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Are Your Hormones Unlocking Your "Super Smeller" Potential?

super smeller

Have you ever noticed how certain scents evoke strong emotions or memories? From the aroma of freshly baked cookies to the scent of a loved one's perfume, our sense of smell plays a powerful role in our daily lives. But did you know that your hormones may also influence your ability to detect and process odors? This article will explore the fascinating world of olfaction and how hormonal changes can turn you into a "super smaller."

The Science of Smell

Before delving into the connection between hormones and smell, let's first understand how our sense of smell works. Our olfactory system consists of specialized cells in the nasal cavity called olfactory receptors. These receptors detect airborne molecules from odorous substances and send signals to the brain, where they are processed and interpreted as specific smells.

Hormones and Olfaction

Research suggests that hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can affect our sense of smell. In women, hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can lead to changes in olfactory sensitivity. For example, studies have shown that women may experience a heightened sense of smell during certain phases of their menstrual cycle, particularly around ovulation when estrogen levels peak (1). Additionally, pregnancy is often associated with increased sensitivity to odors, which can contribute to nausea and food aversions commonly experienced during the first trimester (2). Similarly, hormonal changes during menopause may alter olfactory perception, leading to changes in smell sensitivity and preferences (3).

The "Super Smeller" Phenomenon

Some individuals possess an extraordinary ability to detect and identify odors with exceptional precision, earning them the title of "super smellers." While genetic factors and environmental influences play a significant role in this phenomenon, hormonal fluctuations may also contribute to heightened olfactory sensitivity in certain individuals. For example, a study published in Nature Neuroscience found that women tend to outperform men in odor detection tasks, particularly during ovulation when estrogen levels are elevated (4). Similarly, pregnant women often report increased sensitivity to smells, which may be attributed to hormonal changes during pregnancy (5).

The Impact of Hormonal Disorders

Hormonal disorders, such as thyroid dysfunction and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can also affect olfactory function. For instance, hypothyroidism, characterized by low thyroid hormone levels, has been linked to decreased olfactory sensitivity and impaired sense of smell (6). Similarly, women with PCOS may experience alterations in olfactory perception due to hormonal imbalances associated with the condition (7).


In conclusion, our sense of smell is intricately linked to our hormonal balance, with estrogen and progesterone playing key roles in olfactory function. Hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can influence smell sensitivity and perception, potentially leading to changes in odor detection and preferences. Moreover, hormonal disorders can disrupt olfactory function, affecting an individual's ability to detect and process odors. By better understanding the interplay between hormones and smell, we can appreciate the complex mechanisms underlying our sense of smell and its significance in our daily lives.


1. Doty, R. L., & Cameron, E. L. (2009). Sex differences and reproductive hormone influences on human odor perception. Physiology & behavior, 97(2), 213-228. [Link](

2. Cameron, E. L. (2007). Pregnancy and olfaction: a review. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 67. [Link](

3. Laska, M., & Seibt, A. (2002). Olfactory sensitivity for aliphatic esters in female subjects with and without eating disorders. Physiology & behavior, 75(3), 277-282. [Link](

4. Lundström, J. N., & Jones-Gotman, M. (2009). Romantic love modulates women's identification of men's body odors. Hormones and Behavior, 55(2), 280-284. [Link](

5. Lübke, K. T., Pause, B. M., & Ferstl, R. (2007). Pregnant women's odor perception is related to their stage of pregnancy. Chemical Senses, 32(8), 783-790. [Link](

6. Catana, I. C., & Chemosignal, M. (2017). Perception in hypothyroidism. Chemical Senses, 42(7), 533-541. [Link](

7. Doty, R. L., & Cameron, E. L. (2009). Sex differences and reproductive hormone influences on human odor perception. Physiology & behavior, 97(2), 213-228. [Link](


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