Catching COVID-19 comes with a number of unfortunate symptoms and lasting side effects.
Fever, aching joints, loss of smell and taste and... shrinking penis?
Outrageous as the idea might sound, an unnamed man claimed that's exactly what happened to him in a letter sent to the "How To Do It" podcast earlier this week.
And even more surprising, doctors are backing up his claim.
The man, who said he was heterosexual and in his mid-30s, revealed he caught a severe case of COVID-19 in July of 2021 requiring hospitalization.
But he left the hospital with one unfortunate lingering side-effect, an unusual case of erectile dysfunction.
"[The erectile dysfunction] gradually got better with some medical attention, but I seemed to be left with a lasting problem."
“Before I got sick [my penis] was above average."
"Not huge, but definitely bigger than normal."
"Now I’ve lost about an inch and a half and become decidedly less than average."
He revealed in his letter a medical advisor said his shrinkage could have been due to vascular damage as a result of catching COVID-19 and this unexpected change in endowment might be permanent, leading to his plea for help.
"It shouldn’t really matter, but it has had a profound impact on my self-confidence and my abilities in bed."
"I know you can’t give me back my missing length and girth, but I was wondering if you could give me any advice on what to do now."
A scenario which seemed easy enough to laugh off, urologist Dr. Dr. Charles Welliver of Albany Medical College in New York confirmed catching COVID-19 could indeed lead to potential penis impairment, citing several cases of men suffering from erectile dysfunction after catching COVID, which could also lead to permanent shrinkage.
"COVID [causes] a mass of respiratory symptoms that leads to a lot of the deaths."
“But there’s also pretty significant vascular issues that occur with guys."
“When guys get ED, they get a lack of erections for a while, and when that happens they actually do get some shrinkage."
Oregon based urologist Dr. Ashley Winter backed up Dr. Welliver's claim "COVID d*ck"—as she referred to it—is indeed a real threat.
"The main reason that we think this occurs is something what we call endothelial dysfunction.”
“That’s basically the cells that line your blood vessels … and they’re really important for the function of many different organ."
But the pair of doctors also offered some light at the end of the tunnel for the concerned, unidentified man. There is a fighting chance his problem is neither permanent nor irreversible.
The 1.5 inches he claimed to have lost post COVID-19 could be restored after taking Viagra or Cialis—which increase blood flow—or through the use of equipment such as a penis vacuum or RestoreX.
The mystery, penile-impaired man's story quickly caught traction on Twitter with many simply unable to hold back their amusement.
Others expressed hope this story might at long last encourage those who refuse or have yet to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to finally go through with it.
Indeed, if the rapidly spreading Omicron variant—which caused a worldwide surge in cases of COVID-19 resulting in a multitude of disrupted holiday plans—couldn't scare people into being more careful as the pandemic enters it's third year, perhaps the possibility of a shrinking penis will.