A new study appearing in the December 6 edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that women might be able to tell whether or not a man has a sexually transmitted disease (STD) based on his smell.
According to JoNel Aleccia of MSNBC.com’s Vitals column, the study — led by Mikhail Moshkin, professor at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia — found that gonorrhea-infected men had a “putrid” odor to young women asked to participate in the study.
“The off-putting scent may be subtle, more a chemical warning than a blast of body odor, but it definitely has an effect, according to the experiment conducted by Moshkin and his colleagues,” she added.
MyHealthNewsDaily Staff Writer Rachael Rettner says that Moshkin’s team collected armpit sweat from 34 Russian men between the ages of 17 and 25. Of the subjects, 13 had gonorrhea, 5 had suffered from the STD at one time but had since recovered, and the other 16 were healthy.
Each man wore a tee-shirt with cotton pads in the armpits for one hour. The scientists then placed the pads in glass vials and has 18 healthy women to smell the vials, rate the pleasantness of the odor on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the most pleasing smell), and choose an adjective from a list — including “putrid,” “floral,” “minty” and “fruity” — to describe the smell.
“The women rated the infected men’s sweat as less than half as pleasant as the healthy men’s sweat,” Rettner wrote. “And the women said about 50 percent of men who had gonorrhea had sweat that smelled ‘putrid,’ whereas only 32 percent of the healthy men were described as putrid. And while 26 percent of the healthy men smelled ‘floral,’ just 10 percent of those with gonorrhea were described that way.”
“The researchers speculated that the men’s immune systems might be involved because they found a link between the concentration of disease-fighting proteins called antibodies in the men’s saliva and how pleasant their sweat smelled to women: the higher the antibody concentration, the lower the score,” she continued, adding that the researchers said that those suffering from STDs shouldn’t worry, because the body odor caused by the condition “can be improved by deodorants.”
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