To address the widespread misinformation about sex, News18.com is running this weekly sex column, titled ‘Let’s Talk Sex’, every Friday. We hope to initiate conversations about sex through this column and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance.
The column is being written by Sexologist Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain. In today’s column, Dr Jain has addressed Erectile Dysfunction (ED) post-COVID-19 and explained the reasons that may cause it.
There is no conclusive evidence to prove if there is causation or correlation between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19. However, in some cases, patients experience Erectile Dysfunction during their COVID infection or in their long COVID period.
While researchers are working towards understanding the relationship between the two, experts claim that a combination of various factors that stem from COVID-19 lead to the potential onset of Erectile Dysfunction.
Obstruction Of Blood Flow
One factor that may cause Erectile Dysfunction is inflammation which results during or after the COVID infection. A hyperactive immune system combating the virus leads to a state of hyper inflammation in many patients.
Hyperinflammation can cause small blood clots and the inflammation of the endothelium — the lining of the blood vessels, which can consequently disrupt blood flow, which is a crucial factor for erection.
Erectile function is a predictor of heart disease, so we know that the vascular system and reproductive system are connected. We also know that COVID-19 can cause hyper inflammation throughout the body, especially in the heart and its surrounding muscles.
Therefore, the blood supply to the penis can get blocked or narrow down due to a new or worsened vascular condition caused by the virus, which can further cause Erectile Dysfunction.
Sexual activity is closely associated with mental health. In addition to physical conditions, the stress, anxiety and depression caused by the virus and pandemic can also cause sexual dysfunction and poor mood. Therefore, ED can be triggered by mental health issues like depression, affecting the patient’s self-image adversely.
Along with a physical health check-up, mental health assistance can help patients identify the cause for their Erectile Dysfunction.
Overall Health Deterioration
ED is typically a symptom of an underlying problem. Men with poor health are at a greater risk of developing ED and having a severe reaction to COVID-19. Since the virus can cause many health issues, general poor health is cause for concern.
So particularly for young and healthy people who abruptly develop erectile dysfunction, and especially after having COVID-19, this can be a sign of something more serious going on.
Therefore, it is essential to seek medical attention in the early stages of Erectile Dysfunction, especially after COVID, instead of silently suffering for months.
Do Natural Remedies Work?
Natural remedies are never a substitute for professional help. In many cases, Erectile Dysfunction may be at a stage where medical assistance is required. Therefore, relying only on natural remedies is never a good idea.
However, specific home remedies which can act as a supportive treatment for Erectile Dysfunction are L-arginine rich food supplements like pumpkin seeds, oats, Brown rice and peanuts. Those suffering from this condition can also take two spoons of ginger extract with honey three times a day for two months.
Brisk walks play a vital role, and exercises like Kegel, which strengthens the perineum muscle, can also help. People can also try eating Drum stick flowers, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Walnut and Tulsi seeds in specific ways that will help in blood circulations and eventually reduce ED risk.