Dictionary Definition

vasoconstriction n : decrease in the diameter of blood vessels

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Extensive Definition

Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contracting of the muscular wall of the vessels. When blood vessels constrict, the flow of blood is restricted or slowed. It is the opposite of vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels. Factors causing vasoconstriction are called vasoconstrictor, also vasopressors or simply pressors. Vasoconstriction usually results in an increase of the blood pressure. Vasoconstriction may be slight or severe. Many vasoconstrictors also cause pupil dilation. Vasoconstriction in the penis can disable males from maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction). It may result from disease, medication, or psychological conditions. Medications that cause vasoconstriction include antihistamines, decongestants, methylphenidate (commonly used for ADHD), cough and cold combinations, pseudoephedrine, and caffeine.

General mechanism

Vasoconstriction is mostly the result of increased intracellular concentration of calcium (Ca2+ions). However, specific mechanisms for generating an increased intracellular concentration of calcium depends on the vasoconstrictor. In any case, this calcium results in contraction of smooth muscle (see Smooth muscle for details), resulting in a constriction of the vessel.

Factors and individual mechanisms

Factors that trigger vasoconstriction can be of exogenous origin, such as medication and endogenous as well, as a response from the body itself. Vasoconstriction can happen because of the severe heat.


Examples include amphetamines, antihistamines and cocaine. Many are used in medicine to treat hypotension and as topical decongestants. Vasoconstrictors are also used clinically to increase blood pressure or to reduce local blood flow.
The routes of administration varies. They may be both systemic and topical. For example, pseudoephedrine is available systemic (i.e. orally ingested tablets like Sudafed), and topical (such as nose sprays like phenylephrine Neo-synephrine, and eye drops for pupil dilation purposes)
Examples include: "Where are the ↑ ↓ 's ?"


Vasoconstriction is a procedure of the body that avoids orthostatic hypotension. It is a part of a body negative feed back loop in which the body tries to restore homeostasis.
For example, vasoconstriction is a hypothermic preventative in which the blood vessels constrict and blood must move at a higher pressure to actively avoid a hypoxic reaction. ATP is used as a form of energy to increase this pressure to heat the body. Once homeostasis is restored the blood pressure and ATP production regulates.
Vasoconstriction also occurs in superficial blood vessels of warm-blooded animals when their ambient environment is cold; this process diverts the flow of heated blood to the center of the animal, preventing the loss of heat.



Vasoconstriction can be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction.
An increase of blood flow in the penis that builds up causes an erection, however if the body is not functioning properly the blood vessels in the penis activate and allow less blood to pool, meaning the erection goes down prematurely or simply fails to completely go up. This does not necessarily mean that the person in question is not aroused, it is a lapse in judgement between the Central Nervous System [CNS] and the Peripheral Nervous System [PNS] . When blood pools in the penis the body reacts to the excessive heat to cool it, resulting in vasoconstriction.


vasoconstriction in German: Vasokonstriktion
vasoconstriction in Spanish: Vasoconstricción
vasoconstriction in French: Vasoconstricteur
vasoconstriction in Italian: Vasocostrittore
vasoconstriction in Dutch: Vasoconstrictie
vasoconstriction in Polish: Wazokonstrykcja
vasoconstriction in Portuguese: Vasoconstrição
vasoconstriction in Russian: Вазоконстрикторы
vasoconstriction in Russian: Вазоконстрикция
vasoconstriction in Serbian: Вазоконстрикција
vasoconstriction in Ukrainian: Судинозвужуючі речовини
vasoconstriction in Chinese: 血管收縮
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