In previous articles, we have discussed in-depth the negative impact synthetic hormones in the birth control pill, patch, and ring can have on a woman’s body. However, a recent study has produced a new and shocking side effect of hormonal birth control use.
In the study, researcher Salvatore Caruso, a professor in the Department of Gynecological Science at the Ospedale S. Bambino in Italy, tested the sense of smell of 60 women who were not taking the birth control pill at a variety of points in their menstrual cycles. He found that the women’s sense of smell was most sensitive at the exact time they were most fertile, which was when they were ovulating. The same women were then put on birth control pills for three months and retested. Caruso discovered that the increased sense of smell previously seen during ovulation was gone.
While it is already unpleasant to know that hormonal birth control can change a natural process inherent to our enjoyment of life, the impact extends far greater than the basic results when you consider the scientific tie between smell and libido. The areas of the brain that control ovaries and sense of smell are in close proximity to each other in the brain. Researchers have found that some women born without a sense of smell actually experience no activity at all in their ovaries.
Furthermore, science has proven that human beings choose their partners based on pheromones. While you might not know you are drawn to someone due to their smell, your nose is picking up receptors that tell you if the person you are with will make a good mate for conceiving, which is typically someone genetically dissimilar to yourself. Craig Roberts, a lecturer of Psychology at the University of Newcastle, conducted a study of odor preferences across 100 women, and found those who were taking hormonal birth control were actually drawn to genetically similar mates instead. The devastating results of this are infertility issues and a feeling of being less attracted to your mate when you stop taking the pill. Therefore, it seems that if you have hopes of conceiving someday, hormonal birth control is not the optimal choice for you today.