Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex and Lac Humanum

Similia 25(2); December 2013; 24-28
Prolactin and oxytocin, which are both secreted due to nipple and areola stimulation, are the two primary hormones associated with lactogenesis. The former promotes secretory activity at the cellular level; that is, it 'makes milk' by being released in a gradual wave (from the anterior pituitary) that peaks after the beginning of a breastfeed. It is, however, inhibited by dopamine, so dopamine levels must drop in order for prolactin levels to rise.

Oxytocin, on the other hand, 'makes milk available'. That is, oxytocin is released (from the posterior pituitary) in a pulsatile manner, and primarily governs what is known as the letdown or milk ejection reflex. While this reflex may be pleasurable or painful depending on individual sensitivity, it is universally associated with a feeling of turgescence in the breast followed by a steady flow of milk.

However, in a small percentage of mothers, a sudden feeling of flatness or sadness heralds the letdown. This is referred to as a dysphoric milk ejection reflex [D-MER], and is thought to be due to the temporary drop in dopamine, which is necessary to allow for the maximisation of prolactin.

When used in low potency, Lac humanum is a sarcode that addresses this hormone imbalance.

KEYWORDS: Dopamine; oxytocin; prolactin; milk ejection reflex, D-MER; Lac humanum; sarcode

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Patricia Hatherly

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