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Viagra Side Effects: What Can The Drug Do To The Body?

Viagra Side Effects: What Can The Drug Do To The Body?

For many, the “little blue pill,” or Viagra (Sildenafil) as it is most commonly known, is the most effective way to treat erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil is also used to treat pulmonary hypertension (sold under the brand name, Revatio), a condition in which pressure from the blood vessels from the heart to the lungs is too high.

Viagra works by increasing blood flow to the penis, allowing for erection. This vasodilation occurs in both arteries and veins. Despite the appealing effect of this medication for men afflicted with erectile dysfunction, there are some things that should be noted. Before delving into Viagra side effects, let us discuss more about the condition it was designed to treat.

What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

This condition is one wherein a man is unable to achieve or cannot maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. On the whole, ED occurs in over 50% of men between 45 and 75 years old. In Asian nations (particularly the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore), 63% of men between 50 to 80 years old experience this dysfunction. However, other bodies of research show that 40% of men over 40 had ED. Due to the advanced age of the population that it affects, Viagra side effects must be regarded seriously.

Previously termed as “impotence,” ED can bring about self-confidence problems, stress, and relationship strain. Men affected by erectile dysfunction should most certainly consult their doctor, and not feel ashamed or embarrassed. In some cases, Viagra can be indicative of heart issues.

A variety of factors, which includes issues with hormones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and the brain can also cause this condition. It might also have to do with physical causes such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Blocked blood vessels
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Tobacco use
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Low testosterone
  • Sleep disorders
  • Surgeries in the pelvic or spinal region

What should I know about taking Viagra?

While using Viagra remedies ED, using it alone does not produce an enhanced erection; you have to be aroused in order for it to work, and it takes 30 minutes up to an hour to take effect.

It is important to remember that Viagra cannot be taken together with other medicines, specifically nitrates. This medication is prescribed for the prevention and treatment of heart pain caused by heart disease. Failing to observe this can lower blood pressure and may even be fatal. Viagra is also not recommended for you if you have an allergy to sildenafil, are taking nitrates, have heart or liver issues, low blood pressure, or have a rare hereditary eye disease.

Viagra side effects to take note of?

Common Viagra side effects are headaches, hot flushes, dizziness, and dyspepsia. Sometimes, however, the side effects can be more serious:

  • Sudden and severe vision loss
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Erection lasting more than 4 hours
  • Itching, burning while peeing
  • Rashes

There have been reports of heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, brain or lung bleeding, high blood pressure, or sudden death. Keep in mind, however, that these occur in people with heart disease. It is best to consult with your doctor regarding the risks and Viagra side effects.

Key Takeaways

Erectile dysfunction affects men as young as 40 and older. Though this condition appears as one ages, Viagra is a medication that can help with ED. It works by relaxing smooth muscles and increasing blood flow to the penis, thereby producing an erection. But this should be taken with great care and with consultation with a health professional.

Some Viagra side effects are to be expected, including headaches and dizziness; while some more adverse reactions include loss of vision, ringing in the ears, chest pain, and a painful and prolonged erection.

Learn more about Sexual Wellness here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Sildenafil (including Viagra), https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/sildenafil-viagra/. Accessed 3 Mar 2022

Hypertension and erectile dysfunction: The role of endovascular therapy in Asia, https://doi.org/10.1111/jch.14123. Accessed 3 Mar 2022

Erectile dysfunction, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355782. Accessed 3 Mar 2022

Nitrates (Medication), https://www.medicinenet.com/nitrates-oral/article.htm. Accessed 3 Mar 2022

Sildenafil, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699015.html#side-effects. Accessed 3 Mar 2022

Sildenafil (Viagra) and the heart, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437061/. Accessed 3 Mar 2022

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Written by China Logarta Updated Apr 06
Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD