Undercurrent, the scuba diving magazine for serious divers reviews dive resorts and scuba diving equipment "Best of the Web ... scuba tips no other source
dares to publish" — Forbes  
Authoritative   •   Independent   •   Nonprofit  
Join Undercurrent on Facebook Join us! Public Area Online Members' Area
Home Travel Dive Gear Health & Safety Environment & Misc. Free Dive Articles Seasonal Planner Blogs Forums Books News
Reader Reports Recent Issues Back Issues Featured Reports Special Offers Search Join Login RSS FAQ About Us Contact Links
Bookmark and Share
October 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

Diving with Erectile Dysfunction

from the October, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

You’ve seen the ads, ad nausem. Cialis (tadalafil), Viagra (sildenafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) are prescription drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Known as PDE5 inhibitors, they work by increasing blood flow to certain areas of the penis. Like all medications, they have side effects that divers need to consider. Most worrisome is a potentially dangerous decrease in blood pressure in those taking certain other drugs that also dilate blood vessels. Nitroglycerin, a drug sometimes prescribed for chest pain due to coronary heart disease, is the principal example.

Aside from this, possible side effects tend to be transient and only mild to moderate, but still can be problematic for divers. In order of reported frequency, these include headache, upset stomach and nasal congestion. Cialis also may cause muscle aches and sore back.

Taking one of these medications in proximity to diving could impede equalization of the ears and sinuses; cause a headache and sore muscles; and result in heartburn, bloating, nausea and burping. These complaints could be further exacerbated by the prone and sometimes head-down positions assumed while diving. The well-known “blue vision” (seeing a blue tinge to objects) that is a potential side effect of Viagra also can occur with Cialis and Levitra. Those with retinal disease will want to consult with their ophthalmologist before starting the drug.

A diver taking one of these drugs will want to monitor for topside adverse reactions before diving. Among other advantages, this may prevent symptoms like headache and muscle ache from being confused with decompression illness or vice-versa.

There is no reason to suspect these medications increase the likelihood of DCI. In fact, there is theoretical reason as well as preliminary research suggesting that PDE5 inhibitors and other drugs that enhance nitric oxide activity actually could reduce such risk, but this work has a long way to go. Of course, any limitations or risks imposed by the condition(s) causing the erectile dysfunction, e.g., diabetes, obesity, psychiatric disorder, also must be considered.

As a final note, be aware that Cialis has a much longer half-life than either Viagra or Levitra, and with regular and continued use, Cialis blood levels go on rising for about a week.

- - Doc Vikingo

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide



Find in
Advanced Search

Sign up to receive our free
Undercurrent Online Update email
with news for serious divers
            Unsubscribe
We will not sell, exchange, or give your email address to any third party
.

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account |
| Travel Index | Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Forums | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues | Login | Join | Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |


Copyright © 1996-2014 Undercurrent (www.undercurrent.org)
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

fc