Volatile constituents of human vaginal secretions

George R. Huggins, George Preti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Vaginal secretions were serially studied for 44 ovulatory cycles from 12 patients by means of combined gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry to identify small organic volatile compounds. In 10 of these cycles ovulation was documented with plasma radioimmunoassays for progesterone, estrogens, and LH. These secretions contain a complex mixture of acids, alcohols, hydroxyketones, and aromatic compounds. Lactic acid, acetic acid, and urea were found to be present in all patients and underwent sharp cyclical variations in concentration with maxima in all patients occurring at midcycle. Small-chain, volatile C2-C5 aliphatic acids which have been shown to induce mating behavior in male rhesus monkeys were found in only four patients. In these patients the above acids were found predominantly at midcycle and during the luteal phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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