Studies have found that one noteworthy complication that has arisen from COVID-19 infection is the possible onset of erectile dysfunction (ED). One study found men infected with the virus were more than five times more likely to develop ED. According to an article published earlier this year in the International Journal of Impotence, research has shown a correlation between ED and COVID-19, citing that the infection could affect male sexual function through damage to erectile tissue, testicular damage and the psychological effects of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 infection can affect multiple organ systems, and more fundamentally has a direct impact on our blood vessel, nerve and hormone function,” explains Denver, CO urologist Juan Montoya, MD. “There is also evidence that the male sex hormone testosterone may help explain why COVID-19 infections tend to be more severe and lethal in men. Given these findings, it should be no surprise that erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual health have been associated with COVID-19 infections.”
One solution that has provided some benefit for patients with this particular long-haul symptom is the use of an in-office electromagnetic treatment called Emsella that treats incontinence. “It engages the vast pelvic floor musculature—far beyond what Kegel exercises do—and also seems to enhance blood flow,” notes Denver, CO dermatologist Joel Cohen, MD, who has recommended Emsella to help treat this concern. “By a few anecdotes, this seems to have helped. Of course, it could be simply time that helps recover, but the recovery seems to have been dramatically expedited with a series of Emsella sessions.”
Emsella works by delivering electromagnetic energy to the pelvic floor muscle, causing it to make thousands of contractions. “There are many sexual function studies for both men and women on Emsella right now, and more coming soon with actual validated scales,” adds Dr. Cohen. “Augmenting blood flow of the pudendal area, engaging the musculature, and improving blood flow of the entire pelvic area seems to be the likely mechanism of action.”
For those “suffering in silence” with erectile dysfunction or diminished sexual health, Dr. Montoya advises an immediate visit with a healthcare provider or urologist. “The evaluation and treatment for these problems has increased significantly, as have our tools to help patients with these issues,” he shares. “These are common problems with significant underlying medical causes and for which treatment is readily available.”