How Does Viagra Cause Heartburn and How to Eliminate It?

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is so common that almost forty percent of men worldwide suffer from it.

Of the several medications available, Viagra, a Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) Inhibitor, is the most potent drug used to treat ED. However, the use of Viagra is associated with some side effects like “Heartburn.”

Regular users of Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, often ask, “How to eliminate Heartburn form Viagra?”. Let’s begin with the basics.

ED and Viagra

ED is a male sexual dysfunction in which an individual cannot achieve and maintain satisfactory penile erections during sexual arousal. Various factors, like Vascular, neurological, hormonal, and psychological, contribute to ED (1).

Viagra treats the Vascular cause of ED by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissues, Corpora Cavernosa, of the penis. It causes relaxation of smooth muscles in the penis, causes dilation of the penile vasculature, and allows adequate blood flow to the erectile tissues. Consequently, the user gets a satisfactory erection that lasts longer in bed (2).

However, Viagra is only effective when one is sexually aroused and takes almost 30 minutes to 1 hour to produce an optimum effect. Therefore, one should take Viagra when he’s sexually aroused and approximately 30 minutes before starting sexual activity.

Side-Effects of Viagra

Although reported less often, Viagra has many potential side effects that one should be well aware of before starting to take the drug.

The most common side effects include (3):

  • Heartburn
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • dizziness
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Muscle Aches

More severe side-effects of Viagra include:

  • Priapism
  • Vision Loss

It is easy to compare the side-effects of Viagra with its possible adverse effects.

How Does Viagra Cause Heartburn?

Heartburn is a very unpleasant side-effect experienced by the users of Viagra. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest caused by the stomach’s reflux of acid into the esophagus. Patients of heartburn might present with chest pain (4).

Viagra primarily causes the relaxation of smooth muscles in the penis. However, the effect might be evident in other smooth muscles of the body, including the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

LES is a ring of smooth contractile tissue around the lower end of the esophagus that prevents gastric contents from entering into the esophagus. When Viagra acts on LES, it not only causes it to relax but also prolongs its relaxation for 45 minutes following its initial intake. During the phase of LES relaxation, gastric acid moves up into the esophagus, producing symptoms of heartburn (5).

Heartburn from Viagra might produce following common symptoms (6):

  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • Dry Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Swallowing problem
  • Bloating
  • Stomach noises
  • Nausea

How to Eliminate Heartburn from Viagra?

Heartburn is an extremely unpleasant feeling that negatively influences one’s quality of life and, if left ignored, can lead to possible complications like (7).

  • Esophagitis
  • strictures in the esophagus
  • cancer in the esophagus
  • Barrett’s esophagus.

Lifestyle modifications like weight loss and elevation of bed head prove very beneficial for the treatment of heartburn. Multiple over-the-counter medications available for the treatment of heartburn reduce gastric acid production and are very helpful for Heartburn in Viagra users. Some medicines are useful when taken only at the time of heartburn, while others should be taken daily for optimum results (8).

Common medicines effective for the treatment of heartburn include:

  • Histamine-2 Receptor Blockers- Ranitidine, Cimetidine
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors- Lansoprazole, Esomeprazole
  • Promotility drugs-Metoclopramide

The following foods also help with acid reflux:

  • Banana
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Melons
  • green vegetables

Drinking an adequate amount of water may also prevent heartburn.

Smoking and alcohol might worsen the symptoms of heartburn and should be avoided by men taking Viagra to treat ED.

Conclusion

Viagra is a prevalent drug used worldwide for the treatment of ED. It is a very effective drug that treats ED by increasing blood flow to the penis helping its users achieve a satisfactory erection, and stay longer in bed.

However, unwanted side-effects like heartburn can make the use of Viagra difficult. Timely management with lifestyle changes, medications, and avoiding certain foods can help eliminate heartburn so that one can fully enjoy Viagra’s beneficial effects!

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