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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Viagra Found To Alleviate Menstrual Pain Without Side Effects

December 10, 2013
Image Credit: 9nong / Shutterstock

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

While primarily known as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, new research appearing in the journal Human Reproduction has found a new use for Viagra that could benefit women.

Richard S. Legro of the Penn State Hershey Obstetrics and Gynecology department and his colleagues report that the drug, also known as sildenafil citrate, could help relieve moderate to severe menstrual cramps.

According to Anna Hodgekiss of the Daily Mail, the reason for this is that it increases blood flow to the pelvic region when administered vaginally by elevating the levels of the chemical responsible for causing tissues in the body to become relaxed.

“The effects on erectile function were discovered accidentally – it was originally developed to improve blood supply to the heart in angina sufferers,” Hodgekiss said, noting that previous studies that had women take Viagra tablets for period pain relief found that the drug caused headaches. Those side effects “didn’t occur” when sildenafil was “administered as a vaginal pessary,” she added.

Legro’s team collaborated with researchers from the Nova Gradiska General Hospital in Croatia, recruiting women between the ages of 18 and 35 who suffered from moderate to severe primary dysmenorrhea (PD) – a common cause of pelvic pain in women.

Of the 29 women who were screened, all but four were randomized to receive either Viagra or a placebo. Each of them were asked to rate their pain level over a period of four consecutive hours. The investigators learned that the erectile dysfunction drug, when administered vaginally, could alleviate acute menstrual pain without side effects.

Since uterine blood flow increased as a result of both Viagra and the placebo, the reason that Viagra “alleviates pain is not yet known,” the university said. “Larger studies must be completed to validate the small sample of this study, and additional research is needed to see whether sildenafil changes the menstrual bleeding pattern.”

“If future studies confirm these findings, sildenafil may become a treatment option for patients with PD. Since PD is a condition that most women suffer from and seek treatment for at some points in their lives, the quest for new medication is justified,” added Legro, who is also a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine.

Alan R. Kunselman, also of the Penn State College of Medicine, and R. Dmitrovic of the BetaPlus Center for Reproductive Medicine in Croatia were also involved in the research. The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online