Viagra for Women

In 2004, Pfizer Inc., the makers of the Viagra pill—introduced to improve men’s sexual health and functioning—announced that they would be abandoning eight years of previous research conducted in an attempt to develop a drug similar to Viagra to improve female libido and sexual health. Other products designed to improve sexual health in women are available, but can these Viagra alternatives provide effective results when it comes in increasing sexual desire in women?

How Does Viagra Work?

Viagra works by blocking an enzyme that acts as an inhibitor of blood flow. In men, this can cause penile tissue to swell. When a man takes Viagra, there is an increase in blood flow to the genital areas, which thus helps to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence in men.

The same enzyme inhibitor affecting male sexual dysfunction influences pelvic blood flow in women. The Viagra research team attempted to find a link between arousal in women and pelvic blood flow in the early stages of trials. However, this attempt failed, and some researchers even suggested that genital arousal in women does not necessarily produce sexual desire in women as it typically does in men. Women may define sexual arousal based on mental and emotional, as well as biological factors.

According to some of the researchers working on the Viagra team, Viagra for women or a Viagra alternative may help women facing sexual dysfunction due to side effects of other medication. In cases where sexual desire is inhibited due to emotional or psychological factors, a female Viagra solution may not be applicable.

Women and Sexual Health

Approximately 43% of women suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction in women is characterized by a lack of desire, arousal, or orgasm. Lack of desire is considered to be the most common complaint among these women. Approximately 20% of these women report having difficulties with lubrication, which can be assisted by Viagra-like drugs that may increase blood flow to the genitals.

Some common factors that inhibit women’s sexual health include:

  • family concerns
  • relationship concerns
  • illness or death
  • financial or job worries
  • childcare responsibilities
  • previous or current physical or emotional abuse
  • fatigue
  • depression

Physical factors that may be contributing to sexual dysfunction in women include:

  • hypertension
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • thyroid disorders
  • neurological diseases
  • autoimmune disorders such as lupus
  • prescription drugs such as anti-hypertensives and depression medication
  • over-the-counter medications
  • drug and alcohol abuse

Solutions Available: Alternatives To Viagra

Currently, drug companies are looking to provide a treatment similar to Viagra for women that would increase the blood flow to the genitals in order to increase lubrication and relax vaginal muscles.

Some products and treatments already available include:

  • L-arginine amino acid cream purported to increase vaginal blood flow using the same amino acid previously used by athletes to increase muscle development

  • DHEA or the use of supplements of the male hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone, which is produced both by the adrenal gland and ovaries and converted into testosterone and estrogen. However, use of these supplements carries the risk of heart attacks, breast cancer, and emasculating side effects may also occur

  • Testosterone Therapy for women who have undergone an oophorectomy (ovary removal) or a hysterectomy. A testosterone patch has recently been created to improve sexual health in women, but has failed to gain approval by the FDA

Many of these products and treatments require close monitoring by a physician since side effects can be severe and include irreversible changes in a woman’s voice or facial hair. In addition, all of the above options have yet to be scientifically validated.

The best treatment for sexual dysfunction in women may simply be exercise, counseling, and vaginal lubrication products which can act as more natural alternatives to Viagra and improve your overall health and wellness.

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