Researchers at the University of Rome discovered that getting COVID-19 dramatically increases the chances that a man will suffer erectile dysfunction (ED).
The scientists gathered data from 985 sexually active men. They found that those who tested positive for the coronavirus were 5.66 times more likely to later develop trouble with sexual performance. That number held true even after the study adjusted for other ED-related risk factors such as age, obesity, and mental health status.
The study did not pinpoint how COVID brings on ED. But Dr. Emannuele A. Jannini believes it has something to do with the damage that the virus does to endothelial function. The endothelial is the lining of the inside of blood vessels.
“COVID-19 is by all means an endothelial disease,” he said. “And erectile dysfunction has often been considered a hallmark of endothelial dysfunction.”
COVID Damages Blood Vessels
COVID-caused inflammation may impair the lining of blood vessels, Dr. Jannini said. This, in turn, disrupts the blood supply to the penis, causing problems attaining an erection. The study did not determine whether post-COVID ED is permanent.
Dr. Jannini said his study should provide more incentive for men to get vaccinated and wear masks in public.
The results confirm earlier research published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. It found that COVID-19 may trigger ED not only by impairing blood vessels but by reducing testosterone levels and causing psychological distress.
The researchers concluded that medications such as Viagra are effective in easing COVID-caused ED. And they discovered that Viagra may actually help treat COVID itself by opening blood vessels and improving circulation. Several clinical trials are now underway to test Viagra (sildenafil) in coronavirus patients.
For men who turn to Viagra to deal with post-COVID ED, another recent study brings good news…
Viagra Also Lengthens Men’s Lives
Researchers in Sweden found that Viagra reduces heart attack risk and helps men live longer.
The study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden followed 16,5000 men taking Viagra, Cialis (tadalafil), or another PDE5 inhibitor medication. It followed the subjects for almost six years and compared them to men not taking PDE5 drugs. Participants in both groups had been previously diagnosed with heart disease.
The researchers found that men taking Viagra or other ED medications lived longer and had a lower risk of suffering heart problems than those who didn’t. The protection was dose dependent. So the more Viagra a man took, the greater his longevity and heart benefits.
Dr. Martin Holzmann led the study. “Potency problems are common in older men, and now our study shows that PDE5 inhibitors may protect against heart attack and prolong life,” he said.
There’s one caveat: Viagra does not effectively treat ED in all men. One study found it doesn’t work in about 30% of patients.
Diabetic men often find that Viagra doesn’t help them attain erections. This is because Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors work by relaxing smooth muscle, which in turn dilate blood vessels in the penis. But muscle will not relax substantially when blood sugar is high.
3 Natural Alternatives to ED Drugs
If Viagra doesn’t work for you, there are three safe and natural ED solutions that have shown to be effective in clinical studies:
1.) L-citrulline is an amino acid found in some foods. A blind placebo study published in the journal Urology tested L-citrulline in men with ED. Half the men taking L-citrulline reported getting firmer erections. And they had sex more than twice as often as they did before taking the supplement. L-citrulline also proved to be fast-acting. Subjects reported that their ED improved almost right after taking it.
The men in the study took 1.5 grams of L-citrulline a day. You can find L-citrulline supplements in health food stores and online.
2.) Maca is a radish-like root that grows in the mountains of Peru. It is particularly effective in people taking antidepressants, which often have the side effect of reducing libido. A randomized, double-blind study at Massachusetts General Hospital found 3 grams of maca a day improved the sex drive of patients taking antidepressants.
Maca works in non-depressed patients, too. A 2009 study in the journal Andrologia showed that men suffering from ED reported improved erectile function and higher sexual satisfaction after taking 2.4 grams of maca a day for 12 weeks.
3.) Ginseng has been used in the Far East since antiquity to increase stamina, fight fatigue, and boost sexual performance. Modern research shows ginseng’s effectiveness against ED is comparable to Viagra.A double-blind placebo study in 2002 found that 60% of men had improved erections while taking ginseng. The research was published in The Journal of Urology.
The pandemic has taken so much joy out of our lives. Don’t let it rob you of your sex life.
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- Omega-3s Cut COVID Death Risk, Study Finds. Most people take fish oil for heart health. But new research shows it could offer an important added benefit during the pandemic. Click HERE to read more.