Health & Fitness | January 14, 2022 11:37 am

Can COVID-19 Actually Shrink Your Penis?

An advice seeker who wrote into Slate's "How to Do It" podcast claimed his penis shrank after having COVID

A surgical mask covers a banana
COVID dick is real.
PAVEL IARUNICHEV

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many questions, a number of which have to do with penises. Will getting it give you erectile dysfunction? Will it affect your fertility? Will the vaccine make your balls blow up like Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s? While some of these fears are obviously unfounded, it turns out other COVID-related penis problems might actually pose a legitimate threat to your manhood, as one distressed penis-haver learned after reaching out to Slate’s How to Do It podcast for advice on a case of “COVID dick.”

The anonymous advice seeker, who identified himself as a straight man in his 30s, claimed the length of his penis shrank by 1.5 inches after battling COVID last summer. He also claimed to experience erectile dysfunction after COVID, but while his ED symptoms eventually improved with medical attention, his penis still hasn’t returned to its original size. “Before I got sick [my penis] was above average,” he noted. “Not huge, but definitely bigger than normal. Now I’ve lost about an inch and a half and become decidedly less than average.”

While “COVID shrank my dick” may sound like another pandemic wives’ tale cooked up by the likes of Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend, doctors who joined the How to Do It podcast hosts confirmed that this man’s complaints aren’t unfounded.

“COVID dick is a real thing,” said Dr. Ashley Winter, a urologist in Oregon. “The main reason that we think this occurs is something what we call endothelial dysfunction,” she explained. “That’s basically the cells that line your blood vessels … and they’re really important for the function of many different organs.” According to Winter, when these cells are infected with COVID-19, it can result in erectile dysfunction, which can, in turn, lead to shrinkage.

According to Dr. Charles Welliver, a urologist and Director of Men’s Health at Albany Medical College, COVID can cause “pretty significant vascular issues” in men, which may lead to various problems, including erectile dysfunction. “When guys get ED, they get a lack of erections for a while, and when that happens they actually do get some shrinkage,” he said on the podcast.

Fortunately, while both doctors confirmed the real (if relatively slim) risk of COVID-related penis shrinkage, they also suggested those symptoms probably aren’t permanent, and could be relieved by a variety of at-home methods. Winter suggested using Viagra or Cialis to help restore the penis to its pre-COVID glory, as well as purchasing a “penis vacuum device” and doing “penis pushups” or other forms of “penis exercise.” Men suffering from post-COVID shrinkage might also consider stretching the penis with a traction device called RestoreX, which sounds terrifying, but according to Winter can lengthen the penis by one to two centimeters with regular use.

But while COVID dick may be a real thing, Winter and Welliver suggested it’s relatively rare. Still, if your penis suddenly seems smaller than you remember, feel free to blame COVID.