What Happens When You Take Viagra?

Viagra® was Pfizer’s answer to the much needed oral treatment for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) after years of relying on uncomfortable injections of synthetic hormones such as Alprostadil as a form of treatment for ED. Initially discovered by researchers in the town of Sandwich, Kent, it was intended to be a drug for use in treating cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and angina. Unfortunately, it produced less than promising results during the clinical trials. Interestingly, they discovered that one of the side effects raised by clinical trial patients included a sustained erection especially when some of the clinical trial patients were not able to achieve an erection previously. This spurred them on to develop and market the drug as a treatment for ED instead. Little did they realise that their latest discovery would turn into the next big thing in the pharmaceutical industry.

Is Erectile Dysfunction a serious problem?

Serious-Problem-WebEffects of ED extend to more than just an inability to sustain an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse. A man’s self-esteem can be significantly affected especially if they are unable to satisfy their partner. Moreover, this can affect relationships and potentially lead to misunderstandings between partners. Eventually this could lead to depression which will have a knock-on effect on the ED itself in an endless vicious cycle until the ED is dealt with. ED could also raise concerns about a man’s physical health as it could be a sign of possible cardiovascular conditions.

So what effects does Viagra® have on your body?

In order to put everything into perspective, it is important to understand what happens to men during sexual response cycle. There are four main stages in this cycle, namely excitement or arousal, plateau, orgasm and ejaculation, and resolution. Before sex can even take place, both partners will need to be sexually aroused. Actions such as kissing, hugging, massaging, touching and stroking are meant to sexually arouse both partners and get them in the mood. Even masturbation and non-penetrative sex such as oral sex can be useful in building up anticipation for sex. Simple things such as candles, chocolates, music and wine can make a huge difference in setting the scene for sex. Some people will even go as far as reliving sexual fantasies or role-playing to turn their partner on. Different couples have different ideas on how to build up the anticipation for sex. Therefore, it is important that couples communicate openly with each other to find out what works for them.
Sildenafil-100-4During excitement stage, signals are sent from the brain to the nerves in the penis which lead to the release of nitric oxide, a chemical which will later activate adenylyl guanosine which will bring about a cascade reaction eventually leading to increased levels of cGMP which has potential to cause widening of blood vessels. The corpus cavernosa, or spongy tissue of the penis becomes engorged and filled with blood causing it to become erect and rigid. ED patients are unable to achieve and maintain this erect penis long enough for sex. Viagra® or sildenafil, basically works by allowing more blood to flow through the corpus cavernosa of the penis, allowing the penis to grow as the loose skin of the penis pulls back. The scrotum which houses the testicles become tighter, causing the testicles to be moved closer towards the body. Any form of distress, anxiety or negative thoughts can disrupt this process. This is precisely the reason why depression and other psychological conditions can cause ED. Excitement stage can last for a few minutes up to a few hours. After the excitement stage, sexual intercourse enters its plateau stage where the penis will continue to enlarge as blood fills the spongy tissue. Hormones and signals from the brain are sent to different parts of the body causing an increase in heart rate and even some involuntary body movements. A warm feeling may develop around the perineum area (area between the anus and testicles) as this happens as blood flows through the vessels within that area. As a man is reaching orgasm, his breathing becomes more rapid as thighs and buttocks tighten.

Upon reaching orgasm, a series of powerful contractions force the semen into the urethra (the tube which urine and semen passes through before exiting the body). These contractions are mostly the result of pelvic muscle and prostate gland contractions. Men can actually feel these contractions at the area near the anus and the pelvic area. While this is happening, the brain responds by producing intense feelings of pleasure which is essentially the climax of sex. Eventually, the semen is forced out of the penis.

Peak-WebOnce the climax or peak is reached, the person enters the recovery stage. It is during this time that phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) enzymes are released which breaks down the cGMP, which is responsible for widening of blood vessels in the penis. The penis reduces in size until it assumes its normal size. Sildenafil citrate actually inhibits PDE5, maintaining the concentration of cGMP long enough to result in an erection in ED patients. Contrary to popular belief, a person who takes Viagra® will not be able to maintain an erection after orgasm as there will be period of time during which another ejaculation would be impossible. This is true even for people without ED. Sex can be gratifying but also very tiring. Both partners need some time to recover as it actually burns lots of calories! However, if sexual stimulation is still present, then it might be possible for ED patients taking Viagra® to achieve another erection but this differs from one person to another.

Considering that we have tried to explain where Viagra® fits in during sexual intercourse, hopefully this will dispel any myths about any supposed aphrodisiac properties of Viagra®. Viagra® aids in achieving an erection but most certainly does not automatically trigger ejaculations. That would require sexual arousal which is an essential part of sexual intercourse.

What happens if I experience other unwanted effects?

Different people react differently to the same drug. The same can be said for Viagra®. Some users may be more prone to side effects compared to other users. Most of these common side effects usually does not have a serious impact on the user’s health. Commonly described side effects include headache, flushing and dizziness. Such side effects may be attributed to the ability of drug to cause widening of blood vessels. It is very important to inform your GP or pharmacist of any adverse effects you experience no matter how insignificant they may seem as Viagra® is known to interact with many common long term medications that users take.

What does Viagra® actually look like?

Viagra: the NHS could make major savings by using generic versions of the drug.As expected, Viagra® is available in tablet form of different strengths, namely 25mg, 50mg and 100mg. It appears as a blue diamond shaped tablet with the words ‘PFIZER’ on one side and ‘VGR 25/VGR 50/VGR 100’ on the other side. Most men diagnosed with ED usually take a starting dose of 50mg once daily usually about 45 minutes to an hour before sex. Remember that Viagra® should not be taken unless a person intends to have sex. Ultimately, it is the GP who will decide on a suitable dose for that particular person.

One of the more common concerns patients have is distinguishing between generic and branded Viagra®. Generic version contains the same amount of active ingredient compared to the branded version but it is significantly cheaper than the branded one. This is mainly because the original manufacturer of the drug, in this case Pfizer Inc, has invested an enormous sum of money to research, develop and patent the drug. Therefore, they need to be able to recover the cost that they have spent during that time frame. Generic sildenafil does exist but it is important to determine where the generic version is sourced from. Assured Pharmacy stocks both the generic and branded version of sildenafil. You can be assured that we source our generic sildenafil from Actavis, a widely-recognised UK based generics manufacturer. Therefore, you can be certain that the medicine you will be getting is safe for use as it is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). For more information on treating ED, please feel free to contact us via email or by phone.

 

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References

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/stages-male-sexual-response
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodsex/Pages/Sextips.aspx
https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/1474

 

Assured Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected].

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