New Covid strains are now circulating, and experts warn the Kent Covid variant, first discovered in Kent at the end of last year, will become the dominant strain globally. Vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic, as well as recognising symptoms and self-isolating if you’ve been infected.
The three main symptoms of coronavirus, recognised by the NHS, includes a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Anosmia, the term used for loss of sense of smell, was added to the official list of symptoms in May last year after a surge in people testing positive for the virus displayed the symptom.
Experts have now linked anosmia to lower sex drive.
US researchers said a sense of smell and sexual motivation are “intimately linked”.
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As part of their findings published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, they said emotional satisfaction dropped in older adults who displayed the symptom.
They analysed 2,084 adults aged 65 and older and looked at how a loss of sense of smell impacted older people’s sexual desires.
To measure participants’ sense of smell they used smelling sticks and linked this to their frequency of sexual thoughts using a questionnaire.
Participants were also asked how satisfied they were with their recent sexual experience.
Study author Jesse K. Siegel at the University of Chicago said: “Decreased olfactory function in older US adults was associated with decreased sexual motivation and less emotional satisfaction with sex, but not decreased frequency of sexual activity or physical pleasure.
“Our research shows a decline in olfactory function may affect sexual pleasure in older adults.
“Therefore, treatable causes of sensory loss should be addressed by clinicians to improve sexual health.”
The olfactory system enables us to detect odours.
Sense of smell, or olfaction as it’s referred to, occurs when an odour binds to a receptor within the nasal cavity.
It then transmits a signal through the olfactory system.
Olfaction has many functions, including detecting hazards and pheromones, and also plays a role in taste.
Pheromones are a chemicals that act like hormones outside the body, and there are several which relate to food, sex and alarm.
The researchers also adjusted age, gender, race, education, cognition, comorbidities and depression in their study.
But they stated it’s not known if loss of smell is the main cause of decreased sex drive.
They added: “Olfaction has a strong, evolutionary-conserved connection to the limbic system, which plays a critical role in processing emotions and sexual motivation.
“Neurons in the olfactory bulb also project directly to the hypothalamus, another key mediator of sexual motivation.”
The study was carried out before the coronas pandemic, so it’s not yet specifically known if people with COVID-19 have a lower sex drive if they have anosmia.