What is long Covid and what are the known symptoms?
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Having long Covid usually means your symptoms from the initial infection have not gone away after around 12 weeks. Even more than a year later, some people are having to live with certain problems as a result. A new study, showed that long Covid has a much “more extensive” list of symptoms than originally thought – including two that directly impact sexual performance.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, analysed the health records of more than 500,000 people who had been infected with Covid, and among them were reports of reduced libido – or loss of sex drive – and difficulty ejaculating.
Men taking part in the survey also reported hair loss, something GP Doctor Sameer Sanghvi believed would also have an impact on their sex life.
Clinical technology lead at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, Doctor Sanghvi, explained: “In my experience as a doctor, these symptoms can all impact men’s confidence and, thus, their sex lives.”
He added: “Since this research came out, interest in the link between long Covid and these symptoms has skyrocketed.
“Google search volumes show queries asking ‘Does covid cause erectile dysfunction’ were up 650 percent week on week, while searches for ‘Long Covid hair loss’ increased by 130 percent.
“In my view, this is evidence that this is something men are really concerned about.”
He urged men to book an appointment if they were concerned about any of these symptoms.
“If you have had Covid and have started to notice unusual symptoms such as hair loss or any form of sexual dysfunction, don’t suffer in silence,” he said.
Doctor Sanghvi shared advice on how to deal with each symptom.
“In my experience, hair loss can have a massive impact on men’s self esteem so it’s important not to ignore this symptom of long Covid,” he said.
“An appointment with your GP is probably the best option. They may decide to conduct tests in order to find the best treatment option.
“Don’t be too concerned though. Hair loss caused by fever, illness or stress tends to grow back, given time.”
He said: “If a low libido is your concern, it’s best to discuss treatment options with your doctor because treatment usually depends on the cause.
“A great place to start is by looking after your mental health and ensuring you’re getting enough sleep and exercise, and are eating healthily.
“I’d also encourage taking the time to have open discussions with your partner about your emotional needs.”
Doctor Sanghvi added: “When it comes to erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation tends to get the most attention.
“But this research has found delayed ejaculation to be an issue for men with long Covid. This is when men have difficulty ejaculating or fail to ejaculate, even when stimulated.
“Treatment varies depending on the underlying cause, so the starting point should be a discussion with your GP.”
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