Lower levels of this hormone might increase the risk of respiratory infections Credit: Representational image

According to a recent study carried out by researchers on hospitalised patients due to COVID-19, it was found that the viral infection causes depletion of male testosterone levels. This can also be the reason that the global tally suggests more men deaths than women’s deaths during the COVID-19 infection.

The study which is now published in the journal Aging Male is of the view that this further increases the possibility of intensive care unit (ICU) admission.

During the initial stages, the lower levels of testosterone in COVID-19 patients were associated with a poor health condition. However, newer studies have revealed that the viral infection might be the cause of lowering the level of the male sex hormone.

Selahittin Cayan, the author of the study from the University of Mersin in Turkey had said in an official release that testosterone is associated with the immune system of the respiratory organs. Hence lower levels of this hormone might increase the risk of respiratory infections.

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She added that lower levels of the male sex hormone are also associated with infection-related hospitalisation and all-cause mortality in males who are also ICU patients. Hence, testosterone treatment may also have some benefits beyond improving outcomes for COVID-19 said Cayan.

A total of 438 patients were examined by the team of researchers for this study, which included 232 males and each with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection. After monitoring the detailed clinical history of the patient’s researchers even took the patients’ physical examination.

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Three groups were made for the cohort study—asymptomatic patients (46), symptomatic patients who were hospitalised in the internal medicine unit (IMU) (29), and patients who were hospitalised in the ICU (46).

The results revealed that the mean total testosterone decreased as the severity of the COVID-19 increased. Comparative analysis has shown that the mean total level of the male hormone was significantly lower in the ICU group than in the asymptomatic group.

Cayan said that they found Hypogonadism – a condition where the body does not produce enough testosterone – in 51.1% of the male patients. Additionally, the patients who had died had significantly lower mean total testosterone than the patients who were alive she said. “However, even 65.2 percent of the 46 male patients who were asymptomatic had a loss of libido,” Cayan added.

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