Viagra can improve the love life of men, but a study from Columbia Medical School in New York shows that the best it does for women is increase vaginal lubrication.

Thirty-three women were given 50 mg of Viagra to take before they made love. On the average, they took it 3 to 4 times a week. One out of four reported improvement in clitoral sensitivity and vaginal lubrication, but no enhancement of orgasm. One in five complained of discomfort when their clitoris was touched. A few reported dizziness, headache and upset stomach. The doctors felt that except for vaginal lubrication and clitoral sensitivity, Viagra did not improved the women's sexuality.

Viagra helps men achieve erections by opening blood vessels to the penis, which allows extra blood to distend the balloons that cause an erection. Women may not benefit from increased blood flow to the clitoris, but vaginal secretions that lubricate the vagina during lovemaking come from the blood, and increasing blood flow to the vagina should increase secretions and help women who feel pain during lovemaking because they do not lubricate adequately. Viagra is relatively safe, but it should not be given with some drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure.

SA Kaplan, RB Reis, IJ Kohn, EF Ikeguchi, E Laor, AE Te, ACP Martins. Safety and efficacy of sildenafil in postmenopausal women with sexual dysfunction. Urology, 1999, Vol 53, Iss 3, pp 481-486. Address: Kaplan SA, Columbia Univ, Dept Urol, Atchley Pavil, 11th Floor, 161 Ft Washington Ave, New York,NY 10032 USA.

Reported 4/9/99; checked 8/9/05

Get our newsletter