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Producing Milk

Published: 23 de Abril de 2002
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I was wondering could females produce milk when they aren't pregnant? When can they start producing milk?
Signed: Producing Milk

Dear Producing Milk,

 

Yes it is possible for a woman to produce milk if she is not pregnant. Hormones drive the production of breast milk. Prolactin, a hormone created by the pituitary gland, makes breast milk. If you stimulate the breast enough to increase prolactin levels you will get milk.

Females most frequently begin producing milk when they are pregnant because they have increased prolactin levels during pregnancy. However the milk secretion does not begin until after birth when the baby starts to breast-feed. Women who adopt babies are capable of breast-feeding if they repeatedly nurse their infant or use a heavy-duty breast pump. The nerve endings in the nipples when stimulated in these ways, signal the pituitary gland to increase prolactin, which can lead to milk production. In these cases however, it is rare that the adoptive mother will produce enough milk for the baby and will have to supplement it with formula.

If a female is producing milk and not pregnant or attempting nursing, then the build up of prolactin is being caused by some other condition that is affecting the pituitary gland. In these cases, there is no exact age when this can occur. It may be wise to get yourself checked out by a physician if you are not pregnant and producing breast milk.  There are other hormone imbalances that could cause this and it is best to see a doctor who can check for these problems.

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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