What is the term oxytocin?
The natural hormone oxytocin promotes uterine contractions during delivery and nursing after childbirth. The male and female reproductive systems as well as some elements of human behavior are also impacted.
Through contact, music, and movement, oxytocin is produced, which may strengthen our bonds with our loved ones.
The brain produces the hormone oxytocin, which the pituitary gland then releases into circulation. It is known as the “love medication” or “love hormone” since one of its primary purposes is to promote childbirth.
The uterine muscles are stimulated to contract by oxytocin, and prostaglandin synthesis is also stimulated, leading to increased uterine contractions. It is sometimes administered to laboring women to quicken the process. It promotes maternal bonding and aids in the movement of milk from the breast’s ducts to the nipple after birth. (Read Why MSG is bad).
Additionally, It is produced by our bodies during romantic and sexual arousal. It has gained the moniker “love hormone” and “cuddle hormone” as a result.
How to raise oxytocin levels
Postpartum depression symptoms have been associated with low levels. The effectiveness of administering it as a tablet or nasal spray to treat anxiety and depression has not yet been determined by researchers, however. That’s partly because this hormone has a difficult time crossing the blood-brain barrier. (Read How does Beta-Carotene work? What are the advantages?).
Exercise is a more promising natural method of increasing it. In one research, participants’ salivary oxytocin levels increased after high-intensity martial arts training. Additionally, it seems that music may boost oxytocin levels, particularly when group singing gives a sense of camaraderie.
Even the act of touching appears to increase its release. This hormone is increased and a person feels better after receiving a massage, snuggling, making love, or a hug.
A naturally occurring hormone called oxytocin controls important parts of both the male and female reproductive systems, such as nursing and childbirth, as well as certain aspects of behavior. It is produced by your brain, but it is stored and released into your circulation by your posterior pituitary gland. (Read about Cinnamon: Health benefits, Importance, and nutrition).
Hormones are substances that communicate with your organs, muscles, and other tissues via your blood to coordinate various bodily operations. These messages instruct your body on what to do and when.
Your brain’s hypothalamus is responsible for controlling processes including digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Your pituitary gland is a tiny, pea-sized endocrine gland that is situated underneath your hypothalamus at the base of your brain. (Read about Parkinson’s Disease).
Synthetic (made) versions of it, such as Syntocinon® and Pitocin®, are used by medical professionals to enhance contractions or to initiate labor if it hasn’t begun spontaneously. Additionally, medical professionals employ synthetic oxytocin to hasten placenta delivery (the third stage of labor) and lessen the possibility of severe bleeding (postpartum hemorrhage).
What is oxytocin’s purpose?
It has two major physiological effects: it stimulates uterine contractions during labor and delivery and stimulates breast tissue contractions to promote breastfeeding after childbirth.
Additionally serving as a chemical messenger in the brain, oxytocin plays a significant part in a variety of social and behavioral aspects of human connection, such as:
- sex arousal.
- romance-based attachment
- Parent-child ties.
Your brain responds to it in a variety of ways. Scientists are investigating its function of it in a number of situations, such as:
- An autism spectrum condition.
- trauma-related stress disorder (PTSD).
- contractions of the uterus with oxytocin
The body (often the head) of your unborn child pressing on your cervix during labor stimulates your pituitary gland, which releases oxytocin into your bloodstream. Nerve impulses from this stimulation pass to your brain. Your uterus receives oxytocin, which causes contractions to start.
Your pituitary gland then releases additional oxytocin as a result of these uterine contractions, increasing the contractions’ strength and frequency. Prostaglandins, a class of lipids with hormone-like properties, are also produced more readily by it, which speeds up labor and intensifies contractions. You may fully finish a vaginal birth thanks to this. (Read about Dopamine Agonists).
Lactation and oxytocin
It stimulates breastfeeding after delivery by stimulating the myoepithelial cells in your breasts’ alveolar ducts to constrict. Your breast tissue moves milk as a result of these contractions.
Its secretion enables the milk to flow when your baby suckers at your breast, allowing them to eat. Your pituitary gland maintains producing it as long as your baby is sucking. The secretion of it ends after your baby finishes eating, and it won’t resume until the following feeding.
oxytocin in those who were born as males
It contributes to ejaculation in those who were assigned male at birth (AMAB). In order to propel sperm and semen forward for ejection, the hormone constricts the vas deferens. The synthesis of testosterone, a sex hormone, in the testes is similarly impacted by oxytocin.
How are the levels of oxytocin managed?
One of the few hormones with a positive feedback loop is oxytocin. This implies that the acts caused by it release cause your pituitary gland to produce more oxytocin.
The majority of hormones have negative feedback loops, which means that when they are released, your body produces less of the hormone. (Read Dysentery from Cryptosporidiosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment).
Your pituitary is stimulated to produce oxytocin when you have uterine contractions during delivery because your unborn baby is pressing on your cervix. Up until your child’s birth, the discharge will continue. Your baby’s sucking triggers the production of oxytocin by your pituitary during lactation and breastfeeding (chestfeeding), which forces milk through your breast tissue. When your infant stops nursing, the leak resumes and continues until it does.
How can its deficiency manifest itself?
It’s uncommon to have levels that are lower than usual.
Low levels may impede milk ejection after delivery and cease uterine contractions during labor. Panhypopituitarism, a disorder when all hormone levels your pituitary gland produces are below normal, is the most frequent reason for lower-than-normal levels, even though it’s unusual.
Depressive symptoms and autism spectrum disease have both been related to low levels. The relationship between it and various illnesses, as well as the possibility of employing synthetic oxytocin as a cure, are currently being studied by scientists.
What occurs when its concentrations are high?
It is very uncommon for women designated female at birth (AFAB) to have higher-than-normal oxytocin levels, which is referred to as oxytocin toxicity. Because there is insufficient room in the uterus to accommodate the growing uterine muscle mass (hypertrophy) as a consequence of the hyperactive uterus, pregnancy is restricted.
High levels of it have been associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia in patients who were born male (BPH). The prostate, a walnut-sized organ consisting of glandular and muscle tissue, enlarges as a result of BPH. (Read Cholecystitis – Symptoms and causes).
Part of the urethra, the tube that expels urine and sperm from the body, is encircled by the prostate. BPH might make it challenging to urinate (urinate). Over the age of 60, it affects more than half of those who were born male.