Study shows: birth control pills also affect olfactory performance
Scientific studies have shown that the birth control pill not only prevents pregnancy, but also has a different effect on the female body. Austrian researchers have now found that the contraceptive also has an impact on the olfactory performance.
Birth control pill not only prevents pregnancy
The contraceptive pill, together with condoms, is one of the most popular contraceptives among Germans. The drug has never had the best reputation. Mainly due to numerous side effects, it is repeatedly criticized. Birth control pills can be dangerous for some women. According to experts, there is a high risk of thrombosis, among other things. However, the contraceptive has a much greater impact on the body. A study has now found that it also affects olfactory performance.
Influence on memory and sensory skills
Women who use contraceptive pills use the drug to ingest various sex hormones, the composition and dosage of which suppress ovulation and thus prevent pregnancy.
Such preparations have been shown to influence memory as well as verbal and sensory skills. A study by the Karl Franzens University in Graz and the Medical University in Vienna has now shown that the pill also affects the ability to smell.
Effects on smell performance
"The concentration of the sex hormone estradiol and the duration of intake are essential criteria," explained Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Veronika Schöpf from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Graz in a communication from the university.
“With a higher estradiol content, the smell performance deteriorated. When the concentration was low, the women could perceive the smells better. This effect was particularly evident when taking the medication for a longer period, ”explained Schöpf.
No reason to worry
For the study, the results of which were published in the specialist journal "PLOS ONE", the scientists tested 42 women who had taken hormone preparations with different estradiol concentrations between one year and 15 years.
"The participants who had decided to take a pill with a low estradiol concentration for a longer period of time smelled better than the test subjects with a pill with a higher estradiol concentration," said Schöpf.
However, she pointed out that there was no need to worry about health: "The changes are not noticeable to women themselves and also not in an area that affects sensory experience."
The researcher's conclusion, however, is: "If women who take the pill take part in scientific studies as test subjects, this starting point should be considered in advance."
Sense of smell also plays a role in the choice of partner
The human sense of smell is not only crucial for personal well-being, but also for the general quality of life, for example for experiencing pleasure. Furthermore, the olfactory cells also warn us, for example, of spoiled food.
Even when choosing a partner, the sense of smell plays an important role. "Without the influence of hormonal contraceptives, we mostly choose partners with a complementary immune system because the biologically perfect partner should complement our immune system. We also choose our counterpart with our nose, ”said Schöpf.
The influence of such drugs on the partnership was also shown in a study in the USA. Researchers from Florida State University had determined years ago that the pill affects the partner's attractiveness. (ad)