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Urological surgeon Dr Lall Sawh

New preliminary medical research has shown that COVID-19 may trigger erectile dysfunction.

And although the research done by the University of Miami is still inconclusive, prominent urological surgeon Dr Lall Sawh says it should be enough to terrify men into taking better precautions against COVID-19.

In an exclusive interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Dr Sawh said COVID-19 could affect sexual performance and trigger impotence if the blood vessels in the penis are damaged. He said the virus increases fatigue and also impacts mental health.

“There are blood vessels in the penis that are absolutely essential in the erectile process as well as spongy tissues so if the virus does, in fact, damage the blood vessels or the soft tissue, definitely there will be a problem with erectile dysfunction in men so afflicted,” Dr Sawh said.

He said the correlation between COVID and impotence was based on a premature research paper published by researchers at the University of Miami.

“This came about simply as they were doing implants in men who had no erection/they call these implants—prosthesis. Curiously, they looked at two patients who were having penile implants and who were known to have COVID infections and they took a piece of erectile tissue and thoroughly analysed it to see whether the COVID infection of these patients had created any physical or microscopic defect on the erectile tissue. And they found that there were endothelial changes, that is changes in the lining of the erectile tissue. They then surmised that the COVID infection caused erectile dysfunction,” he said.

Dr Sawh, who is an executive member of the Society of Surgeons said people in T&T must realise how important it was to prevent COVID and take vaccinations.

“Right now per capita, we have the highest death rate and highest incidence rate. That should tell us a story and warn us and frighten us,” he said.

However, he lamented that too many people were taking the virus as a big joke.

“For many people, the penis is a big joke. But this is no joking matter. This is a warning and, therefore, the men should take it seriously. We are in a crisis, a serious health crisis, we need to take our health into our hands and try to minimise the spread of this virus.

He added, “Even though the research is based only on two cases, it’s the beginning of what will be more research. There is going to be more research and numbers and if you’re getting an early warning, a wise man taketh an early warning. Be careful and don’t wait for the science to come and say aye, COVID will affect your erectile performance. That will be too late. This is an early signal and a red flag is being raised. Take it and run with it. Prevent yourself from getting COVID.”

He urged the public to take all the precautions that the Ministry of Health has been promoting.