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Home / Erectile Dysfunction / Viagra / Viagra for women: does it work?

Viagra for women: does it work?

Learn more about female Viagra products

There is no shortage of treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED). However, when it comes to sexual dysfunction in women, there is not much on offer.

Many treatments have been proven to work for men, one of the most popular being Viagra. Because it is so popular, many other companies have borrowed the name to try and sell their products, especially in the world of unlicensed medicines.

Woman holding blue Viagra pill.

Many products are claiming to be “female Viagra” and popping up online. They may look like a good solution, but do they work? Continue reading to find out more information about female Viagra products.

What is female Viagra?

Female Viagra is a term used to describe products claiming to treat sexual problems in women, particularly arousal and sexual desire.

Unlike male Viagra, there is no one female Viagra product. Many unregulated products claim to act like Viagra, but their effects have not been tested. The sellers promote that it’s available over the counter. So, many women who are afraid to go to the doctor buy these products in the hopes of a quick fix.

There are also some prescription medicines that people sometimes call “female Viagra.” But these medicines do not work the same way as Viagra. This can be confusing for women who are looking for treatment.

We summarise several products that are most commonly known as female Viagra.

1. Lady Era

One of the first products known as female Viagra is Lady Era. It claims to treat low sex drive with the main ingredient sildenafil. While the active ingredient is the same as the official Viagra, there is no proof that sildenafil works for women.

Sildenafil works by increasing the blood flow across the body. In men, this improves blood flow in the penis to improve their erections.

There is some evidence that sildenafil may increase blood flow in the vagina. However, studies generally show that sildenafil does not improve sex drive. While it may improve wetness and sensitivity in the clitoris, the effects are not well understood.

It is an unlicensed product and its effects on women have not been proven. This means that there is no guarantee of the product’s ingredients, safety or efficacy. Lady Era is similar to Kamagra, which also contains sildenafil but is intended for men. However, both are illegal to buy in the UK.

2. Flibanserin (Addyi)

One of the few licensed products is known as Addyi, sometimes known as the pink pill. It contains flibanserin which works by correcting an imbalance in brain chemicals. It specifically targets the chemical responsible for sexual arousal.

It is licensed to treat hypoactive (low) sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women who have not started going through menopause. You take one 100mg tablet once daily before bedtime. Research has shown that it significantly improves sexual satisfaction and desire.

It was approved for use in women with HSDD in the US in 2015 by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration). It is not currently available in the UK. Any product claiming to be Addyi in the UK is likely not genuine, and you should not buy it.

3. Bremelanotide (Vyleesi)

The most recently licensed product for sexual problems in women is Vyleesi. It is an injection that contains bremelanotide and also works by altering your brain chemistry. Studies have shown that it significantly improves women’s sex drives.

Like Addyi, a doctor can only prescribe it to women who have HSDD and have not gone through menopause. However, unlike Addyi, you only use Vyleesi as and when you need it. You inject it at least 45 minutes before you intend to have sex, similar to male Viagra.

The FDA licensed the medication for HSDD in the US but is not available in the UK.

What is the difference between Viagra and female Viagra?

The core difference between Viagra and female Viagra is that Viagra is a licensed product in the UK, whilst female Viagra does not refer to one product.

Viagra Female Viagra
  • A medication licensed to treat ED in men.
  • Manufactured by Pfizer.
  • Contains sildenafil.
  • Benefits shown in numerous clinical trials.
  • Legal in the UK.
  • A term used to refer to several medications.
  • Commonly used to refer to unlicensed and ineffective products.
  • Not well tested.
  • Informal term for some prescription medications not available in the UK.

Is female Viagra safe?

Generally, any product that claims to be female Viagra in the UK will not be safe. This is because there currently exists no licensed product for female sexual problems.

Tablets, pills and capsules in the shape of female gender sign.

This is a huge problem in the herbal supplement market and can be unsafe for several reasons:

  • The manufacturer may not have thoroughly tested the product, which means the product's safety and efficacy are unknown.
  • Authorities cannot regulate the production of the product - there is no guarantee that the conditions were sufficient to produce medications.
  • It may not contain what the manufacturer claims - the dose of the ingredient could be too high or too low to have the effect it claims to have.

For these reasons, it’s best to avoid any female Viagra products unless the vendor is legitimate and a registered healthcare professional has recommended the product.

Can women take Viagra?

No, women should not take Viagra. It is only licensed for treatment in men. This is because the effects on women are not well understood and there is little evidence that it is beneficial. Because of the lack of testing on women, the authorities and manufacturers cannot prove it is safe for women to take.

How can women treat sexual problems?

It may be frustrating to hear that there is no quick fix for female sexual problems. However, it’s not untreatable. It's likely that you just need to diagnose the underlying cause.

Upset young couple having sexual problems.

There are several common causes of sexual problems in women, such as:

  • Menopause - As oestrogen levels drop, the lubrication and elasticity in the vagina decrease. This can cause vaginal dryness, painful sex and low sex drive. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will improve these symptoms.
  • Certain medications (e.g. antidepressants, hormonal contraception or high blood pressure tablets) can cause low sex drive. Ask your doctor about switching to a different medication and see if it helps.
  • Trauma surrounding sex and relationships may cause sexual problems, even if the trauma is from a long time ago. You may require specialist psychotherapy.
  • Relationship troubles - Many women may experience sexual problems with a long-term partner due to relationship issues. In these cases, you may require a relationship counsellor.
  • Mental health problems - Stress, anxiety and depression are common causes of low libido. Talk to your GP and they can recommend a treatment path for you.
  • Pregnancy and having a baby can cause sexual problems for several reasons, such as stress and discomfort. It is natural and should ease on its own once you have settled. However, if you are experiencing post-natal depression, you should speak to your GP.

If you are currently experiencing low libido or any other sexual issue, consult your doctor for a solution. Never buy anything that is not registered or licensed for your usage.

If you are looking for a herbal remedy, make sure who you are buying from is credible.

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