Although they have been at the forefront of our consciousness for over two years now, the full effects of COVID-19 on our bodies are still being explored.
While the first signs of the virus are now well known, additional symptoms associated with new variants of COVID-19 and “Long COVID” are continually being discovered and documented.
The case of a man in the United States has drawn media attention to what he considers a rarely discussed side effect of the coronavirus – a reduction in the size of his penis.
In an episode of Slate’s “How To” Tips Podcast airing Jan. 9, hosts Jessica Stoya and Rich Juzwiak discussed a letter from a listener, a man in his 30s, who describes living with the long-term effects of COVID-19 on his manhood.
inch and a half shorter
In the letter to the show, the man explains that he contracted the virus in July 2021 and was hospitalized. After being released, he had “problems with erectile dysfunction” which subsided after seeing a doctor.
He added, however, that he “seemed to be left with a lasting problem” after noticing that his previously “above average” penis had shrunk an inch and a half from his size before he don’t get sick with the virus.
According to the man, who is not named in the correspondence, his doctors informed him that the narrowing was due to “vascular damage” and is likely permanent.
The link between COVID-19 and problems with the reproductive system is still a gray area, but some studies that have already been conducted have established tentative links between the virus and conditions such as erectile dysfunction (ED).
A small study by the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami in Florida, USA, analyzed penile tissue from four men who had previously contracted the virus – two undergoing surgery for a penile prosthesis to treat erectile dysfunction and two that were not.
The researchers found that traces of the virus could still be found in the genitals months after infection.
The findings, which were published in the World Journal of Men’s Health in July last year, led researchers to conclude that the virus may restrict blood supply to the genitals, which over time could cause difficulty in getting an erection.
Long COVID Symptoms
The link between poor circulation and COVID-19 has been established in connection with other parts of the body in infected patients showing symptoms such as “COVID toes”, a condition similar to frostbite seen in some coronavirus cases.
A study published by University College London in July 2021 identified more than 200 symptoms now associated with Long COVID from a dataset of 3,762 participants from 56 countries.
Along with more unusual long-term effects such as loss of vision, new allergies, and the inability to cry or yawn, some of the rarer symptoms of the disease that were noted in the study focused on the reproductive system.
In women, this has resulted in the early onset of menopause and irregular periods. For the men, a decrease in the size of the genitalia – both the penis and the testicles – was noted in some of the participants, which is consistent with the case of the man from the United States.
Just as scientific investigation is still ongoing into the long-term effects of the virus, there is still no consensus on how to treat and reverse the potential damage caused by COVID-19 to reproductive organs.
Speaking to Slate as a guest on the “How To Do It” podcast, Dr. Charles Welliver, a urologist at Albany Medical College, said he thinks treatment could include rehabilitation, including use of devices such as penis pumps to help regain lost girth and length.
“The original stage [for temporary loss] was trying to use daily low-dose Viagra or something,” he told Slate.
“But more recently, we’ve started looking at another type of stretching device or traction device.
“There’s one called RestoreX, which is used for data to actually be very good at regaining and maintaining length. And there are others called vacuum erection devices…which also have potential benefits. “.