How Viagra Works

Viagra

Viagra understandably seems like a miracle drug to most people – how in the world does it work? How Viagra works is particularly mystifying when you learn about the genius science behind this powerful little blue pill that has done so much for so many.

Before we get into a more scientific explanation we’ll summarize in simple language: Erection problems occur when the artery carrying blood into the penis cannot relax enough to allow the quickened blood flow that naturally happens when a man is aroused. Viagra allows the artery’s muscles to relax, allowing the blood flow in, and a natural erection to occur – and we have a happy man.

A Detailed Explanation

Until 1983, erectile dysfunction was considered a mental issue or, in the case of elderly men, an irreversible side effect of aging. The very first real challenge to this theory was by a Doctor Giles Brindley who effectively demonstrated the effect of a phentolamine injection in the penis—it caused an immediate and powerful erection. The trouble was, it couldn’t be controlled.

The genius of Viagra, which causes a man to get an erection only when he is aroused has to do with research into:

how the brain’s arousal leads to an erection
how blood flow is controlled to different parts of the body
how stress, ED or old age, causes restriction of blood into the penis

When a man is aroused his brain sends Nitric Oxide to the penis which reacts in arteries to create something called CGMP, which relaxes the muscles and allows for the blood to pass through. (When a man is not aroused, the arteries entering the penis are constricted.)

In older men, and men with erectile dysfunction, something else occurs. An enzyme found specifically in the penis called PDE5 attacks the CGMP—which you’ll remember was what allowed the blood flow into the penis. The Nitric oxide was sent by the aroused brain, the CGMP was created, but the PDE5 destroyed it—no erection.

Viagra Works By Destroying PDE5

Viagra is made up of a chemical called sildenafil citrate which was found to quell the effect of the PDE5 enzyme found only in the penis. This allows the natural course of events from brain’s arousal, to blood flow into the penis to take place unaffected.