A WOMAN developed a painful vagina ulcer while infected with coronavirus.
The genital wound left the 19-year-old from Colorado, who has not been named, "unable" to wee due to the agony.
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Doctors reported the unusual side effect of Covid in a medical journal, saying that other viruses had caused vaginal ulcers before.
But this is the first time the ulcer – medically termed “vulvar aphthous ulcers” – has been linked to Covid.
The woman went to hospital suffering a rash, fever, sore throat and cough, and tested positive for Covid.
She was told to rest at home, but after two days returned with pain in her vagina causing her “distress” and an "inability" to urinate.
A medical examination found a 2cm deep ulcer in the labia of her vulva, which was yellow with pus.
The patient had shed a lot of skin due to the ulcer – known as “skin sloughing” – leaving her vulva red raw.
The doctors noted she had a partner, suggesting the ulcer was not a sexually transmitted disease – which tests confirmed.
So they concluded the ulcer had been caused by the coronavirus, but were unsure exactly how.
They theorised the ulcer was the result of inflammation, as Covid can trigger an inflammatory response leading to a whole host of problems.
In some people, the immune system goes into overdrive while trying to fight a virus.
It creates too many inflammatory proteins, such as cytokines, which cause damage to healthy tissue.
A “cytokine storm” is the cause of death for many Covid victims, rather than the virus itself.
In the 19-year-old’s case, it caused skin ulceration.
The symptom has also been seen in the mouths of people with coronavirus, the doctors noted, and some Covid patients have suffered Covid toes or other rashes.
The teenager was kept in hospital for two days while being plied with painkillers and dexamethasone – a Covid wonder-drug that works to dampen the immune system..
She was discharged and told to wee in the bath to help with the pain, although it is not clear why.
Two weeks later, she was using the toilet normally again and the pain had gone away, as well as her Covid symptoms.
Dr Jenny Christl and colleagues wrote in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology that the coronavirus is “known to affect multi-organ systems through activation of a systemic inflammatory response”.
They said vagina ulcers had previously been caused by viral syndromes including Epstein−Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
“In conclusion, this case highlights a novel association of Covid-19 infection…
“To our knowledge, this is the first case report to describe vulvar aphthous ulcers associated with a symptomatic Covid-19 infection in an adolescent.”
It comes after doctors warned Covid infection could cause gangrene due to the body's inflammatory response.
The NHS states that gangrene is a serious condition where a loss of blood supply causes body tissue to die.
Experts at Northwestern University in the United States have used radiological images due assess why some coronavirus patients suffer inflammation in the joints while they are unwell.
The researchers found that the scans revealed inflammations, damaged nerves and blood clots, caused by the body's immune system in response to the virus.
Dr Swati Deshmukh, who led the research, said: "We might see swelling and inflammatory changes of the tissues, hematomas or gangrene.
"In some patients, the nerves are injured and in others, the problem is impaired blood flow."
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