Headache After Viagra: An Ultimate Guide On Causes And Solutions

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Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team Published on June 20, 2022

Did you know that more than 200 medical and health problems can cause headaches? Migraines are among the most common culprits, affecting 25% of Canadian households. About 1% to 2% of the population even have it worse, as they experience chronic migraines.

However, several prescription medications can also trigger headaches. Viagra, a type of medication doctors prescribe for erectile dysfunction, is among them.

The good news is that not everyone develops a headache after Viagra use. Moreover, some methods may help reduce the likelihood of this adverse effect. And luckily, there are also a few ways to manage it once it occurs.

We'll cover the most crucial facts you need to know about headaches and Viagra below, so read on!

In this article, we talk about the following:

  • How does a headache after Viagra use develop?
  • How common is a headache after taking Viagra?
  • How long does a Viagra headache last?
  • Is a headache after Cialis also common?
  • Can a headache after Levitra also occur?
  • Are headaches after taking Viagra preventable?
  • Can you treat headaches from ED medications?
  • What other side effects do ED medications have?

How Does a Headache After Viagra Use Develop?

Viagra (generic name, sildenafil) is a phosphodiesterase-5 enzyme (PDE-5) inhibitor. PDE-5, in turn, is an enzyme affecting cell signalling activities. For example, it plays a role in muscle and blood vessel contraction and relaxation.

Doctors prescribe Viagra or sildenafil for erectile dysfunction (ED). It works by inhibiting PDE-5 activity. That inhibition then encourages the blood vessels to relax or dilate.

As a result, the dilation may make the penile blood vessels open up or widen to allow more blood to enter. That increased blood flow may then contribute to a man getting an erection. "Contribute" is the keyword here, as PDE-5 inhibitors require sexual arousal to work.

The thing is that Viagra may affect the blood vessels in other parts of the body too. That sudden widening can then bring about an influx of blood to the head. That can result in a headache after taking the ED medication.

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.

How Common Is a Headache After Taking Viagra?

Researchers found that one in four men prescribed sildenafil experience headaches. They also note that some patients may develop cluster headaches.

That makes headaches one of the most common side effects of taking Viagra or sildenafil.

How Long Does a Viagra Headache Last?

It will likely only be mild if you experience a headache after Viagra or sildenafil. Moreover, in most cases, the headache goes away within one to a few hours. It's also unlikely for the symptom to persist the following day from when you took the medication.

Is a Headache After Cialis Also Common?

Doctors may also prescribe Cialis (generic name, tadalafil) for erectile dysfunction. In addition, it's a PDE-5 inhibitor; thus, its mode of action is similar to sildenafil. So, it may help men get an erection by relaxing the penile blood vessels and directing more blood to them.

For that reason, headaches after taking Cialis are also common side effects.

Read more: Viagra FAQs

Can a Headache After Levitra Also Occur?

Levitra (generic name, vardenafil) may also help men who cannot get erections. Like Viagra and Cialis, vardenafil falls under the PDE-5 inhibitor class of drugs. Thus, it may also help relax muscles and blood vessels, encouraging more blood flow to the penis.

Because of how it works, some men may also get a headache after Levitra. Indeed, research lists headaches as one of the most common vardenafil adverse effects.

Are Headaches After Taking Viagra Preventable?

You've chosen to take Viagra (or perhaps Cialis or Levitra) to help with your ED, not to get a headache. So experiencing a headache, no matter how minor, can put you out of your bedroom game. 

The good news is that there are measures you can follow to prevent a headache after Viagra.

Read more: Herbal Viagra

Ask Your Doctor for Lower Dosages

If you're wary of getting headaches after taking Viagra or other ED drugs, ask your doctor if you can get a lower dose. After all, you have three Viagra dosage options: 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. The standard is 50mg, but you can request your doctor to prescribe the lowest one, 25mg.

A lower dosage doesn't guarantee complete protection against headaches after ED medications. However, note that many drugs cause more (or more severe) side effects the higher their dose. And according to researchers, such effects of PDE-5 inhibitors have to do with dosing.

