We’ve all found some pretty creative reasons not to attend social events. But the reason Nicki’s Minaj didn’t attend the Met Gala broke the internet.
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Minaj decided to pass the starred event on because of her vaccine needs. She doubled down on her position by sharing the story of a friend of a cousin who had an “interesting” vaccination experience. According to Minaj, getting the COVID-19 vaccine caused the man’s testicles to swell and he remained helpless. He also lost his fiancée because of his ordeal.
This viral urban legend has sparked many entertaining responses on social media. It has also become another thing for healthcare organizations like the CDC to demystify.
So, can COVID vaccines cause testicular problems or erectile dysfunction? Urologist Neel Parekh, MD, helps us sort through this unique story and explains how vaccination can help protect the male reproductive system.
Can the COVID vaccine cause your testicles to swell or shrink?
“There is more evidence to support that getting COVID is more harmful than any risks associated with vaccination,” says Dr Parekh. “So far none of these studies have shown that vaccines can negatively impact the male reproductive system.” Dr Parekh says this also includes any physical reactions such as swelling or shrinking of the testicles.
He adds that due to the way mRNA vaccines are made, they do not generate the same type of immune responses as other vaccines.
“People can have bad reactions to live vaccines. But vaccines like those from Pfizer and Moderna are not live virus vaccines. They do not generate the same type of response and do not integrate into your DNA. Instead, they are quickly broken down in your body as soon as they are administered. So, I don’t see any real mechanism as to how these vaccines can cause testicular swelling. ”
Can the COVID vaccine cause male impotence or infertility?
Dr Parekh points out that a recent study from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami showed that sperm production was not inhibited by COVID mRNA vaccines.
“They looked at the COVID vaccines and looked at semen parameters before and after receiving one. There was no negative impact on the parameters or function of the sperm. Instead, semen parameters improved, but not significantly. That doesn’t mean that an mRNA vaccine will improve your fertility, but we know it doesn’t hurt your fertility.
Can the COVID vaccine cause erectile dysfunction?
COVID vaccines have not been linked to erectile dysfunction (ED). However, there appears to be a link between COVID-19 and ED.
A study outside Italy have found that erectile dysfunction can be a short- or long-term complication of COVID. This study looked at 25 COVID-positive men and 75 COVID-negative men. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction was much higher in participants with COVID (28%) compared to participants who did not have COVID (9%). The researchers also said that “universal COVID-19 vaccination and personal protective equipment could have the added benefit of preventing sexual dysfunction.”
Dr Parekh says the coronavirus can cause fertility problems and reduce sperm count. And cadaver studies that have looked at people who have died from COVID-19 have found the virus in the penis along with evidence of erectile dysfunction. Still, more studies still need to be done to find out if the disease can be sexually transmitted.
Are there any possible testicular side effects after the COVID vaccine?
Although there were no reports of testicular pain or irritation after vaccination, a joint statement of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU) and the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction (SSMR) report that approximately 16% of men participating in the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial had fever after the second dose. These groups say that fevers can cause temporary drops in sperm production. However, the reduction could be similar or less than what could happen if a person were infected with COVID.
“More studies need to be done to examine the long-term effects of vaccines and COVID. Based on the studies and literature currently available to us, there is no evidence that COVID vaccines have a negative effect on sexual function or fertility. However, we have a lot more information on how COVID affects erections and causes fertility issues. Instead of thinking that a vaccine is going to cause problems, think about the negative effects COVID could have on your health. ”
What could pain or irritation in the testicles be a symptom of?
According to Dr. Parekh, ED, pain or irritation in the testicles could be symptoms of other medical conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider right away.
“Swelling of the testes could be a sign of much more worrying things. It could be a sign of an STD, infection, or an indicator of testicular cancer. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of heart disease, diabetes or other medical conditions. Men should voice their concerns to their providers. But they shouldn’t worry about vaccines causing these symptoms. ”