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Does Female Viagra Work? Benefits, Side Effects and Alternative Methods

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Sexual desire in women undergoes fluctuations over the years depending upon the changes in relationships, stress, and bodily changes like pregnancy and menopause. Moreover, studies show only about 10 percent of women may have a low sex drive which distresses them. Such condition is referred to as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)

To treat such issues, limited supplements are available in the market. These treatments are known as ” female Viagra ” – similar to the medicines men take to counter their sexual problems. But this Viagra works differently from the male Viagra.

What is the female Viagra pill?

The pill which helps increase or treat the low sexual desire of females is referred to as the female Viagra pill. A woman’s sexual response is complex. Issues like difficulty with arousal or no desire or both can be seen.

Types available

FDA  has approved two types of drugs to treat low sexual desire in females –

Vyleesi:

It is a self-administrated medicine. The individual can inject herself in the belly or thigh just 45 mins before the sex. One injection lasts for 24 hours period and doctors recommend only 8 injections per month.

Addyi:

Similar to Vyleesi, Addyi is known to treat the low sexual desire in women but Addyi is in pill form, an everyday pill, and can be taken even if the sex is not intended on that day. It takes about 8 weeks to notice the increase in sexual desire but in some women, it can be noticed early.

Viagra

Though the following medications are not approved by the FDA but can be used by a woman. Few women found Viagra helpful in treating their low sexual desire. Viagra was used before Addyi and Vyleesi were made available in the market. In males, Viagra is known to increase the blood flow of the penis and potentiating a sustainable erection. Similarly, females also experience an increase in blood flow to their genitalia during arousal.

Other medications

Many medications can boost up the low sexual desire by treating the underlying cause. Such as decreased libido due to trauma or anxiety can be managed by anti-anxiety drugs.

In post-menopause women, estrogen replacement therapy can help increase the low libido. The addition of testosterone to estrogen therapy can be helpful.

How do they work?

The drugs help in boosting the activity of chemical messengers i.e. Neurotransmitters in the brain, these help in arousal. Addyi is found to be effective by acting indirectly on dopamine receptors and increase the pleasure and motivation in the female body whereas Vyleesi can affect the Melanocortin receptors which are linked to increasing the sexual desire. FDA studies show, even placebo-controlled trials show an increase in sexual desire in females using Vyleesi.

Who could benefit?

Both Vyleesi, as well as Addyi, are used to treat premenopausal hypoactive sexual desire disorder. As such, there is no cut-off point to define sexual desire as low, but low libido can be considered as a distressed individual with a lack of interest in sex. Therefore, people who benefited from Female Viagra are females themselves who feel their sex drives are low, and those who wish to have more sex. People such as –

  • Taking medications to treat low sexual desire
  • Experiencing sexual boredom
  • Sudden lack of interest in sex

Side-effects

The most common side-effects of Addyi are:

  • Sleeping disorders such as insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure

The most common side-effects of Vyleesi are:

  • Nausea
  • Hot flushes
  • Skin irritation like rash around the injection site
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hyperpigmentation of skin
  • Hypertension
  • Bradycardia i.e. decreased Heart rate
  • Tingling
  • Any allergic reaction

Is Addyi safe?

Addyi is not safe in women with liver disease as it can cause severe hypotension in them. Drinking alcohol should be refrained at least 2 hours before consuming the night dose of Addyi and also after dose avoid consuming alcohol until the next morning. It is better to avoid Addyi along with antibiotics or antifungal or HIV medications which are strong or moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors.

Alternative methods

Sexual desire can be influenced by many factors. Low libido can be caused due to trauma, unsatisfying sex, or boredom. Many times, long term monogamous relationships can cause a decrease in sexual desire. Other causes of low libido are:

  • Social pressure
  • Having Sexually Transmitted infection
  • Emotionless connection with a partner during sex
  • A partner with sexual dysfunction history
  • Trouble talking about sex
  • No sharing of sexual thoughts and interest with the partner

Alternative options to treat low sexual desire other than medication are :

  • Sex therapy along with a partner to support discussion and reconciliation of the desires
  • Open communication, sharing thoughts with a partner
  • Individual therapy for a traumatized experience with sex
  • Trying new sexual fantasies or toys or techniques

Words of caution

Low sexual desire is a complicated issue as it can be a result of hormonal fluctuation or relationship challenge or brain chemistry issue and can vary from one person to another. It can be treated through medications and counselling by a healthcare provider.

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