What Should I Know About Sexual Enhancement Drugs?
First of all, it’s important to understand some of the basics about sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction can affect both men and women. It is also common. Many men and women will experience some degree of sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives, and it becomes increasingly common as we age.
What Is Sexual Dysfunction in Men?
In men, sexual dysfunction refers to issues such as decreased desire, difficulty obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, and a variety of problems with ejaculation, ranging from premature ejaculation to the inability to ejaculate. Of these, difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection (]]>erectile dysfunction]]>) tends to be of the greatest concern. A variety of conditions can cause ED. Some causes include spinal cord injuries;]]>high blood pressure]]>; and the medications used to treat high blood pressure, ]]>diabetes]]>, heart disease, and ]]>depression]]>.
What’s Available to Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Men?
There are different medications available to treat erectile dysfunction. Some examples are ]]>sildenafil (Viagra)]]>, ]]>vardenafil (Levitra)]]>, and ]]>tadalafil (Cialis)]]>. They all work in a similar fashion. They improve the functioning of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical responsible for relaxing smooth muscle tissue. When the blood vessels in the smooth muscle of the penis is more relaxed, blood flow is increased, allowing a man to achieve and maintain an erection.
Who Shouldn’t Use Medications for Erectile Dysfunction?
Men who have had a ]]>heart attack]]>, ]]>stroke]]>, or ]]>abnormal heart rhythm]]> within the past six months should not use these medications. Furthermore, men who already use nitrate medications (for example, to treat ]]>angina]]>) or alpha-blockers should never use any of these medications. Men with severe liver or kidney disease; certain eye disorders; uncontrolled, high, or significantly low blood pressure; or who have been advised to avoid sexual activity due to unstable heart disease should also not take these medications.
What’s Sexual Dysfunction in Women?
In women, sexual dysfunction can take the form of decreased sexual desire or libido, difficulty becoming sexually aroused, decreased sexual enjoyment, inability to have an orgasm, abnormal vaginal muscular contractions (]]>vaginismus]]>), or actual pain with intercourse.
What’s Available to Treat Sexual Dysfunction in Women?
There are no medications currently approved specifically for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction. Research is ongoing in this area. There has been research to find out if Viagra is effective for women, however the results are mixed. Studies have shown that sex therapy appears to be effective in addressing symptoms of sexual dysfunction.
American Academy of Family Physicians
4 Mens' Health
Canadian Family Physician
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of male sexual dysfunction: A Couple’s Problem—2003 Update. Available at: http://www.aace.com/clin/guidelines/sexdysguid.pdf. Accessed January 11, 2004.
Berman JR. et al. Female Sexual Dysfunction. Noble Textbook of Primary Care Medicine. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc.; 2001.
Cialis consumer information. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/cialis/default.htm. Accessed January 11, 2004.
DynaMed Editor. Female sexual arousal disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated June 8, 2010. Accessed June 11, 2010.
LaSalle MD, et al. Male Sexual Dysfunction. Noble Textbook of Primary Care Medicine. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc.; 2001.
Levitra consumer information. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/druginfo/levitra.htm . Accessed January 11, 2004.
Phillips NA. Female sexual dysfunction: evaluation and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2000 1 Jul;127-140.
Viagra consumer information. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/druginfo/Viagra.htm. Accessed January 11, 2004.
Last reviewed June 2010 by ]]>Brian Randall, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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