COVID-19 could be damaging men’s testosterone levels, researchers have said.
A team from Turkey say they have found a link between low levels of the male hormone and admission to intensive care unit (ICU) with coronavirus.
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Previous research has already suggested that low testosterone levels could explain why some men become more ill once infected with coronavirus. But this is the first study to show that the virus can actually deplete it.
Selahittin Çayan, Professor of Urology at the University of Mersin and the Mersin City Education And Research Hospital, said: “Testosterone is associated with the immune system of respiratory organs, and low levels of testosterone might increase the risk of respiratory infections.
“Low testosterone is also associated with infection-related hospitalisation and all-cause mortality in male in ICU patients, so testosterone treatment may also have benefits beyond improving outcomes for COVID-19.
“In our study, the mean total testosterone decreased, as the severity of the COVID-19 increased. The mean total testosterone level was significantly lower in the ICU group than in the asymptomatic group.
“The patients who died, had significantly lower mean total testosterone than the patients who were alive.
“Testosterone is associated with the immune system of respiratory organs, and low levels of testosterone might increase the risk of respiratory infections. Low testosterone is also associated with infection-related hospitalisation and all-cause mortality in male in ICU patients, so testosterone treatment may also have benefits beyond improving outcomes for COVID-19.”
However, they found there were also implications for the men who asymptomatic as 65.2% reported a of libido.
The trial involved looking at a total of 438 people, of which 232 were men. All of the participants had tested positive for COVID-19. A detailed clinical history, complete physical examination and scans were taken of each person.
Professor Çayan added: “It could be recommended that at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis, testosterone levels are also tested. In men with low levels of sex hormones who test positive for COVID-19, testosterone treatment could improve their prognosis. More research is needed on this.”
The findings have been published in The Aging Male journal.