MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — More men get sick and die from COVID-19 than women do and researchers at the University of Miami may have found part of the reason why.

According to a newly released study, COVID-19 invades some men’s testicles.

Researchers at the university tested the testicles of men who died from COVID-19 and found the virus inside the reproductive organs.

But what surprised them even more, is when they tested a living man who recovered from COVID-19, the virus was still inside his testicles.

“This we were very surprised with because even after the infection was cleared he had some fevers and cold that got better. Six weeks or eight weeks later, after the infection he tested negative, but the virus was still present in the testes. This was surprising because we found the virus could probably linger in the testes a lot longer than men developed symptoms,” said Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, University of Miami.

Researchers say this may explain why 10-20% of men with COVID-19 have testicular pain.

Future studies will determine whether COVID-19 impacts male fertility.

“Patients who want to have kids in the future who haven’t completed their families, I think there is a rationale for sperm production to be affected. We are urging men who either develop testicular pain or want to have families in the future to check their sperm count to make sure they have healthy and viable sperm,” said Dr. Ramasamy.

Studies are also ongoing to determine whether COVID-19 is sexually transmitted.

“I don’t think we know the answer to that question definitely yet. The fact that it is present in the testes gives us a clue that it can enter the semen fluids and be sexually transmitted. I think we need to do more studies and we are doing them here at the University of Miami,” said Dr. Ramasamy.

Doctors at the University of Miami recommend anyone who has COVID-19 and testicular pain should make an appointment with a urologist to have their sperm count tested.