How does Viagra work and what are the common blue pill side effects?

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Sex may permeate our popular culture, but conversations about it are still associated with stigma and shame in Indian homes. As a result, most people facing sexual health issues or trying to find information about sex often resort to unverified online sources or follow unscientific advice from their friends.

To combat widespread sex misinformation, News18.com publishes this weekly sex column every Friday, titled “Let’s Talk Sex”. We hope to start conversations about sex through this column and address sexual health issues with scientific insight and nuance.

The column is authored by sexologist Prof (Dr) Saransh Jain. In today’s column, Dr. Jain explains everything you need to know about the little blue pill called Viagra, its side effects, onset of action and more.

Some of the most commonly prescribed and popular drugs on the market belong to a family of drugs called phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. But you probably know them best as Viagra (sildenafil). This little blue pill is actually meant to be taken only by men with erectile dysfunction (ED). But nowadays we see more and more young men without any risk factors for erectile dysfunction asking for Viagra without knowing its side effects.

It makes them drug addicts. Men who take the drugs for longer and bigger erections may find that they actually develop erectile dysfunction without the drugs.

What is Viagra?

Viagra (sildenafil) is a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. Viagra cannot cure erectile dysfunction or increase sexual desire. Instead, it relaxes the muscles and increases blood flow to cause an erection. Manufactured by Pfizer, Viagra is a brand name for the generic drug sildenafil citrate to treat sexual impotence. Sildenafil can also help treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

This medication is most effective when taken on an empty stomach 30-60 minutes before intercourse. It is effective for four to five hours or longer if you suffer from mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.

How does viagra work?

Viagra works by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for circulating blood out of your penis when you are sexually aroused. Specifically, Viagra inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5).

Before going into details, it is important to explain how erectile dysfunction occurs and the role that PDE5 plays in the process. Erectile dysfunction, or ED, occurs when the PDE5 enzyme prevents enough blood from flowing through your corpora cavernosa (erectile tissues help facilitate erection of the penis) when you are aroused.

For men without erectile dysfunction, PDE5 plays a normal role in penile flaccidity after sex. However, in men with erectile dysfunction, the actions of PDE5 can make it difficult or impossible to erect and maintain an erection during sex.

By inhibiting PDE5, Viagra makes it easier for blood to flow through your penis, allowing you to get hard and stay hard during sex. It also reduces the risk of blood flowing back from your penis during sex, which means you are less likely than normal to lose your erection.

This makes Viagra a very effective treatment for erectile dysfunction in most men.

Viagra will not be as effective for people with certain conditions. You may not get all the benefits of Viagra if you are sick, tired, or drunk. Alcohol can make Viagra side effects worse and potentially worsen erectile dysfunction.

How long does Viagra last?

The shelf life of Viagra depends on many factors. Dosage, age, and general health are just some of the factors that can impact how well Viagra works and lasts for someone. The average Viagra dose is 25 to 100 mg, taken 30 to 60 minutes, or up to four hours before sexual activity.

For adults over 65, the recommended dose is 25 mg. Many older people have a slower metabolism, which means a lower dose may last longer for them compared to a younger person taking a small dose.

Take Viagra before sexual activity because it takes time for Viagra to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Viagra is unlikely to help you last longer during sex. However, some men, depending on their metabolism, can have multiple erections while Viagra is in their system. Once it starts working, Viagra usually lasts up to four or five hours. If you have an erection that lasts longer (priapism) or is painful, it may be time to see a doctor.

What are the side effects of Viagra?

As with any medication, there is always a risk of side effects. Here is a list of some of the most common Viagra side effects you may experience:

• Stun

• Headache

• Back ache

• A runny or stuffy nose

• Indigestion

Serious side effects that require a person to call their healthcare provider right away include blurred vision, loss of vision, fainting, dizziness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears , rashes, pain when urinating, painful erection or erection that lasts more than four hours. In extreme cases, Viagra has caused heart attacks in people with previous heart problems.

Check if it suits you

Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to use Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs. Make sure you know the side effects. Tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking. And, by the way, an erection that lasts four hours is not a good thing. It is painful and dangerous.

Viagra and other phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors are great drugs for good men. They can induce an erection in over 80% of men with erectile dysfunction. Many millions of men have used these drugs safely and appropriately. But if you don’t have erectile dysfunction, you don’t need it. If you’re concerned about erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor.

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