performing sexually."

He emphasized the benefits of sex, and encouraged people to "do as [much] as possible to stay healthy.

Risk vs Reward

When evaluating the possible outcomes of getting a vaccine or and contracting the virus, Ramasamy said the reward of a shot outweighs the risk.

Ramasamy said "it is much more likely that vaccination is safer from a men's health and fertility perspective than an acute infection."

"We encourage all men to get vaccinated when it becomes available to them," he urged.

The FDA spokesperson told The Sun that as the group evaluates whether or not to give a product – like the Covid vaccines – emergency use authorization (EUA), they "assess any known or potential risks and any other known or potential benefits.

"If the product meets the effectiveness standard and the benefit-risk assessment is favorable, the product is made available during the emergency," the FDA spokesperson said.

Health officials have urged everyone who is able to get the Covid-19 vaccine to help limit virus spread, as US cases continue to climb past 25million, with more than 420,000 deaths.

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