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Fact-check: Does Covid-19 cause erectile dysfunction and low libido?

Source: An article in the Chronicle https://www.chronicle.co.zw/covid-19-after-effects-life-long-battle-for-recovered-patients/

Verdict: Inconclusive 

On August 3, 2020. The Chronicle published an article titled, Covid-19 after effects: Life-long battle for recovered patients, where they interviewed a medical doctor, Dr Khayelihle Dube who said loss of libido in both men and women, caused by a combination of factors, may occur after a person recovers from Covid-19.

“Erectile dysfunction may or may not happen as that is caused by two things, physical and psychological reasons. If a patient has brain fog and they have difficulties in thinking they may just be stressed which causes erectile dysfunction. Covid-19 can affect one’s arteries and to sustain an erection one needs a good blood supply so if arteries that are delivering blood to the penis are not working properly, then one won’t just have an erection or sustain one,” said Dr Dube.

CITE spoke to another medical doctor, Dr Brian Mbanje who explained that there has not been enough research as yet to confirm for certain that survivors of Covid-19 may suffer erectile dysfunction. 

“Inflammation does occur on several body parts but it is difficult to say that it causes low libido because libido comes from a feeling of wanting someone hence it becomes complex to conclude,” said Dr Mbanje. 

“There is need for more time to carry out more studies to ascertain that indeed it causes erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction, unlike libido, is easier to determine if it can be affected because it is physical and one can see that there is no erection or that the sexual intercourse is not lasting.”

A Journal of Gynecology Obstetrics and Human Reproduction https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7326390/ cites there is not enough data on the effect of COVID-19 on genitalia and sexual behaviour. However, some studies differed from one country to another stated a change in sexual behaviour. 

In a survey done by NBC News, in a group of just over 9000 people, only 24 % said COVID-19 infection had positively affected their sex lives, 28% were neutral, and 47% said it had negative effects. 

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