High blood pressure (hypertension) is a known cause of erectile dysfunction (any reading above 130 (top number) and 80 (bottom number) are considered high). Erection problems are also a common side effect of many drugs, including those used to treat high blood pressure. So, high blood pressure itself, as well as the medicines used to treat it, can cause erectile dysfunction.

The first choice for treating erectile dysfunction is usually a class of drugs with an active ingredient called PDE5 inhibitors. These medications block the enzyme that prevents relaxation of smooth muscles in the penis. By allowing the smooth muscles to relax, sildenafil (Viagra) and other PDE5 inhibitors make it physically possible for a man to achieve an erection in the presence of sexual arousal. However, there are several side effects of Viagra, many of which affect the cardiovascular system. Does Viagra lower blood pressure? And is it dangerous to use Viagra with high blood pressure treatments?

 

How Does Your Blood Pressure Affect Sexual Health?

 

For the most part, hypertension is a medical condition with no signs or symptoms. But high blood pressure has an impact on many vital organ systems in the body. Uncontrolled blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and nerve damage.

Another danger of high blood pressure is its negative effect on sexual function. Studies show that hypertension and erection problems are closely related. Both are diseases of vascular origin. Severe erectile dysfunction is more likely to occur in men who have high blood pressure, and men with ED are nearly 40 percent more likely to be hypertensive or have heart disease.

Hypertension occurs when fatty cholesterol deposits, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin clog the arteries and limit blood flow to vital organs. Unregulated blood pressure further damages the lining of blood vessels. In addition, there is increased wall thickness and collagen deposition in the blood vessels in hypertensive individuals.

All this damage to the blood vessels is associated with a decrease in blood flow to the penis, which makes it difficult to achieve and maintain erections. In fact, there is growing evidence that ED is one of the first signs of high blood pressure.

Further complicating the relationship between hypertension and ED is the fact that many high blood pressure medications lead to erection problems as a side effect. First-line anti-hypertensive drugs such as diuretics (water pills) and beta blockers are known to decrease blood flow to the penis, leading to sexual dysfunction. Other classes of anti-hypertensive drugs, such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, alpha blockers, and calcium channel blockers are less likely to cause ED.

The good news is that several oral ED medications are available, including sildenafil and other PDE5 inhibitors for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. But, is it safe for men with high blood pressure to take Viagra? Does Viagra lower blood pressure?

 

How Do Oral Erectile Dysfunction Treatments Interfere with Hypertension Treatment?

 

What men should know about High blood pressure and Viagra

PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Staxyn are often the first choice of treatment for erectile dysfunction. These oral medications all have a similar mechanism of action. They do not increase sexual desire, but they make it possible for a man to achieve an erection when aroused.

Following sexual stimulation, these drugs cause relaxation of smooth muscles and vasodilation (widening of the arteries) in the corpus cavernosum of the penis. This leads to an increase in blood flow to the penis. Engorgement of the penis with blood produces a strong erection.

Although they are an effective and convenient treatment for erectile dysfunction, PDE5 inhibitors are associated with several side effects. Viagra side effects include serious complications such as prolonged erections, sudden hearing loss, and sudden loss of vision. In addition, the use of sildenafil and other PDE5i is contraindicated in patients who take nitrates, a class of drugs frequently prescribed for chest pain (for example, sublingual nitroglycerine for angina). The combination of sildenafil and nitrate drugs can lead to a potentially life-threatening drop in blood pressure.

Does Viagra lower blood pressure? Studies show that ingredients in Viagra (sildenafil citrate) do indeed lead to a lowering of blood pressure, both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number). In fact, sildenafil citrate was first developed by a British scientist as a treatment for high blood pressure. It was only when researchers noticed an interesting side effect, an increase in erections, that the drug was marketed as an ED medication.

The fall in blood pressure from Viagra is usually clinically insignificant in men taking concomitant anti-hypertensive medication. However, the risk of fatal hypotension (low blood pressure) and other serious cardiovascular events does exist. The use of alpha-blockers for hypertension and sildenafil is not recommended because both are blood-pressure-lowering agents and their combined use can lead to symptoms such as dizziness and lightheadedness. Because oral ED medications interfere with hypertension treatment, Viagra may not be the best option in men with high blood pressure. Men who are considering oral erectile dysfunction treatments should check with their doctor about combining these drugs with medications for high blood pressure.

 

Consider Penis Pumps for Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

 

For men who want an erectile dysfunction treatment that will not interfere with treatment for high blood pressure, a penis pump is an excellent option. It is an external treatment for ED that produces erections with a mechanical device. It does not interfere with any oral pills an individual is taking. Therefore, it can be used with anti-hypertensive medications without any additional risk.

Vacuum erection devices (penis pumps) are highly effective non-drug treatments for erectile dysfunction. These easy-to-use devices provide strong erections for up to 30 minutes. They have an excellent safety record and are not associated with any of the side effects of Viagra and other oral ED drugs.

A penis pump does not have to be used in advance like ED medications and it can be incorporated into foreplay just prior to intercourse, allowing for more spontaneity. It is also a cost-effective ED therapy in the long run with few recurring costs. Penis pumps are useful for penile rehabilitation in men who have undergone prostate surgery. With regular use, these devices allow men to achieve more natural erections. If you are worried about interactions between Viagra and high blood pressure medications, consider a penis pump for erectile dysfunction treatment.