Photo by Innerbody Research
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very common sexual condition that affects men of all ages due to a variety of potential underlying factors. One study from 2013 concluded that ED affects over one-quarter of all men under 40.1 The condition becomes more common as men age.
The good news is that modern pharmaceutical research in recent decades has delivered treatments that prove quite effective at treating ED for many men. And more recently, telemedicine has advanced to the point where you can access these prescription treatments with just an internet connection and then get them delivered directly to your front door.
BlueChew ED medication is one of the most well-known options of this kind to treat erectile dysfunction, and its treatments are effective for many men. But how does it work, and what does successful treatment look like? One of the most common searches people perform on our website is for "BlueChew before and after pictures." On this page, we’ll show how BlueChew works using the latest 3D imaging technology.
Contrary to popular beliefs that men can get an erection and have an orgasm at the drop of a hat, in reality, there are several intricate things happening in order to make that erection possible.
There are actually three kinds of erections:3
Physical touching of a man's genitals stimulates a man and causes an erection.
Absent any physical stimulation, a person’s memories and thoughts can cause an erection by themselves.
When men are asleep, they get nocturnal erections.
Since we've already mentioned the cavernous nerve above, it's time to give a brief overview of the penis anatomy that is important for understanding erections.
The penis is the largest part of the external male genitalia and is commonly divided into three parts:
The root anchors the penis to the pelvic bones while both the body and the glans expand and harden noticeably during an erection. The body (or shaft) of the penis is composed of three columns: the two corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum. These three corpora and associated blood vessels give the penis its erectile, sexual function.
The urethra allows urine and semen to exit the body. Meanwhile, the sensation of the penis is provided by the dorsal nerve of the penis, a branch of the pudendal nerve. Important signaling from the brain is received by the cavernous nerve.
What causes an erection varies depending on the type of erection. But to explore each step in the process of getting an erection, let’s consider the case of a reflexogenic erection.
That's what happens during a normal erection. But what happens during untreated ED?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and/or maintain a penile erection that is firm and/or enduring enough for sex. Some men with ED are able to get a full erection that doesn't last long enough to engage in sexual activity. Other men aren't able to get fully erect or don't see any physically noticeable changes in their penis.
Here is a 3D image of the penis of a man prior to pursuing treatment for ED. As you see, the penis is unable to become fully erect.
There are many possible underlying causes for ED. It can occur due to physical or psychological causes that affect any of the areas of the brain, reproductive hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and/or blood vessels that are involved with the phenomenon of erection.
However, some underlying causes are more common than others. The most common physical causes of ED include heart disease, atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels), high blood pressure, nerve damage, type 2 diabetes, and stroke, among others. The most common psychological causes include stress, anxiety, depression, or communication issues with the sexual partner. (Complicating matters, ED itself can cause stress, anxiety, depression, and communication issues.)
A doctor is able to determine whether ED medication, such as the ones offered by BlueChew, would be a good first course of action. And if so, the doctor can also help you determine which specific medication — sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, or avanafil — is the best starting point for you.
In contrast to the picture above, this section provides 3D depictions of what happens when a person with ED gets an erection after taking BlueChew. These ED medications can be very effective in treating erectile dysfunction caused by common physiological factors like insufficient blood flow.5 No available medications actually cure ED because they do not address underlying health issues that cause it. Instead, they provide treatment by allowing men to achieve erections.
Below is a cross-section picture showing what happens when ED medication from BlueChew enables the normal increase in blood flow that occurs inside the penis after the brain signals to the cavernous nerve that an erection should occur. In contrast to the cross-section image of the non-erect penis above, here you can see how the spongy corpora cavernosa (and, to a lesser extent, the corpus spongiosum that surrounds the urethra) have engorged with blood to enable an erection.
The influx of blood to the penis also causes constriction of veins that would have allowed blood to leave the penis. Here is an image showing how that buildup of blood culminates in an erection.
Chewable treatments from BlueChew contain sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil — the same active ingredients found in prescription Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, respectively. All of these medications are classified as PDE5 inhibitors because they all facilitate vasodilation in the penis in a similar way.
As described previously, when the brain activates the parasympathetic nervous system via the cavernous nerve in the penis, it triggers the release of nitric oxide (NO) that, in turn, triggers the production of a molecule called cyclic GMP (cGMP). That molecule acts to relax the smooth muscles in the blood vessels of the penis, and this relaxation causes them to dilate, leading to much more than the normal amount of blood entering the spongy tissues of the penis and causing an erection. PDE5 is the enzyme that binds to and neutralizes cGMP, subsequently causing blood vessels to return to their normal, pre-dilated state and ending an erection.
A PDE5 inhibitor — the type of ED medication you get in BlueChew — binds with the PDE5 enzyme in your body so that it can't bind with the cGMP. This intervention has proven to be effective for many men with ED to achieve erections that are strong, safe, and long-lasting enough for satisfying sex.
BlueChew will not work this effectively for everyone — it's not a universal treatment because:
For many men with ED, though, the medications in BlueChew are safe and effective ways to get an erection.
For our entire review of BlueChew and to learn how you can try a free month of treatment using an exclusive discount code for our readers, check out our comprehensive BlueChew Review.
Innerbody uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Capogrosso, P., Colicchia, M., Ventimiglia, E., Castagna, G., Clementi, M.C., Suardi, N., Castiglione, F., Briganti, A., Cantiello, F., Damiano, R., Montorsi, F., Salonia, A. (2013, July 1). One Patient Out of Four with Newly Diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction Is a Young Man—Worrisome Picture from the Everyday Clinical Practice. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 10(7), 1833-1841.
Li, X., Zhao, Q., Wang, J., Wang, J., Dai, H., Li, H., & Wang, B. (2018). Efficacy and safety of PDE5 inhibitors in the treatment of diabetes mellitus erectile dysfunction: Protocol for a systematic review. Medicine, 97(40).
Dean, R. C., & Lue, T. F. (2005). Physiology of Penile Erection and Pathophysiology of Erectile Dysfunction. The Urologic clinics of North America, 32(4), 379.
Panchatsharam, P.K., Durland, J., Zito, P.M. (2023, May 1). Physiology, Erection. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
Gong, B., Ma, M., Xie, W., Yang, X., Huang, Y., Sun, T., Luo, Y., & Huang, J. (2016). Direct comparison of tadalafil with sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Urology and Nephrology, 49(10), 1731-1740.