What Exactly Does Viagra Do? Step-by-Step Description

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what exactly does viagra do

The year 1998 revolutionized treatment of erectile dysfunction, as a new jab entered the market. As you might guess, this was sildenafil-containing Viagra pill. Since its debut it enables millions of erectile dysfunction (ED) sufferers to improve their sexual lives.

What exactly does it do? How it works in the male body? Here is a step-by-step description.

Step 1. Inhibition of PDE5 Enzyme

Sildenafil citrate tablets inhibit phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) enzyme, which is responsible for degradation of essential substances needed for satisfactory erection.

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Many studies have shown that sildenafil possesses high selectivity with regard to PDE5 in comparison with other enzymes from PDE class, such as PDE1, PDE6, PDE2, and PDE3. However, the drug is 10-fold less potent for PDE6 (an enzyme found in retina) compared to PDE5, which sometimes may result in vision abnormalities, a known side effect of Viagra.

Why Does Viagra Cause Headaches? Read this article to know.

Step 2. Improved Release of Nitric Oxide (NO)

The physiologic mechanisms of erection involve release of NO in the penile tissues during intimacy. NO is a colorless gas; this molecule is also produced naturally by our bodies.

NO and viagra

Nitric oxide triggers the activity of the enzyme called guanylate cyclase, improving vasodilation.

A limited capacity of the body to synthetize sufficient amounts of nitric oxide is associated with heart diseases, erectile dysfunction, and diabetes. So if you’ve noticed first symptoms of ED, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, as your symptoms may also indicate presence of other (more dangerous) diseases.

Step 3. Maintaining Sufficient Quantity of cGMP

Activity of guanylate cyclase leads to increased levels of cGMP substance. cGMP is unabbreviated as cyclic guanosine monophosphate. It is derived from guanosine triphosphate. cGMP is a regulator of multiple physiologic processes, including glycogenolysis (the breakdown of glycogen to glucose) and relaxation of smooth muscle tissues.

According to a study by Ian Eardley, Peter Ellis et al. (St James University Hospital, 2002) the onset of action was achieved within a median time of 27 min after sildenafil dosing. The manufacturer says that the tablet’s effect appears 30-60 min after taking and lasts up to 6 hours. One can take “the blue diamond” up to 4 hours before an anticipated sex, so there is no need to rush.

Step 4. Better Erection, Eliminating Erectile Dysfunction (Symptomatic Treatment)

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Sufficient quantity of cGMP produces relaxation of smooth tissues in the corpora cavernosa, allowing better inflow of blood. As a result, penile hardness is achieved. The pharmaceutical produce no direct relaxant effect; it works only when NO is released due to sexual stimulation.

Note that this is a simplified mechanism of Viagra action. Along with this, multiple processes of neurological and biochemical occur in the body, they trigger erection and help to maintain it. Viagra is just a potency enhancer not an inducer, it also does not improve libido, because it depends mainly on hormonal and psychological peculiarities of a person, as well as on social factors, including family, work, personality, stress, and so on. Gender also matters, Roy F. Baumeister, Kathleen R. Catanese and others (Case Western Reserve University, 2001) found that males have a higher desire for sex (strength of sex drive) than females.

Viagra works only when a male is sexually stimulated and wanna have sex. If there is no sexual attraction, the effect will not occur, at least at recommended doses, therefore, involuntary erection is impossible (except in rare cases, which are considered adverse events or consequences of overdose, depending on situation).

The Bottom Line

Viagra works generally locally and safely in the male body by improving natural mechanisms. The medication has no “unnatural” effect. It won’t work if you don’t want to have sex. Don’t take dosages that are bigger than recommended ones (25mg–100mg), this might increase incidence of side effects.

Updated: September 16, 2019 by: Vincent