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The Ultimate Guide to Erectile Dysfunction and Viagra

 

Viagra, the granddaddy of the oral ED medications, can help men with intractable symptoms of impotence to temporarily regain erectile function.

 

The mere mention of erectile dysfunction tends to send a chill down the spines of most men, many of whom fear that their sex lives almost inevitably will fall victim to this disorder at some point in the not-too-distant future. Although some feel that ED is an inevitable consequence of aging, that's hardly the case, as many men enjoy fairly robust erectile function well into their golden years.

 

Before launching into a discussion of what causes erectile dysfunction and what, if anything, can be done to prevent or treat it, it's perhaps best to explain in simple terms just what ED is and what it is not.

 

For those men who've on occasion found it difficult to get and keep an erection after a night of heavy drinking or a stressful day in the office, it's important to realize that this type of erection problem happens at times to most men and is not necessarily a sign of anything more permanent.

 

What is ED's Primary Symptom?

However, a persistent inability to get and maintain an erection that is hard enough and long lasting enough for penetration is a sign that something more serious is at work. In fact, this continuing inability to achieve an erection strong enough for sexual intercourse is the cardinal symptom of erectile dysfunction.

 

By far, the most common cause of ED is physiological, usually involving an insufficient flow of blood to the penis. While compromised blood flow to the penis is the biggest single cause of ED, this complication often arises because of other underlying physical disorders and diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. Other causes can include psychological issues or, in rare cases, traumatic injury to the genitals.

 

The Erectile Process Explained

An erection begins in the brain when that nerve center of the body detects feelings of sexual desire or receives signals triggered by physical stimuli to the male genitals or other erogenous zones. The brain responds to these triggers by sending a flood of nitric oxide coursing through the body toward the pelvic region. As it makes its way through the body, the nitric oxide sets off secondary chemical reactions, one of which produces a substance known as cyclic guanosine monophosphate. This substance, also known as cGMP, relaxes the smooth muscles lining the arteries that supply the penis.

 

As the arteries supplying the penis dilate, blood flow increases, flooding the spongy erectile tissue of the penis with blood, and creating an erection. At the same time, the veins that carry blood away from the penis temporarily constrict, trapping this fresh supply of blood within the penis, thus ensuring that the erection is maintained until sexual activity is complete.

 

Vascular Problems to Blame

Erectile dysfunction occurs most often when vascular problems of one sort or another prevent a sufficiently strong flow of blood to the penis to achieve and maintain an erection. As previously noted, psychological issues can also cause erectile dysfunction. Medical professionals estimate that such issues account for only 10 to 20 percent of all ED cases. Because blood flow is not really at issue in ED of psychological origin, men suffering from this form of impotence should seek professional psychological counseling to help them remove their barriers to healthy erectile function.

 


Exercising regularly can help to prevent the onset of ED and in some cases can reverse the symptoms of impotence if you've already begun to experience them.

 

If you have begun to experience a pattern of erection problems, such as a consistent inability to achieve as strong and firm an erection as you've had in the past, there are a number of steps you can take that could reverse that trend. If you're a smoker, kicking the habit is a step in the right direction, as smoking has been conclusively shown to impede normal blood flow.

 

Exercise Can Prevent ED

Regular exercise is also a good way to maintain not only strong erectile function but good overall health as well. There's no need to starting running marathons. In fact, if you haven't been exercising in the past, undertaking anything too strenuous could end up putting too great a strain on your body. But studies have shown that men who walk briskly for 30 minutes a day have a far lower incidence of ED than those whose lives are sedentary.

 

Eating right is another important lifestyle choice that can help preserve optimal erectile function or help reverse losses in erectile function that you may have begun to experience. Steer clear of fast food, which tends to be low in nutritive value but very high in unhealthy fats and empty calories. Although there are many acceptable forms of healthy eating, one that has consistently been praised for its promotion of overall health is the Mediterranean diet. So called because it is based on the traditional eating habits of people living in the Mediterranean basin, this diet features plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats -- especially olive oil, nuts, fish and other seafood. Although red meat is not prohibited on the Mediterranean diet, it should be eaten infrequently and in small quantities.

 

Keep Alcohol Intake Moderate

Drinking alcohol in and of itself is unlikely to cause erectile dysfunction, providing it is done in moderation. In fact, a glass or two of wine can set the stage for romance quite nicely. However, going beyond moderate drinking is a recipe for disappointment in the bedroom. It can temporarily make it difficult to get and keep an erection, and even if you do, an alcoholic haze dulls some of the sensations that sexual activity provides.

 

If all else fails, pharmaceutical science has provided men everywhere with a way to temporarily regain erectile function. It comes in the form of the little blue pill known as Viagra. Developed and introduced by Pfizer in 1998, Viagra was the first of the so-called PDE5 inhibitors -- others include Levitra, Cialis, and Stendra -- to become available to men with erection problems. The drug has proved the answer to a dream for many men with erectile dysfunction, who can now pop a pill and within 30 to 60 minutes be ready for sex.