Thus, consider a lower sildenafil or ED drug dose if you want to err on the side of caution.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Sexual activity can potentially be a "significant exercise" in some cases. At least, that's what researchers from the University of Quebec at Montreal found. Their study found that young, healthy males and females burned 85 calories during sex.

Another group of researchers conducted a study on energy expenditure during sex. Their results revealed lower figures, specifically for a man weighing 154 pounds. They noted that, in this case, stimulation and orgasm could expend 3.5 calories per minute.

Either way, having sex burns calories, seeing as the body moves during the activity. That triggers perspiration, and depending on how much a man sweats, that person may lose a lot of fluids.

Too much fluid loss may cause dehydration, which, in turn, may cause headaches. In addition, Viagra is also a mild diuretic, meaning it can make the body of an active man release excess water.

So, it might be wise to drink plenty of water before and after taking Viagra or other ED drugs. That may help reduce your odds of getting a headache caused by dehydration.

Read more: Viagra History

Ask Your Doctor About Your Alternatives

As mentioned above, Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra (vardenafil) are PDE-5 inhibitors. And while they have similar modes of action, some people may tolerate one better than the rest.

Again, one possible reason is the ED drugs' available dosage options.

Fortunately, tadalafil is available in doses of 2.5mg, 5mg, and 10mg. Doctors can prescribe the first two for daily use. Those lower dosages may help reduce the odds of adverse effects, such as headaches.

So during your doctor's consultation, ask if tadalafil or vardenafil may be better for you. Your doctor can then advise you about these alternatives and their potential effects.

Can You Treat Headache From ED Medications?

Fortunately, yes. Once you get a headache after Viagra, you can manage it with a few pain relief options. You can also try the same if you get headaches after Cialis or Levitra.

Take an OTC Pain Reliever

Over-the-counter pain relievers may help with persistent headaches after taking ED drugs. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen are often safe to use with a PDE-5 drug still in your system. Aside from their pain-relieving effects, they also don't interact with ED medications.

However, ask your doctor before taking any OTC drugs for headache relief. That's especially crucial if you take other medicines alongside your ED medications.

In addition, please ensure you only take an OTC pain-reliever as directed. Avoid using it more frequently than what your doctor recommends. Otherwise, you may be at risk of developing more intense headaches.

Read more: Can I Get Viagra Over the Counter?

Dim the Lights

Sildenafil may also cause reversible eye-related side effects. Light sensitivity and changes in light perception are some examples.

Light sensitivity may make a headache after Viagra worse. Thus, if you experience both adverse effects, it may be wise to dim the lights or stay in a dimly-lit room. Doing so may help reduce the pain or prevent it from worsening.

Read more: Viagra Warnings & Precautions

What Other Side Effects Do ED Medications Have?

Aside from headaches and light sensitivity, ED drugs can lower blood pressure. The good news is that it's temporary, and according to researchers, the degree of the drop is often minor.

Flushing is another adverse effect that sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil may cause. Its symptoms include temporary warmth and reddening of the skin. Some people may also notice a slight change or deepening of their skin colour.

Dyspepsia, also known as indigestion or an upset stomach, may also occur after taking ED drugs. Likewise, you may experience heartburn following Viagra, as it's a symptom of dyspepsia.

Sometimes, PDE-5 inhibitors may cause nasal congestion too. That can occur because these drugs enhance the effects of nitric oxide (NO). NO widens blood vessels in the nasal region; thus, the increased blood flow may make your nose feel "full."

Other adverse effects of ED medications include ocular (eye) disturbances. For instance, some men may develop temporary blurriness. Others may notice a blue or blue-green tinge within their vision.

Don't Let Viagra Headaches Get In Your Way

Remember: A headache after Viagra typically affects only a fraction (one-fourth) of men. However, if you're still wary, you can follow the tips above to reduce your odds. And if you still get a headache, you can ask your doctor for advice on which OTC pain reliever to take.

Do you have other concerns about sildenafil or erectile dysfunction drugs? If so, we here at UPGUYS can help!

We can connect you to a licensed Canadian physician online. After that, you can start exploring your ED treatment options.




Disclaimer
This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.