Contraceptives alter the olfactory experience of women. - GreenMedInfo Summary
The relationship between oral contraceptive use and sensitivity to olfactory stimuli.
Horm Behav. 2013 Mar ;63(3):491-6. Epub 2013 Jan 13. PMID: 23321429
Kaytlin J Renfro
The present study examined differences in olfactory sensitivity between 16 naturally cycling (NC) women and 17 women taking monophasic oral contraceptives (OCs) to six odors: lemon, peppermint, rose, musk, androstenone and androsterone. Thresholds were assessed twice for both groups of women (during the periovulatory and luteal phases of their cycles) via a forced-choice discrimination task. NC women in the periovulatory phase were significantly more sensitive to androstenone, androsterone, and musk than women taking OCs. These findings give support to odor-specific hormonal modulation of olfaction. Further, due to the social and possibly sexual nature of these odors, future work should address whether there is a relationship between decreased sensitivity to these odors and reported behavioral side effects among women taking OCs.