Covid-19 can damage the testicles and reduce testosterone levels

A study on guinea pigs, carried out in China, revealed that the coronavirus can cause various atrophies, inflammations and damage to testicular cells, in addition to hormonal changes.

Covid-19 can damage the testicles and reduce testosterone levels
Chinese scientists have detected problems in the testicles of hamsters infected with covid-19 (Photo: Can Li, Zhanhong Ye et al./Clinical Infectious Diseases/Reproduction)

researchers from University of Hong Kongat Chinafound that the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can cause acute testicular damage, chronic asymmetric testicular atrophy and hormonal changeseven when the respiratory condition of the disease is considered mild.

The study conducted on hamsters was published on February 18 in the scientific journal Clinical infectious diseases.

“When caring for men recovering from Covid-19, it is important to be aware of the possible hypogonadism [baixo desejo sexual] and infertility. Vaccination can prevent these complications,” says infectious disease specialist Kwok-yung Yuen, one of the study authors, quoted by University of Hong Kong website.

According to the scientists, previous studies have reported testicular pain in patients with covid-19 and autopsy of patient victim of the disease 19 revealed orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) with a lot of damage to the testicular cells. Yet SARS-CoV-2 has not been consistently found in semen samples.

The study examined testicular and hormonal changes in virus-infected hamsters via intranasal or directly on the testicles. The control group received the Influenza virus, the flu.

As the Chinese university’s website shows, guinea pigs have developed pneumonia Light. Intranasal administration of SARS-CoV-2 resulted in an acute decrease in sperm count and testosterone (male hormone) levels four to seven days after infection.

Hamsters infected with Covid-19 developed testicular atrophy, which affected the size and weight of the testicles. The amount of sex hormones in the blood was reduced 42 to 120 days after infection. Acute testicular inflammation, hemorrhage and necrosis of the seminiferous tubules and disturbance of spermatogenesis have been observed.

Seven to 120 days after coronavirus inoculation, inflammation, degeneration and necrosis of testicular tissue persisted.

According to the study, the effects were similar using the omicron and delta variants. However, damage to the testicles can be prevented by vaccination.

In the control group, which was infected with influenza A intranasally or intratesticularly, no infection or testicular lesions were recorded.

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