Coronavirus symptoms update: Doctors may have discovered a new sign on men’s testicles

Coronavirus is crafty – just when researchers think they have a firm grasp on what to look for, the virus spews out new warning signs. According to the the NHS, a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste are the main warning signs. Emerging reports suggests this list is woefully inadequate.

As if to illustrate the point, a case report published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine has drawn the world’s attention to a new symptom.

Doctors from the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium in Texas provided an account of an otherwise healthy man experiencing swollen testicles as a result of COVID-19.

In light of the peculiar finding, doctors are issuing a warning that the symptom could cause infertility in certain individuals.

The 37-year-old patient was taken to A&E with swelling and “discomfort” in his scrotum.

The patient had already been experiencing typical symptoms, including a cough and fever, for a week prior to going to hospital.

Doctors from the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium in Texas said the virus had damaged his spermatocytes, which keep sperm healthy.

They warned the damage caused by Covid-19 could have “a future impact on male fertility”.

Doctors who treated him believe the virus entered the body using ACE2 receptors on Leydig cells, which are present in the testes.

While the doctors state that the symptom is rare, they are hoping it prompts medics to “identify this disease at the earliest junction and trigger appropriate treatment, quarantine, and fertility follow-up”.

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The patient spent a night in hospital before being discharged and prescribed antibiotics and painkillers.

His pain is said to have eased slightly but the case report did not say whether his condition improved in the weeks after.

What should I do if I recognise COVID-19 symptoms?

UK health advice says to get a test as soon as possible if you recognise any of the main symptoms.

You are advised to stay at home until you get the results – a policy prescription otherwise known as self-isolating.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You’re worried about your symptoms
  • You’re not sure what to do

Can I treat my symptoms while I am awaiting results?

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often ease the symptoms at home until you recover.

According to the NHS, if you have a high temperature, it can help to:

  • Get lots of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your urine is light yellow and clear
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable

There have been some news reports of anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, making coronavirus worse.

The Commission on Human Medicines has now confirmed there is no clear evidence that using ibuprofen to treat symptoms such as a high temperature makes coronavirus worse.

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