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Home / Erectile Dysfunction / Sildenafil / How does Sildenafil work?

How does Sildenafil work?

Sildenafil tablets are designed to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. It does not increase sexual desire or cure erectile dysfunction, but it does help men to have and maintain erections.

An erection is a complex process involving the activation of chemicals within the penis. These chemicals relax the muscles in the penis, increasing blood flow which creates pressure and causes the penis to become hard. With erectile dysfunction, this process is interrupted, resulting in limited blood flow that stops the penis from becoming or staying erect. Sildenafil can help to prevent this.

Sildenafil is a PDE5-inhibitor, meaning that it inhibits the phosphodiesterase type 5 enzyme. When this enzyme works too quickly, it breaks down the chemicals that cause the muscles in the penis to relax. This limits the amount of blood that can flow to the penis. By blocking this enzyme, Sildenafil relaxes the muscles and blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the penis. It also boosts the naturally occurring chemical nitric oxide, which helps to increase blood flow as well.

Sildenafil will not cause you to be sexually aroused; sexual stimulation is required for the medication to work. With stimulation, Sildenafil improves the ability to get and maintain erections during sexual intercourse. This can lead to longer and firmer erections, and improve overall sexual satisfaction. In addition to the primary physical function of Sildenafil, it can also help to alleviate the mental stress and anxiety that erectile dysfunction causes in some men.

Sildenafil can be effective in as little as 30 minutes, but it stays in the bloodstream for up to four hours. After sexual intercourse has finished, the erection should go away. In the rare event of an erection lasting more than four hours, you should seek immediate medical help. Visit our side effects page for more information on the side effects of sildenafil and how these may effect you.

Sildenafil is one of the UK's most effective, medically proven treatments for erectile dysfunction.

*The medical sources used for this article can be viewed on our legal page.

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