Maintaining Covid-19 precautions may seem like a pain. But at least it’s not a pain in the penis. A case report published in the journal Clinical Case Reports described how a man developed a hard-to-deal-with problem after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
His Covid-19 diagnosis came after he had tested positive for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on a nasopharyngeal swab test. His early symptoms were relatively mild, including some muscle pain, fever, cough, and fatigue. He didn’t take any medications for the Covid-19 and hadn’t suffered any physical trauma to his penis, which men tend to remember. Men don’t typically say, “hmm, I can’t quite tell if I was just kicked in the genitals.”
Based on the case report, it seemed like this married refrained from sex with anyone during the time that one is typically contagious. However, three weeks after his positive test, he decided to test his, ahem, hardware for the first time since his Covid-19 diagnosis. He stood ready to engage in what’s called intercourse when he experienced significant penile pain that extended to his groin and back to area in front of his anus.
While the pain was worst when his penis was erect, it also persisted when it wasn’t. This wasn’t the kind of pain that he could simply shake off, so to speak. Therefore, after three days of this groin concern, he saw a urologist. The urologist ordered an ultrasound, which showed blood clots in the his deep dorsal penile vein. The medical term for blood clots is thrombosis. The non-medical reaction to such a condition might be “ouch.”
His doctor began treating the man with a blood thinner, 15 mg of rivaroxaban two times a day. Two months later, most of his symptoms had resolved. He still had a smaller old clot left in the veins associated with a little bit of pain.
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Covid-19 has led to blood clots. As decried by the case report authors (Seyed Morteza Bagheri and Zhale Tabrizi, two radiologists from the Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran), studies have shown that somewhere between 20% to 50% of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 infection have abnormal results on blood clotting tests. These include elevated levels of D-dimer, prolonged prothrombin time, prolonged clotting time, thrombocytopenia and low fibrinogen levels. This may be due either directly to the viruses’ effects or the body’s immune response to the viruses.
Now your penis should have two general types of veins, assuming that you have a penis. Otherwise your body wouldn’t be able to drain blood from your penis, which result in a log standing problem. While arteries bring blood to your penis, veins are what allow the blood to leave your penis. Superficial dorsal veins are veins that closer to the surface and drain blood from the skin and soft subcutaneous tissue of your penis. By contrast, deep dorsal veins are the ones the drain the deeper structures within your penis such as the glans, corpus spongiosum and the distal two thirds of the corpora cavernosa. While there have already been reports of blood clots in the superficial venous systems of people’s penises following SARS-CoV-2 infections, this apparently was the first reported case of deep dorsal penile vein thrombosis.
So this case is yet another member of the “how Covid-19 may affect your penis” club. Thrombosis in a deep penile vein may be quite rare. However, I have already covered for Forbes how a man with Covid-19 had an erection lasting longer than four hours, which may be rare as well, and how men who have had Covid-19 have had erectile dysfunction and low sperm counts and motility, which may be more common. None of these are likely to result from wearing face masks, unless you happen to be wearing your face mask horribly wrong. And there hasn’t been evidence of Covid-19 vaccines affecting penises to similar degrees. So why not follow recommended Covid-19 precautions like wearing face masks and getting vaccinated? After all, you don’t want to worry about miscounts and rigged erections.