Erectile dysfunction: Could it be a symptom of a more serious pathology?

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Several studies suggest that dysfunction in men may be a manifestation of damage caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, among other diseases. An expert consulted by Infobae explains why

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection hard enough to allow for satisfactory sexual intercourse (iStock).
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection hard enough to allow for satisfactory sexual intercourse (iStock).

Erectile dysfunction is an issue that touches and worries many men around the world. Beyond what it might represent for self-esteem, it has been studied from another side for several years, focusing on pathologies that can create this problem in men. a published study Nature notes erectile dysfunction can just be The tip of the iceberg for many ailments after suffering a severe form of COVID-19. According to the study summary, men were more affected than women, with a higher average death rate and stronger affect.

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“Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection hard enough to allow for satisfactory sexual intercourse. It should not be seen as just a symptom, however, it is part of a systemic disease that can affect one in every two men between the ages of 50 and 70.explains information, Walter De Bonis, urologist and consultant to the Argentine Urology Association, in charge of the Sexual Dysfunctions division of Durand Hospital.

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To understand the mechanisms involved in the formation of erectile dysfunction, it is necessary to understand: Erection is a complex myovascular neuroendocrine phenomenon. “The realization of this depends on the integration and synchronization of the functions of the different systems and organs of the human body, from the endocrine system to the neurological system, mainly passing through the cardiovascular system.” de Bonis adds.

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Alejandro Sánchez Flores of the Institute of Biotechnology says this dysfunction is not more common in men aged 50 and older who suffer from COVID-19 compared to those who do not suffer from the disease. “What they’re seeing is that this may be the tip of the iceberg, because it is known that the virus is a pathogen that destabilizes renin-angiotensin regulation, which has to do with blood pressure, causing damage to tissues, for example, tissues related to the epithelium. attached to the endotheliumtissues found in blood vessels, Y in the end everything is part of the circulatory systemto which the erection is attached.

Urologist Walter De Infobae
“There is some controversy regarding the effects of SARS-CoV-2 viruses on reproductive health and the male genitals, and as a result, there are concerns about its potential impact on fertility as a continuation of COVID-19 infection,” urologist Walter De Infobae told Live Science. Bonis (Getty Images)

It is possible to be psychologically damaged in the effects that may occur after suffering from COVID. “There seems to be some elements that can be associated. We can’t specifically blame the virus, but there are two components: psychological affecting our behavior related to sexual activities; the other has to do with the functioning of more specific things like nitric oxide synthase. a regulator that is fundamentally necessary in an erection, because it is essential that there is venous blood, deoxygenated blood is trapped in the penis and arterial blood does not circulate,” said Sánchez Flores.

Although the incidence is not high, infertility problems may occur due to damage to the testicles added to erectile dysfunction. it is important to know HeDysfunction “can be an indication of more serious damage to the heart or other organs. Sanchez Flowers– Most cases of cerebral infarction result from rupture of blood vessels in the brain”.

De Bonis continues along the same lines: “There is some debate about the effects of viruses. SARS -There are concerns about the potential impact on CoV-2 reproductive health and male genitalia and thus on fertility as a continuation of COVID-19 infection. . The presence of virus fragments was observed in the semen and in the seminiferous epithelium, the area where sperm are produced. Which requires at least a fertility check in individuals who have had a coronavirus infection?. On the other hand, it is known that the coronavirus family has the ability to cause orchitis and orchitis is risk factors associated with infertility. Changes in testosterone levels were also observed. It is an androgenic hormone mainly involved in sperm production and is also involved in the sexual response. Therefore, what is another element to consider in the association effects of COVID-19 infections on the genital and sexual apparatus”, says De Bonis

What exactly is it that makes you not have an erection?  It is important to know that an adequate erection depends on the fact that the blood vessels of the penis are basically intact, the endothelium, the inner lining of the body's blood vessels.
What exactly is it that makes you not have an erection? It is important to know that an adequate erection depends on the fact that the blood vessels of the penis are basically intact, the endothelium, the inner lining of the body’s blood vessels.

