Viagra®, also known by its generic name of sildenafil, was the first in a new generation of drugs to treat erectile dysfunction. Viagra®, after being extensively studied, has been found to be a safe and effective treatment of erectile dysfunction in many patients with erectile dysfunction (impotence). How does Viagra® work? In order to understand how Viagra® works, you must learn about the normal mechanisms that occur to cause an erection.
Your body’s nerves, muscles, hormones and biochemicals, from your brain to your penis, all must work together to cause an erection of satisfactory quality and duration at the right time for sexual intercourse to occur. First, a stimulus such as an erotic image is registered by the brain and the brain sends off the beginning of a cascade of hormones that will cause even more hormones to be released until the signal to become aroused is received by the penis.
In the penis, nerves communicate with blood vessels through biochemicals that act as messengers. These messenger chemicals cause the spongy tissue of the penis, the corpora cavernosa, to trap blood inside of it thus causing the penis to thicken, become rigid and elongate. The actions of these messenger biochemicals is prolonged by the drug Viagra® (sildenafil) and thus leads to prolongation and improvement of the erection.
Viagra® is a relatively safe drug. If used in combination with heart medications known as nitrates, severe low blood pressure, loss of consciousness and even possibly death could occur. More common side effects, which happen with relatively low frequency and usually do not cause men to stop taking Viagra®, include headaches, hot flashes, heartburn, diarrhea, muscle aches, low blood pressure, dizziness and vision changes. Viagra® is taken 1 hour before sexual activity is desired and sexual stimulation is still required for the medication to work. Only a doctor can determine if Viagra® is the best medication for you.