cameron-praying-for-viagraIf you have watched television for any substantial length of time during the past ten years, you are probably familiar with the medicine Viagra and the condition known as “erectile dysfunction,” which is the consistent inability to produce or maintain an erection long enough or hard enough to successfully have intercourse. Today, Viagra is the most commonly prescribed medication for erectile dysfunction and even has a nickname: the little blue pill.

What is Viagra?

Viagra is actually just a trade name for the substance sildenafil citrate, which is also used as the base for other drugs, such as Revatio and Kamagra. Sildenafil citrate is in a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, or PDE5 inhibitors. It was originally discovered by British scientists who were searching for a new way to treat angina. Besides erectile dysfunction, sildenafil citrate is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension and it has been indicated as a possible treatment for sexual dysfunction in women, however, more data and research is needed before sildenafil citrate can become a recognized remedy for that condition.

What Does Viagra Do to the Body?

Viagra treats erectile dysfunction by inhibiting cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5, which is an enzyme that causes and boosts the degradation of cGMP. cGMP is extremely important for men’s sexual health, as it regulates blood flow in the penis by controlling the relaxation of the muscles that keep blood from permanently rushing to the genitals. Therefore, when a man taking Viagra becomes sexually aroused (unfortunately, for Viagra to be effective, a man must become sexually stimulated on his own; it doesn’t cause erections to just pop up out of nowhere), cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 is suppressed, allowing cGMP to work as it is supposed to by relaxing the smooth muscle in the penis and allowing for the increased blood flow that causes an erection.

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The Benefits of Viagra

Viagra can better your life in a multitude of ways:

  • Improved sex life
  • Improved relationship
  • Regain of intimacy
  • Self-esteem boost (as the inability to perform sexually can cause self-confidence issues)
  • Lessens stress, depression, anxiety (due to both the natural stress-relieving qualities of regular sexual intercourse as well as the alleviation of fears about not being able to become or stay aroused or please a partner.
  • Longer-lasting erections means you can prolong your bedroom activities for hours
  • It is safe to take for most people
  • Works well in a variety of people in different situations, including those that have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, those who have had prostate surgery, high blood pressure patients, and those whose erectile dysfunction problems stem from a psychological source.
  • Can be used safely in patients experiencing heart failure; many medications can worsen erectile dysfunction to the point that some people will refuse to take their medication if this is a possibility. In the cases of people with heart failure, this decision can be fatal, yet it is understandable that an adult man would not want to give up his sex life. Therefore, the fact that Viagra can be taken safely in conjunction with some other medications means more people staying on their pills and remaining healthy and alive.

Side Effects

  • Hypotension (dangerously low blood pressure)
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Priaprism (an erection lasting longer than 6 hours; if this occurs, one must immediately seek medical attention as it could cause lasting damage to the penis.
  • Ventricular arrhythmias
  • Vision loss
  • Headaches
  • Dyspepsia
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Flushing
  • Palpitations

Conclusion

If you feel like Viagra may be the right choice for you, talk to your doctor about the risk factors and rewards associated with taking it. Also be sure to check and see if you are able to safely take Viagra—some men are not able to due to pre-existing conditions and some types of medication.