Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

PMS Health Center

Font Size

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Pheromone

WebMD Health News

April 7, 2000 (Atlanta) -- Women who are nervous, tense, or suffering from PMS might want to try snuggling up to a man -- preferably one who is hairy and hasn't showered recently. A new study indicates that women who sniff a chemical found in male skin and body hair can reduce nervousness, tension, and other negative feelings.

The study, published in a recent issue of Pschoneuroendocrinology, appears to confirm the existence of a chemical found on human skin that can change the mood and behavior of other people. And the chemical gains access to the brain through an organ previously believed to serve no function, according to the study's authors.

This type of chemical, known as a pheromone, is known to be important in the animal kingdom and is responsible for many aspects of animal sexual behavior. The finding that these chemicals also work in humans may lead to new drugs and a new type of drug-delivery system. In the meantime, it has led to a new drug company.

Human pheromones have been a subject of debate and research for decades. In order for a chemical to meet the definition of a pheromone, it not only has to have an effect on a person's nervous system, it must also alter their behavior. Pheromones are undetected by the people whom they affect.

"We definitely found that human beings communicate with each other with pheromones, just like any terrestrial animal, and they do it through the same organ that all these terrestrial animals have, which is a vomeronasal organ [VNO], which all human beings have," David L. Berliner, MD, an author of the study, tells WebMD.

Berliner, who is now president and CEO of Pherin Pharmaceuticals, says that when he was a professor of anatomy at the University of Utah, he took it for granted that the human VNO didn't perform any function. In humans, VNOs exist in small pits inside the nose, but they are very different from the parts of the nose that detect smells.

Berliner and colleagues at Pherin and the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City set out to see whether a substance called androstadienone would act as a pheromone on 40 women ages 20 to 45.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Woman with cramps
Causes and treatments.
portrait of thoughtful woman
Symptoms of this severe form of PMS.
woman with severe discomfort
When is it serious?
mineral water with chaste berry
Does evening primrose oil really work?
Woman with cramps
Pills with smiley faces
flat stomach
estrogen gene
Managing PMS Exercise And More
woman with severe discomfort
woman clutching at stomach
herbs in mortar and pestle