The Fourth of July is a romantic holiday, at least according to erectile dysfunction prescriptions

What holidays do you think of when someone says romance? Valentine’s Day? New Year’s Eve? What about the Fourth of July?

According to erectile dysfunction (ED) prescriptions fills, the Fourth of July is the second-most romantic holiday in America, just behind New Year’s Eve. Something about the long weekend and celebration of independence encourages fireworks in more ways than one.

How to know if you need erectile dysfunction medicine

Arousal is a complicated process, involving the brain, emotions, blood vessels, hormones, and more. If one or more of these are out of alignment it can cause performance issues. Occasional sexual problems don’t mean that you have erectile dysfunction, but if you have persistent or reoccurring symptoms you may have erectile dysfunction. Symptoms can include:

  • Reduced libido
  • Inability to get an erection
  • Inability to maintain an erection

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 7% of adult men ages 18 to 29, 9% of men ages 30 to 39, and 70% of men ages 70 and older cannot get an erection hard enough for sex. If you are one of these men, ED medication may be the right solution for you.

To get ED medication, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor will likely ask you questions about your symptoms, if you are anxious or depressed, and may conduct a physical exam to see if your ED is an indication of an underlying condition.

Types of ED medication

If your doctor determines that an ED prescription is right for you, there are several medications you might be prescribed.

Viagra (sildenafil)

Viagra is such a popular ED medication that it even has a nickname: “the little blue pill,” named after the color of the brand medication. Like most erectile dysfunction medications, Viagra works by boosting the activity of nitric oxide which relaxes the smooth muscles in the penis and allows more blood during arousal. Viagra works within an hour and can work for up to 4 hours.

Cialis (tadalafil)

Cialis works the same way as Viagra, but unlike Viagra, Cialis can work for up to 36 hours. This can be beneficial if your Fourth of July plans take you away from the home or your medications. Cialis also works a little faster than Viagra, in 30 minutes instead of an hour.

Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride)

Like Viagra, Levitra starts to work within an hour and provides an erection for up to 4 hours. Levitra is a little different from other ED medications as it is available in 2 forms: a tablet and a disintegrating tablet that is taken without water. This could be handy if you need to take the medication but do not have access to a beverage.

Side effects of ED pills

Side effects vary by person and medication, but ED medication all have similar potential side effects:

  • Flushing
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Digestive problems or acid reflux
  • Stuffy or runny nose or sneezing
  • Muscle aches or back pain

More serious side effects such as visual disturbances or prolonged erection are possible. If you experience either of those, or anything else concerning, call your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the issue with them.

Is watermelon natural viagra?

You may have heard that “watermelon is nature’s Viagra,” and with all the food during the Fourth of July celebrations, it can be tempting to test this old wives’ tale. But don’t be fooled – watermelon is not a natural ‘cure’ for ED.

The myth started with a 2008 publication from Texas A&M University that described how a professor studying watermelon found that is contains citrulline, a nutrient that indirectly causes blood vessels to dilate. While this blood vessel dilation is essentially how ED medications like Viagra work, you would need to eat a tremendous amount of watermelon to get the same effect as Viagra. Even then, the effect may not be the desired erection as the blood vessel dilation would be throughout the body and not only the penis, whereas ED medications are targeted to the penis specifically.

Can I drink alcohol with ED medications?

Yes, you can drink alcohol in moderation with ED medications like Viagra. However, avoid drinking alcohol in excess when taking ED prescriptions. Drinking can make it more difficult to obtain and maintain an erection. Drinking in excess can also worsen possible ED medication side effects, like headaches, flushing, dizziness, and, most worryingly, low blood pressure. So enjoy your Fourth of July celebrations, but be mindful of your alcohol consumption.

To find more information on all the medications discussed in this article, read our Top Erectile Dysfunction Medications article. For prescription savings on these ED medications, please check out perks.optum.com and start saving today!