PathPathPathcloseGroup 8single-neutral-circleshopping-basket-1searchsend-email-2common-file-horizontal-imagetwitterlock-2cogNottingham ForestIcon / Health
PathPathPathcloseGroup 8single-neutral-circleshopping-basket-1searchsend-email-2common-file-horizontal-imagetwitterlock-2cogNottingham ForestIcon / Health

Viagra: Sorting the myths from the facts

30th April 2019

If someone says ‘little blue pill’, you know instantly what they’re talking about. Following on from its launch in 1998, Viagra has become a worldwide phenomenon like no other drug has. Say the word ‘Omeprazole’ to someone who doesn’t take it and they’d probably have to look up what it’s for, and yet somehow, everyone (ED sufferers and non-sufferers alike) knows what Viagra is and does.

But do we really know this drug as well as we all think we do? Via the magic of word-of-mouth, it’s easy to get facts mixed up and believe ideas that end up being nothing more than a myth. Well, it’s time to sort the fact from the fiction to help you to really know your stuff where this famous blue pill is concerned.

Myth 1: Viagra will give you a prolonged or instantaneous erection

Possibly the most common misconception of them all that taking Viagra will produce an immediate erection. There are plenty of ideas that men couldn’t possibly leave the house after taking Viagra, because of the erection he’ll be sporting for the next 4-5 hours; plenty of ideas that are completely false.

The 4-5 hour window that Viagra works for simply means that this is how long the drug stays effective in your system for. The effects of Viagra are not to produce an erection out of nowhere, but simply to assist a man in getting and maintaining one in a sexual context. This means that the drug works only when sexual stimulation is involved, and not on its own.

If Viagra does give you a prolonged (or painful) erection then do not write this off as the drug’s effect. This is actually a condition called priapism that you will need to go to a doctor or emergency department for. Luckily, this is quite rare and usually only happens as part of an allergic reaction or interactions with any other drugs you may be taking. This is why it’s so important to give your doctor details of your full medical history so they will know if Viagra is suitable to prescribe.

Myth 2: Viagra is the only option for Erectile Dysfunction

Although it may be the most famous, Viagra is far from your only option when it comes to treating Erectile Dysfunction. Cialis, Levitra and Spedra are all popular options; Cialis for its prolonged effectiveness window, Levitra for its wide-spread suitability and Spedra for how quickly it comes into effect. You can also get cost-effective generic versions of Viagra and Cialis, which contain the same active ingredients but are much cheaper.

Myth 3: Viagra is an aphrodisiac

Oysters, chillies, chocolate; they all have something in common and it’s that they’re all aphrodisiacs. An aphrodisiac is a substance (often food or drink but also sometimes something else) that stimulates sexual desire. And while there may be long lists online of aphrodisiacs you could try in order to get you in the mood, you won’t find Viagra on it.

Surrounded by connotations of sex, it’s not surprising that this myth has appeared. But actually, Viagra is all about sexual function, not sexual desire (a very important difference). If you are someone who wants to have sex but is physically struggling then Viagra will bridge that gap and help you achieve an erection. However, if you are someone who does not want sex (whether that’s just currently or always), then Viagra will do nothing for you.

Again, Viagra requires sexual stimulation to work and it does not have any sexually-driven qualities of its own; it works by increasing blood flow, not by inciting sexual desire.

Myth 4: Women can use Viagra

The idea is that Viagra helps people who struggle to have sex, have more of it. So surely women who are struggling with decreased libido or vaginal dryness can take it, right? Wrong. The science behind Viagra doesn’t really have anything to do with sex, as it works by increasing blood flow to the penis and relaxing the vessels in the muscle wall, to help a man get an erection.

But en and women are so different when it comes to sexual desire and function that it simply doesn’t have the same effect on women. If women are struggling with libido or lubrication then it’s likely linked to hormones and instead of reaching for Viagra, you should visit a doctor who can probably prescribe something more appropriate.

Myth 5: Viagra is only effective at treating ED

This myth is somewhat true. The only licensed and proven effect that Viagra has is to treat impotence symptoms in men. However, it was originally developed as a treatment for angina, before scientists noticed the unexpected effects and had it licensed as a treatment for ED. And since then, researchers haven’t resigned themselves to the idea that erectile dysfunction is all that Viagra could ever be used for.

Some studies have shown positive results when trialling the drug for pulmonary hypertension, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, and even menstrual cramps. While Viagra currently only has the one licensed use, it will be interesting to see if any more are ever introduced.