Covid may harm testicles, cut sex drive: HKU study

Research by the University of Hong Kong indicates that Covid-19 could damage testicles and lead to low sex drive and reduced fertility.

A team of microbiologist led by Professor Yuen Kwok-yung based the findings on a study of testicular and hormonal changes in hamsters infected by the coronavirus.

The infected hamsters suffered from acute decrease in sperm count and serum testosterone, which is a male sex hormone, the researchers said. They said the hamsters’ testicles also became smaller and lighter.

From seven to 120 days after infection, the inflammation, degeneration and death of testicular tissue persisted, the research found.

The research also showed both the Omicron and Delta variants could cause such damage.

The team noted that in some previous studies, some male Covid-19 patients reported testicular pain, while an autopsy study of men who died from Covid showed the inflammation of testicles with lots of cell damage.

“In managing convalescent Covid-19 males, it is important to be aware of possible hypogonadism (low sex drive) and subfertility. Covid-19 vaccination can prevent this complication,” Yuen said.

The study has been accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.