Behind the Little Blue Pill: Debunking Myths About Viagra

The numbers surrounding erectile dysfunction (ED) are surprisingly large and not only confined to older demographics, though age plays a highly influential role. To start, the prevalence of ED among men in the United States is 52%. Breaking the numbers down, about 40% of men at the age of 40 are affected by ED and this number jumps to 70% of men at the age of 70. While there’s much that goes into an erection, circulation is key, which is where Viagra® addresses the problem by increasing circulation to your penis.

At Arizona Urology, our team of men’s health experts routinely helps our patients overcome problems with ED. And one of our first lines of defense is Viagra. Despite its enormous success over the last 30+ years, there are still some common myths about the medication, and we would like to dispel some of them here.

Viagra and your heart health

Viagra was first conceived to help patients with heart problems, specifically angina, or chest pain. While the drug was successful in treating the angina, one side effect became increasingly clear — harder erections. So the makers of the little blue pill began marketing the drug for this condition alone with great success.

However, this left some patients wondering what the effect of taking Viagra is on their hearts. Since Viagra isn’t a medication you take with regularity, the answer is very little, with one caveat.

The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil citrate, which opens up your blood vessels, so you should proceed with caution if you’re already taking another medication that contains nitrates for your heart. The threat is that the double dose may lower your blood pressure too much. Rest assured, we fully review your health and your medications before recommending Viagra.

An erection that won’t quit

Viagra and four-hour, unprompted erections are the stuff of urban legend, and largely myth. First, Viagra kicks into effect when you’re sexually aroused, which means that simply taking the pill won’t give you an unprompted erection.

In fact, Viagra allows you to function normally, which means your erection will subside as it typically would after ejaculation.

But as with all urban legends, there are kernels of truth. A long and painful erection can result from using Viagra and penile injection therapy at the same time, so we caution you to use only one of these ED treatments at a time.

Viagra won’t work for me

Over the years, the makers of Viagra have had plenty of time to conduct studies to back up their claims. In one study of 23,000 men, the company found that Viagra helped four out of five who took 50-100-milligram doses achieve and maintain erections hard enough for intercourse.

The fact is that Viagra works, but only if your ED stems from an issue with blood flow. If your ED is caused by conditions outside of circulation, we can pursue other treatment avenues.

Seeing blue

The final myth about Viagra is that it can permanently change your vision. This myth is founded on some truth — if you take a high dose of Viagra, you may temporarily see things with a blue tint as Viagra changes how light hits your eyes. But this side effect isn’t terribly common and it’s short-lived.

If you have any further concerns or questions about Viagra, please contact one of our four locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, or Phoenix, Arizona, to set up an appointment.

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