Lactation can be described as secretion of milk from the breast (mammary glands). It normally occurs after child birth, where the just born infant gets the required nutrition from mother’s milk. Prolactin is a hormone that is responsible for production of milk from the mammary glands. Generally the level of Prolactin hormone increases after parturition (after child birth), or during the last months of pregnancy. Prolactin sends message to the brain to stimulate the mammary glands and initiate lactation.
Secretion of breast milk only after childbirth is not always the case. Lactation (secretion of milk) without pregnancy in some women is possible between menarche and menopause, meaning in their childbearing age. Though an embarrassing situation, secretion of breast milk without pregnancy in most cases is harmless. There are many causes that can initiate lactation without being pregnant.
What Causes Lactation Without Pregnancy?
- It may be a natural change occurring in a woman’s body at certain point in her life. This change is specifically related to lactation promoting hormone called prolactin hormone.
- Prolactin may also increase due to certain drugs that a woman is taking. In such cases, lactation ceases soon after the medication is stopped.
- An early miscarriage, which can be misinterpreted as painful menses can be responsible for secretion of milk.
- A tumor in pituitary gland may also increase the production of prolactin hormone.
- Stimulation of nipples has been known to initiate lactation. In fact this method is followed since olden days where a non pregnant woman nurses some other woman’s baby.
- There are natural herbs that can also induce lactation in a woman who is not pregnant.
How To Induce Lactation Without Being Pregnant?
By following certain techniques it is possible to stimulate the mammary glands to secrete milk. The best and easiest way is to dry breast feed. Suckling the nipples very often, say six to eight times for at least 10 to 20 minutes each time may initiate production of milk from the breast.
Since the mammary glands are controlled by brain, if you are able to convince your brain for secretion of milk, your body will respond to the signals sent by the brain and produce milk. If the brain perceives stimulation of nipples and areola for sexual purpose it will respond accordingly, in the same way if you think as a nursing mother think to feed her child, the brain will respond accordingly. If dry nursing is not possible, you can still induce lactation with massaging the nipple and areola.
Use Of Herbs For Stimulating Lactation
Certain herbs are known to cause lactation even without being pregnant. These herbs are Fenugreek, blessed thistle, hops, goats rue etc. These herbs are to be taken in their required dose to increase the milk supply. However, many herbs when taken alone may cause nausea or stomach disturbances. For example fenugreek when taken alone may cause vomiting and nausea, but when it is taken with milk thistle, nausea and bad taste caused by fenugreek is curtailed. The other option is to take the herb after food. This will cause less irritation in the stomach.
Though lactation without pregnancy in most cases is harmless, it is necessary to talk to your doctor regarding this. Your doctor may advise you to do certain blood hormone tests to rule out any organic causes.