 

Pre-Viagra ED Treatment Options

It's true, of course, that other treatments for ED were available before Viagra came along, but for many men these options were unacceptable. Prior to Viagra's introduction, men could use vacuum pumps to draw enough blood into the penis to create an erection. Once the pump had done its work, a constriction band would be placed around the base of the penis to keep the blood in place until sexual activity was complete. Although it worked for some men, many others found this option to be an awkward mood-killer.

 


Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty plaque on the inner walls of arteries, is one of the causes of erectile function.

Another pre-Viagra treatment for ED was known as penile injection therapy, which like the vacuum pump is still in use among men for whom Viagra didn't work. Not for the squeamish, penile injection therapy requires the injection of a synthetic prostaglandin called alprostadil directly into the shaft of the penis. Alprostadil temporarily increases blood flow to the penis and makes it possible for an erection to be achieved.

Penile Implants

Yet another avenue of treatment prior to Viagra was the penile implant, which is available in two basic types -- flexible and inflatable. Regardless of the type, these devices must be surgically implanted within the penis. The semi-rigid flexible implant is the least complex. When not in use, the penis with the implant is pointed downward. However, when it's time for sex, the penis can be manipulated into the appropriate position for sex, after which it can once again be tucked away. Inflatable implants usually consist of the implant itself within the penis, a bulb-like pump device placed in the scrotum, and a reservoir of fluid that is placed under the skin in the lower abdominal region. When the need arises, an erection can be created by activating the pump to draw fluid into the penile implant until a satisfactory erection has been achieved. When sexual activity is complete, the fluid can be pumped back into the reservoir.

 

While these treatment options got the job done -- and continue to do so for some -- the arrival of an oral medication that could quickly facilitate erection was understandably welcomed as a miracle drug. Originally researched as a potential treatment for angina and high blood pressure, sildenafil citrate -- Viagra's active ingredient -- failed to deliver the kind of results Pfizer researchers had hoped for. However, it did have an interesting side effect among male test participants, all of whom found it easier than ever to get an erection. For many of those male participants, this was particularly surprising because they were suffering from varying degrees of erectile dysfunction. Pfizer quickly changed direction in its research of sildenafil, now focusing on its potential as a treatment for ED.

 

Viagra Is a PDE5 Inhibitor

As previously noted, Viagra is a member of a family of drugs known collectively as PDE5 inhibitors. They get their name for their unique ability to temporarily disable an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase-5. The PDE5 enzyme can interfere with erectile function, particularly in men whose vascular health is already compromised.

 

One of the PDE5 enzyme's primary jobs is to break down cGMP, the substance that facilitates erection by relaxing the smooth muscles lining the arteries that supply the penis. In men with no significant vascular problems, the presence of the PDE5 enzyme isn't that problematic, because their bodies can create more cGMP as quickly as the enzyme breaks it down.

 

In men with vascular problems, the PDE5 enzyme can break down cGMP faster than their bodies can create more, thus preventing erection or ending it prematurely. By holding the PDE5 enzyme at bay for four to six hours, Viagra allows men with vascular problems to get and maintain an erection long enough to permit sexual activity.

 

What Does Viagra Cost?

At the time of this writing, the average price of a 50-milligram dose (the recommended starting dose) of Viagra from AccessRX is $30.75. To get that price, you'll have to order five to nine 100-milligram Viagra tablets, which will yield 10 to 18 50-milligram doses when cut in half with the complimentary pill-splitter AccessRX includes with every first order. To learn more about the costs involved with Viagra, click here.[LINK TO SUB PAGE: Average Cost of Viagra is $30.75; Click For More] Meanwhile, a generic version of Viagra is due to become available in December 2017.

 

No Spontaneous Erections

While millions of men regard Viagra as an answer to their prayers, it's important to note that it is not a miracle drug. Viagra does not cause spontaneous erections. You'll still have to get aroused the old-fashioned way to get things started. At that point, Viagra does remove some of the obstacles that in the past have prevented you from getting and keeping an erection long enough for sex.

 

Like most drugs, Viagra does have some side effects, most of them mild. Some tend to disappear altogether upon continued use of the drug. The most common side effects include back and muscle pain, dizziness, flushing, headache, nausea, rash, runny or stuffy nose, and upset stomach. The little blue pill also has a handful of more serious side effects. While rare, these side effects demand immediate medical attention. They include a sudden loss of hearing and/or vision and an erection that lasts more than four hours.

 

If you think that Viagra might help you to overcome your erection difficulties or if you'd simply like to learn a bit more about ED, pay a visit to AccessRX's Erectile Dysfunction Page.