Hard Science: How Does Viagra Work?

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Viagra Work

Let’s get the uncomfortable part out of the way: erectile dysfunction. Even though it’s a common disorder for millions of men, it can lead to insecurity, unhappiness, and even depression. Not only that, but most men are ashamed and uncomfortable discussing it, which can lead to it going untreated.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There’s a magic blue pill that can solve this hard problem in your life.

Viagra.

It’s one of the most widely known prescription medications ever created. It’s a household name and a part of pop culture.

But how does Viagra work? What’s in that tiny blue pill that makes it so effective? And why is lasting longer than four hours a bad thing, besides perhaps that you’ll get tired?

Keep reading to learn all about how this drug works, how it affects your body, and the side effects you need to know about.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (often shortened to ED) is a disorder in which men have trouble getting and/or maintaining an erection. 1 in 5 men experience ED, and this percentage increases as men get older.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

In order to get and maintain an erection, blood rushes to the chambers of the penis. This causes the penis to become stiff, erect, and hard.

Blood is signaled to rush to the penis by your brain and connecting nerves. When aroused, the brain signals blood to fill the chambers of the penis in order to prepare for sexual intercourse.

Anything that changes, inhibits, or interferes with this process can cause ED. This could include circulatory problems, blocked penile arteries, hormonal imbalances, chronic diseases, brain damage, nerve damage, and more.

Chronic Disease and Erectile Dysfunction:

We mentioned that chronic disease could be a cause of ED. In fact, ED is often a signal that you should have your overall health checked since it is often linked to serious conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Cholesterol issues
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Other chronic illnesses

Each of these illnesses affects blood flow, which is why ED is often a result. The blood flow changes caused by poor health or chronic disease will make it hard for blood to reach the penis properly.

How Does Viagra Work?

Viagra won’t cure erectile dysfunction. As we said in the previous section, ED is often a signal that there are other more serious issues that are resulting in the ED. Viagra won’t cure or fix the underlying cause of ED.

What it does do is give you an erection. Whether you get a brand name prescription or buy generic Viagra online, this medication will solve your problem.

So, how does it work?

Taking the Pill:

First, you need to take the pill. It’s recommended that you take it around one hour before you plan to have sex. However, you can take it up to four hours before sex.

You might be thinking: well, why would I do that? Why would I want to have an erection four hours before I’m going to have sex?

The funny thing about Viagra is that it doesn’t cause a “spontaneous” erection. You have to be sexually aroused or stimulated in order for it to work. So you can take it preemptively and get an erection when appropriate.

The Erection:

Once in the body, Viagra binds to an enzyme called PDE5 that is found in the chambers and arteries of the penis. This prevents that enzyme from breaking down the molecule (cGMP) that keeps the blood flowing easily to the penis.

Essentially, Viagra makes sure that blood can easily flow to the chambers of the penis, which makes it easy for men to get and maintain an erection – even if they have chronic diseases or issues that affect blood flow under normal circumstances.

As we mentioned before, it won’t work unless you’re sexually aroused or stimulated. Without arousal or stimulation, there would be no signal to send blood to the penis in the first place.

Viagra makes it easier for blood to fill the chambers of the penis. It does not signal for the blood to rush there. So if your ED issue is brain, nerve, or libido related, it may not work for you.

Viagra Side Effects:

There are some side effects of viagra you should be aware of.

The most well-known side effect is the classic phrase that  you’ve heard at least once in your life: “If you have an erection lasting longer than four hours, seek medical care.”

Sometimes, rarely, Viagra can cause you do have an erection that lasts after you ejaculate, sometimes for hours.

While this might not seem like a problem, it can actually lead to permanent damage to your penis. Cells and tissue in the penis will start to die, which can lead to permanent (and incurable) erectile dysfunction.

Other common side effects include:

If these persist or worsen, speak to a doctor ASAP.

Treating the Causes of ED:

Like we said earlier, Viagra will give you the erection you’re wanting. However, it won’t treat the underlying cause of your ED if the root is in heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic issues.

Get checked out by your doctor to see if other medications, dietary choices, and/or exercise can help treat your ED along with Viagra use.

Final Thoughts:

Viagra might be a magic pill for those suffering from ED, but it doesn’t work by using magic. How does Viagra work, then? It uses simple science in order to increase blood flow and solve some of men’s hardest (pun intended) problems.

But we do urge you to identify the deeper problem, since ED can be a sign of a serious health issue.

Do you think that your issue might be related to your hormones? Read this article to learn how to boost your testosterone levels.

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