Human axillary secretions influence women's menstrual cycles: The role of donor extract of females

George Preti, Winnifred Berg Cutler, Celso Ramon Garcia, George R. Huggins, Henry J. Lawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Menstrual synchrony in human females has previously been demonstrated among women attending a predominantly female university as well as among women attending coeducational universities. In each of these studies, women who spent the most time together were most likely to show the menstrual synchrony. In this experiment, the possibility that substances in axillary secretions might mediate this effect was tested using a prospective, double-blind research design and a combined axillary extract from a group of female donors. Female subjects who reported themselves to have normal (29.5 ± 3 day) cycles were exposed to the axillary extracts or blank/ethanol for 10 to 13 weeks. Recipients of the axillary extracts showed a significant reduction in "days' difference in menses onset" relative to the donor cycle, no change was evident for recipients of blank/ethanol. These results demonstrate that constituents from the axillary region of donor females can shift the time of menstrual onset of another group to conform with the donors' cycle and that this effect can occur even in the absence of social contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-482
Number of pages9
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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