Causes of High Estrogen in Postpartum and Effects on Breast Milk

Causes of High Estrogen in Postpartum and Effects on Breast Milk

Causes of High Estrogen in Postpartum and Effects on Breast Milk

You had been waiting anxiously for the birth of your little bundle of joy. The moment has arrived. But with it, you have started to feel stressed and fatigued. This could be the hormonal imbalance at play, which could further affect postpartum milk production. 

Hormonal balance is crucial to the production of breast milk. Your breasts start getting ready to produce milk during the latter half of pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations induce changes in breasts during this time. As a result, ducts and glandular tissue grow and expand. Breast milk production starts in the second trimester. But this milk is thick and pale yellow in color. After the childbirth, more milk is produced, which gradually changes color and density. 

Hormones and Lactation: Effects of High Estrogen on Milk Production

Breast milk production is an interplay of hormones. Prolactin, estrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin are the key hormones that help with milk production in breasts. While estrogen and progesterone are crucial to milk production in female breasts, these hormones increase the number and size of milk ducts during a pregnancy. 

Higher levels of estrogen and progesterone help prevent too much of milk production during pregnancy. However, the hormones decrease after childbirth, resulting in the production of more milk in the female’s body. There is a significant decline in the progesterone level while estrogen drops as well. But the levels of estrogen are higher than that of progesterone. 

What Causes High Estrogen Levels

Both estrogen and progesterone are required to keep you calm. This could trigger the onset of postpartum depression. When you start breastfeeding, your menstrual cycles are almost nonexistent for a year. That means there is no ovulation. In that case, there is literally no progesterone production in the body, making you prone to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Stress affects ovulation, which could further affect the production of progesterone. When the progesterone level goes down but estrogen does not drop as quickly, the hormonal disturbance could be accompanied by unwanted symptoms.  This includes heavy or painful menstruation, irregular period, bloating, weight gain, hair loss, uterine fibroids, depression, anxiety, low libido, mood swings, and fatigue. Not only this, but the hormonal imbalance could also affect milk production.

Effects of High Estrogen on Milk Production

Estrogen dominance might impede milk supply in breasts by blocking the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland. In some women, mammary gland cells become unresponsive to prolactin due to higher estrogen circulation in the blood. 

The sudden drop in progesterone, which is the mood-elevating hormone, might cause hormonal imbalance, especially as the estrogen levels still remain high. As a result, the new mom is faced with mood swings from hormonal disturbance. This may further affect the secretion of milk in breasts.

Luckily, nutritional intervention can help create hormonal balance in a new mother’s body. With that, you can bring down estrogen levels. With a drop in estrogen, prolactin hormone takes charge and stimulates breast milk secretion.

So the whole idea is to heal the gut, detoxify the body, and balance hormones. With postpartum nutritional intervention, your hormones may return to normal, helping you feel relaxed and healed. 


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