Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction)

“My brain? It’s my second favorite organ,” says Woody Allen in Sleeper.

For many men, like Woody, a properly functioning phallus is fundamental to their self esteem, says Dr. Alain Gregoire, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer at University of Southampton.

The proper functioning of this organ depends on many factors – internal and external -and now chemical with the advent of Viagra (sildenafil).

Sexual function and satisfaction have many components: desire, erectile function, orgasmic function, ejaculation, and fertility. About 20 percent of men have problems relating to one of these functions.

Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the most common complaint and the most distressing of all complaints related to sexual function and satisfaction. It can destroy a man’s ego and threaten happy relationship.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 52 percent of men aged 40 to 70 years and is estimated to affect as many as 2 to 3 million couples in Canada. Many men suffer in silence and less than 10 percent of men seek medical treatment.

Now, Viagra (sildenafil) has brought the whole problem “out of the closet.”

Normal erectile function is initiated by body’s five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, hearing and by imagination. This results in increased blood flow to the penis followed by erection.

Many medical and psychological conditions can impair erectile function. Some of them are: high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney failure, and diseases of the nervous system. Any chronic illness can have a negative effect. Several medications can do the same.

Viagra is now available in most Medicine Hat pharmacies. Before Viagra, there were limited treatment options: penile injections, suppositories, vacuum constriction devices and surgical implants. Now, there is a pill which can work within an hour.

Public’s expectations are raised to a new height!

Does it help all men with erectile dysfunction? No.

Viagra increases the blood flow to the penis. It does not increase sexual desire. It only works with stimulation. It is not an aphrodisiac. It only helps 60 to 70 percent of men with erectile dysfunction.

It has side effects too. It should not be taken by men who use nitrates (nitroglycerin for angina). If nitrate is combined with Viagra then there may be a sudden drop in blood pressure. It can also cause headaches, facial flushing, indigestion, nasal congestion, and visual problems – a bluish discoloration and difficulty differentiating blue from green.

All side effects disappear within 3 to 4 hours.

Viagra comes in 25, 50, and 100mg strengths. One pill to be taken an hour before sexual activity. Daily dosage not to exceed 100mg. Your doctor will advise you the appropriate dose for your problem.

The “little blue pill” has already helped millions of men. In U.S., 85 percent of the prescriptions were written for men between the ages of 50 and 70. The sales of Viagra are estimated to top $400 million this year in North America.

In the next few years, we will see if Viagra will stand the test of time. In the meantime, it is considered an effective and safe oral therapy for impotence.

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