Achieving Erection is Hard Work?

By Dr. Edward R. Rosic

The physical and biochemical processes involved in achieving and maintaining an erection are complex, which is one of the reasons it took drug companies decades to come up with a product such as Viagra. In simplified terms, here is what happens. The first spark in the erection process occurs in the brain (the number one sex organ), which sends nerve impulses to the penis to get things going. The action begins with the production of nitric oxide (NO) from the amino acid arginine. NO, a vitally important neurotransmitter, penetrates the outer membranes of almost all cells in the human body, and it helps regulate many cellular functions.

In the smooth muscle cells of the penis, NO stimulates the production of a compound called cyclic GMP, which causes these cells to relax. This allows copious amounts of blood to enter and engorge the penis (in a specialized area called the corpus cavernosum), which obligingly stiffens as a result. Voila an erection. To ensure that the erection doesn't last too long, however (believe it or not, that can be quite uncomfortable and even dangerous), the smooth muscle cells of the penis also contain phosphodiesterase (PDE), an enzyme that breaks down cyclic GMP. When this happens, the excess blood drains from the penis, and the erection wilts.

Knowing the mechanism just described, one can imagine several ways in which an erection could be induced and maintained for longer periods of time. The way Viagra exerts its biochemical magic is by inhibiting the action of PDE, thereby allowing cyclic GMP in the penis to remain at high levels. Because of this, the blood doesn't drain out, and the erection lasts longer. Uprima, the first prescription drug to compete with Viagra, works earlier in the process by amplifying the brain's erection signal to the penis.

Source: Life Enhancement

Dr. Rosick is an attending physician and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Pennsylvania State University, where he specializes in preventive and alternative medicine. He also holds a master's d Call (800) 543-3873 - Email