But what exactly makes it impossible to get an erection? You should know that an adequate erection depends on: “Penile blood vessels are basically unharmed from the endothelium, the inner lining of the body’s blood vessels.”De Bonis says. And he continues: “The endothelium performs very important functions, including the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, a free oxygen radical that plays a role in the vasodilation phenomenon. Its role is so important that an erection depends on the presence of an adequate nitric oxide production, which is definitely reduced in all these comorbidities associated with erectile dysfunction, such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, among others.

You should be careful symptom examined as overstrain Although they do not have such a disease, it was discovered that they have microthrombi, very small clots and their platelet aggregation is higher than normal or higher than normal, which is common in young people suffering from COVID. normal. “Erectile dysfunction tells us there’s damage to the endothelium, because even though the SARS-CoV-2 virus is no longer present, it leaves a lot of things unchecked,” said Sánchez Flores.

According to another study, COVID-19 patients have a six-fold increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Also, conversely, people who already have this sexual disorder are five times more likely to get coronavirus infection. This data, which serves as a warning about the risks of the coronavirus associated with erectile dysfunction, emerged from an Italian study published in the journalism. andrology . It is one of hundreds of works that contribute to unraveling what happens when the coronavirus infection progresses in the body and affects it to the point of producing erectile dysfunction.

Professor of endocrinology and medical sexology at the Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata in Rome, Italy. For Emmanuele Jannini, study results “They agree with the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in erectile dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction and COVID-19. Basically, endothelial dysfunction is common in both conditions (COVID-19 and erectile dysfunction)” . Considering the risks to sexual health among the other effects of the virus, people need to comply more with preventive care such as the use of appropriate masks, distance, ventilation and vaccination.

There are at least a few preliminary studies showing a strong association between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19.
There are at least a few preliminary studies showing a strong association between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19.

There are at least a few preliminary studies showing a strong association between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19.. On the one hand, according to some authors, SARS-CoV-2 infections may increase the likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction, while erectile dysfunction may be an indicator of greater susceptibility to infection. pathological conditions common in erectile dysfunction, which in turn are considered risk factors for more serious diseases resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infections. And the common factor in all these entities is definitely blood vessel disorders. These comorbidities also constitute elements of poor prognosis in patients infected with COVID-19, in fact the severity and prevalence of COVID-19 is greater among men suffering from hypertension, obesity and certain cardiovascular diseases, among others,” says De Bonis.

And adds: “While it may seem hasty to think that SARS-CoV-2 infections increase the incidence of erectile function, it is clear that the same risk factors and comorbidities that lead to more serious COVID-19 infections are also sexually related comorbidities and risk factors. dysfunctions. Also, changes in sexual behavior have been observed during the pandemic, some of which is reflected in several studies that we conducted at Durand Hospital, where we observed changes in sexual frequency, type of interaction, and self-state. incentive practices and even more pornography consumption.”

The link between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease was made by Italian researchers in a study of 300 men with acute chest pain and angiographically documented coronary artery disease (Shutterstock).
The link between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease was made by Italian researchers in a study of 300 men with acute chest pain and angiographically documented coronary artery disease (Shutterstock).

Erectile dysfunction can be the first sign of major complications in men’s health. Arie Parnham, MD, doctor at Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, United States, came up with a recent study on the aging of men. He Half of men between the fourth and seventh decades have more than one comorbidity and the most common of these is coronary artery disease.

His presentation took place at the European Urology Association 2020 Congress. The link between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease has been established by Italian researchers. study conducted on 300 men with acute chest pain and angiographically documented coronary artery disease. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction in the study cohort was 49%, and in 70% of these men onset occurred within 40 months of diagnosis of coronary heart disease.

There was a 44% increase in the risk of subsequent cardiovascular events, A 62% increase in the risk of myocardial infarction and a 25% increase in the risk of death from all causes in a systemic review of 14 studies in 2013: a group of 92,757 men with erectile dysfunction with a median follow-up of 6.1 years. “Young people were at higher risk” Parnham cited the systemic review that “emphasizes the importance of screening in this group.”

Source: Info Bae

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