Can Women Take Viagra?

19 August, 2023

Can Women Take Viagra? Here's What You Need to Know

Viagra. Just saying it out loud likely brings to mind that little blue pill for treating erectile dysfunction.

But ladies, have you ever wondered...could Viagra work for women too? Let's explore.

Now don't get too excited. The FDA hasn't approved Viagra for women yet. But some doctors prescribe it off-label, so it’s worth learning about.

Let’s start with...

 

A Brief History of Viagra

Once upon a time in 1989, Pfizer scientists synthesized a compound called sildenafil citrate. They thought it would treat high blood pressure and chest pain. But surprisingly, study participants reported stronger erections as a side effect!

 Pfizer realized this unexpected effect could lead to a new indication for the drug. In 1998, Viagra was FDA approved to treat erectile dysfunction.

 Around the same time, research revealed women also struggle with sexual problems like problems orgasming, decreased desire, arousal issues, and pain. This condition is called female sexual dysfunction (FSD).

 Of course, drug companies including Pfizer wondered if Viagra could help women too. But trial results were lackluster.

 It wasn’t until 2015 that the FDA approved the drug Addyi to treat a specific form of FSD, hypoactive sexual desire, in women. But it’s not been a runaway success due to modest benefits and side effects.

Alright, enough background. Let's get to the good stuff!

 

ballons

"Research revealed women also struggle with sexual problems like problems orgasming, decreased desire, arousal issues, and pain. This condition is called female sexual dysfunction"

girl with a ballon

How Does Viagra Work?

To understand if Viagra could work for women, it helps to understand how it works in men first.

Viagra is in a class of meds called PDE5 inhibitors. It enables increased blood flow to the penis when a man is aroused, resulting in an erection.

So Viagra doesn’t automatically give a man an erection on its own - arousal is still required.

What if Viagra also increased blood flow for women? Let's keep exploring...

Could Viagra Benefit Women Too?

Even though it’s not FDA approved for women, some doctors prescribe Viagra off-label to treat sexual dysfunction.

Possible benefits include:

  • Increased genital blood flow leading to better arousal, lubrication and sensation

  • Heightened overall sexual arousal and desire  

  • Ability to become aroused and orgasm more quickly and/or frequently

 Some research is promising. One study found Viagra helped women with arousal issues get lubricated and turned on during sex.

 Another review showed Viagra may improve arousal, orgasms and satisfaction for some women with FSD. But the benefits appear small and unpredictable. More studies are needed.

 Of course, there are some potential risks as well...

 

 

What are the Risks?

Even though Viagra is generally safe when prescribed properly, potential side effects include:

  • Headaches, flushing, vision changes, upset stomach

  • Low blood pressure, loss of vision or hearing (rare)

  • Negative interactions with some blood pressure meds, antidepressants, etc.

Because of these risks, Viagra is only prescribed to women with severe sexual dysfunction who haven’t improved with other treatments first. Doctors will thoroughly assess your health before recommending Viagra.

Okay, enough warnings - let's get to the options...

What Types of Viagra are There?

If prescribed off-label, some Viagra formulations include:

  • Viagra: The original little blue pill, taken 1 hour before sex  

  • Viagra Soft Tabs: Dissolve under the tongue for faster effects

  • Viagra Pro: A higher dose of sildenafil

There are also herbal products advertised as "female Viagra" online. These make big promises but often contain questionable and untested ingredients. Only take Viagra prescribed directly to you by your doctor.

Getting Viagra Safely  

You’ll need a prescription from your doctor. Some online pharmacies offer licensed prescription services that discreetly ship to your door, after an online consultation.

Only obtain authentic Viagra prescribed directly to you. This ensures safe, proven treatment.

 

girl with ballons
flying ballon

The Bottom Line

While not FDA approved for women yet, some doctors prescribe Viagra off-label for severe sexual dysfunction if other options haven’t worked. It may provide modest improvements in arousal, orgasms and satisfaction for some women.

 

But the benefits are unpredictable and more research is needed. There are also risks to consider. Discuss with your doctor to see if Viagra could be appropriate for you. Stay empowered!

 

Want to learn more about sexual health? Follow us on social for more helpful articles and resources empowering women to take charge of their wellbeing.

 

“Viagra may provide modest improvements in arousal, orgasms and satisfaction for some women.”

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