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Women can benefit from Viagra
Viagra may help some women
Women can benefit from taking the impotence drug Viagra, scientists have claimed.

Research by a team from the University of Boston has found that the drug can benefit women who have had a hysterectomy or who have gone through the menopause.

In both cases, women experience a loss of production of female hormones that can lead to sexual problems, such as loss of sensation and lubrication.

Dr Jennifer Berman tested the drug on 17 women who had either had a hysterectomy or gone through the menopause.

Each woman got either Viagra or a dummy pill, and three months later the women who got Viagra were switched to a placebo and the women who had been given sugar pills got Viagra.

Dr Berman and the patients did not know which woman got which pill until the end of the study.

Viagra, whose technical name is sildenafil, works by increasing the effects of nitric oxide, a common body chemical, which in turn gets more blood flowing into the genitals.

Dr Berman, who will present her findings to a meeting of the American Urological Association, said: "Sildenafil did appear to significantly increase blood flow and pH and pH is an indicator of lubrication."

"Subjectively, with regard to lubrication, sensitivity, the ability to have orgasm, and satisfaction, the women noted a significant difference."

Emotional problems

Dr Berman has carried out another study at Boston University with 48 women, aged 22 to 71.

While not so carefully controlled - the women all got Viagra and knew it - there was a statistically significant difference.

She said: "It does appear to be Viagra because there are physiological changes that can't be faked."

However, Viagra failed to work for women in the second study who had psychological problems with sex.

These included poor body image, a history of sexual abuse, or marital trouble.

Dr Berman said: "Those women don't respond to Viagra or any drug.

"Although there are physiological, medical reasons why women have sexual complaints, there are emotional and relational consequences to sexual dysfunction that are relevant to women."

She added that it was more difficult to tell if a woman had sexual problems.

"While men can define their sexual function in terms of rigidity, for women it doesn't work that way," she said.

Pfizer, the manufacturers of Viagra, say that seven million prescriptions have been written for the drug worldwide since its launch last year.

See also:

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