Covid-19: Man's penis shrinks after infection
A US man claims that Covid has struck a very low blow, robbing him of 4cm of his penis.
The man says that he came up short after suffering badly from Covid last year - and doctors have warned him that the change is likely permanent.
The man wrote in to Slate's popular How To Do It podcast to share the story of how his "above-average" penis was shrunk.
The 30-something man, who went by the nom de plume 'Coming Up Short', revealed how Covid hit him where it hurts.
"In July of last year I contracted Covid and was very sick.
"When I got out of the hospital, I had some erectile dysfunction issues. Those gradually got better with some medical attention, but I seem to be left with a lasting problem.
"My penis has shrunk. Before I got sick, I was above average, not huge, but definitely bigger than normal. Now I've lost about an inch-and-a-half (3.8cm) and become decidedly less than average.
"It's apparently due to vascular damage, and my doctors seem to think it's likely permanent.
"It shouldn't really matter, but it has had a profound impact on my self-confidence in my abilities in bed."
Visiting urologist Ashley Winter told the podcast that the unfortunate man's situation was sadly not unique.
Winter explained that cause was the earlier erectile dysfunction that, while it was treatable, led to long-term damage.
"It is true that having erectile dysfunction leads to shortening," she told the hosts.
"You have this period of time where the penis is not stretching itself out, where it's not, you know, getting all this full blood into it, and that can lead to scarring of the penis and shortening of the penis.
"And that's probably what you know your caller is referring to now."
Winter explained that when Covid enters the endothelial cells of the blood vessels found in the penis it can prevent normal blood flow, which stops the penis from becoming fully erect.
All is not lost
Both Ashley Winter and another urologist, Charles Welliver, both agreed that some options were available for men in similar situations.
Welliver noted that low-dose daily Viagra could be helpful to address the initial erectile dysfunction, to prevent later shrinkage.
Other options include devices such as vacuum pumps, that stretch the penis.
But Ashley Winter also offered another piece of advice to the patient, telling him to learn to love his new size.
She said: "Penis length doesn't define somebody. And the vast majority of the time dissatisfaction with penis length is really self-driven and not partner-driven."