Human Vaginal Secretions: Volatile Fatty Acid Content

Science  27 Dec 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4170, pp. 1217-1219
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4170.1217


Vaginal samples (682) were collected by a tampon method from 50 healthy young women. Samples were analyzed by gas chromatography. The volatile aliphatic acids increased during the late follicular phase of the menstrual cycle and declined progressively during the luteal phase. Women on oral contraceptives had lower amounts of volatile acids and did not show any rhythmic changes in acid content during the menstrual cycle. These same substances possess sex-attractant properties in other primate species.