Does Viagra work for women?

What is Viagra?

Viagra (Sildenafil) is the most used and most effective treatment for erectile dysfunction in men. Since its market introduction in 1998, it quickly reached global fame as the ‘blue magic pill’.

Ever since Sildenafil solved men’s most intimate problem, the question arose whether it would also work for women. Some sources claim an improved sexual pleasure for women but have largely been unproven.

We are taking a closer look at what happens when a woman takes Viagra, what the associated risks are and whether there is any truth to the claims.


Does Viagra Work for Women?

There has not been any scientific evidence that Sildenafil (Viagra) works as a treatment for female sexual dysfunction (FSD). Similar to erectile dysfunction, FSD can cause a great amount of distress in women and their partner.

A lot of women have problems with their sexual health at some point in their life. FSD can affect around 30% of young and middle-aged women and around 50% of older women. Signs of FSD can include low sex drive or total loss of libido, problems with orgasm and pain during sex (dyspareunia).

Given Sildenafil increases blood flow to the penis in men, facilitating getting or maintaining an erection, there is no reason to believe that it could be effective in treating FSD in women. The cause of FSD may be both physical and psychological and can often be triggered by illnesses or life events (during pregnancy or after giving birth). It is important to consult your GP as more suitable help may include counseling or psychosexual therapy.


Which effects does Viagra have on Women?

While Viagra has not shown to be effective in treating FSD, there is evidence suggesting that Sildenafil (Viagra) may improve sexual pleasure for women.

A study conducted by the Department of Urology, UCLA Medical Center found that Sildenafil was effective in improving sexual pleasure in women suffering from sexual arousal disorder. The observed effects included enhanced arousal, lubrication and improved ability to achieve orgasm.

Since Viagra in men works by increasing the blood flow to the penis, the scientist theorized that the drug could have a similar effect on women, increasing the blood flow to the female genitals and thereby producing better arousal, sensation, and lubrication in the genital area.

However, subsequent academic research has not managed to produce results that support the theory, which has led urologists to believe that the enhanced arousal experienced by women in the UCLA study was mere coincidence.

Additional academic research on the effect of Viagra in women has not been explored extensively, so it remains undetermined and not fully known. As a result, Sildenafil is not licensed for use in women and can only be prescribed to men.

Does Viagra Increase Fertility?
A study conducted by the Sher Institute of Reproductive Medicine in Nevada investigated the use of Sildenafil as fertility treatment on infertile women. The researcher hypothesized that Sildenafil would enhance blood flow to the genital area and hence proof effective in increasing the thickening of the lining of the uterus to improve the chance of fertility. A trial with over 100 infertile women showed that administration of Sildenafil enhanced endometrial development in 70% of the women.

However, it is early days of research and given the unknown long-term effects, Sildenafil may have on women it has not been licensed for use.


Does Female Viagra Work?

A lot of online sellers promote “Female Viagra”, which are often just herbal supplements claiming sexual benefits such as an increase in libido or sexual pleasure. There is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these supplements. In some cases, the advertised drugs are unlicensed and hence the purchase is illegal and potentially dangerous.


Flibanserin (Addyi) is a medication currently only available in the US (but not the UK) which is used as a treatment for low sex drive in women. It is expensive and has shown limited results to date so it's unproven how effective this treatment is.