Oxytocin is a natural hormone and especially important for women. The deficiency affects women both physiologically and psychologically. It has an important role in the formation of maternal instinct, breastfeeding, selective social bonding and sexual pleasure. In addition, love, loyalty, and happiness are the main sources of positive emotions. This hormone can be enhanced by a healthy diet, yoga, meditation, listening to music, and aromatherapy. It can also be used as a supplement medication with the advice of a doctor. Recent studies have shown that this valuable hormone is promising in the treatment of many psychological disorders, especially autism.
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What is oxytocin?
Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland to influence behavior and physiology. It is also referred to as love or adherence hormone, as it has an important role in bonding and social behavior of couples and mothers and infants. It is generally known as femininity or birth hormone, but it also undertakes some tasks in men, even if it is not as effective as women.
What does oxytocin do?
- Oxytocin, consisting of nine amino acids, acts as a hormone in the bloodstream and as a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the central nervous system.
- It plays an important role as helping contraction of the uterus during birth process.
- During the breastfeeding, it promotes lactation by moving the milk into the breast.
- It helps male reproduction.
- Balances and regulates feelings and behaviors. For example, affects the increase of positive feelings such as love and happiness.
- It can rapidly heal wounds due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- People with high levels of oxytocin hormone have a higher pain threshold. The fact that women can experience a painful process like normal birth is a proof that oxytocin can increase the pain threshold.
When is oxytocin secreted?
This hormone, which has a very important role in women, is naturally secreted in the body to facilitate fertilization during the sexual intercourse, the act of giving birth by pregnant women, and the process of breastfeeding.
How is oxytocin production controlled?
The production of oxytocin is controlled by a positive feedback mechanism. This mechanism allows the release of oxytocin when a trigger occurs. The hormone then causes a movement in the body such as milk or birth contractions, which indicate more oxytocin production. The feedback cycle continues until the activities such as birth or breastfeeding are completed.
Effects of oxytocin hormone
Oxytocin and love
Oxytocin has a significant effect on establishing monogamous relationships. It is thought to increase the rate of romantic attraction and attachment, especially in men, to help support loyalty. Apart from the psychological reasons, low levels of this hormone are assumed to be an important factor in men who have attachment problems.
Oxytocin and sexuality
This hormone allows men to have sexual interest in women. The male facilitates erection capacity, provides excitement and is secreted too much during orgasm.
The effect of oxytocin on pregnancy
While having sexual intercourse, some neural stimuli in the woman’s genitals reach hypothalamus and the hypothalamus sends oxytocin to the uterus of the woman. Thus, the uterus begins to contract in a rhythmical manner and draws the sperm into the uterus as a vacuum. Since birth canal is acidic, sperms die here in a short time.
However, the inside of the uterus is alcoholic, so the sperm can live here longer and the possibility of fertilizing the ovum increases.
Oxytocin hormone is a hormone that affects female mental health in general. Therefore, it contributes to the more positive mood of women in pregnancy. The level of oxytocin increases during pregnancy and helps the expectant mother to be calm, relaxed, and tends to sleep.
Oxytocin facilitates normal birth
Oxytocin hormone provides a strong contraction in the uterus of the pregnant woman during delivery. When birth begins, a neural message occurs while the baby’s head stretching the cervix and this message reaches hypothalamus. With this message, hypothalamus produces oxytocin and increases the strength of contractions.
Thus, there is a sufficient expansion of the birth canal and cervix that allows normal delivery to occur. The smooth birth of the baby depends on this expansion. In addition, this hormone protects women against postpartum hemorrhage.
In cesarean deliveries, the secretion of this hormone has no effect on the delivery process. In addition, cesarean deliveries cause psychological disturbances such as postpartum depression in women while it is easier in women who give birth normally.
Oxytocin facilitates breastfeeding
After the baby is born, the oxytocin hormone promotes breastfeeding by moving milk to the breast. When the baby begins to suck on the breast, the hormone helps baby to be fed by providing the milk production. At the same time oxytocin is secreted into the brain to stimulate the production of more oxytocin. When the baby is finished feeding, the hormone production stops.
Oxytocin enhances relationships
It can increase confidence and generosity and reduce the fear of social treason in people, especially when used as a supplementary medicine. The explanation of emotional events is an indicator of trust in people. People who use oxytocin, share details and stories more emotionally while describing a negative event.
It also increases the ability of empathy in healthy men. Some researchers argue that oxytocin has a general healing effect on all social feelings, such as jealousy.
Oxytocin reduces stress
Neurologists have found that stressful or fearful conditions or events induce oxytocin and cause oxytocin release in both the central nervous system and the bloodstream, which reduces stress and anxiety. This hormone is thought to play a role in regulating the stress response by lowering the levels of cortisol causing stress.
Cognitive benefits of oxytocin
Oxytocin hormone, taken from outside as a drug, can increase the memory of social information while reducing bad memories. For example, men who are given oxytocin have a strong memory of recognizing faces.
Do men have oxytocin hormone?
The natural oxytocin hormone has less function in men. It plays a role in the movement of sperm and is thought to affect testosterone production in testes. In addition, according to the studies, men are using the oxytocin hormone as a supplement can be more balanced in social relations and general mental health.
What does oxytocin deficiency cause to?
Oxytocin deficiency has very important negative effects especially in women. It may complicate normal birth and prevent milk production reflex and make breastfeeding difficult. Low oxytocin levels may cause depression. In males, it can cause problems such as reproduction, attachment and loyalty.
Oxytocin levels may be high in males in some cases and causing to benign prostate enlargement, resulting with urinary complaints.
Oxytocin deficiency symptoms
- Feeling unhappiness and depression
- Stress and anxiety
- Uneasiness, irritability and tension
- Infertility in women (may also develop in the high level of oxytocin)
These symptoms can be experienced more intensively especially in women. Symptoms may be a sign of other conditions, so you should not hesitate to take a hormone test.
Diseases associated with oxytocin deficiency
- Mood disorders
- Common anxiety disorder
- Social phobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
- Alcohol-substance abuse
- Suicidal tendency
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
According to the researches, the oxytocin system disorders were found in almost all psychiatric disorders. The results of these studies have led to experiments in which oxytocin has a healing effect on these disorders and promising results have been observed.
Evidence of efficacy of oxytocin alone or in combination with other therapies may pioneer in the treatment of disorders such as autism, substance abuse, personality disorders, anorexia nervosa in which existing pharmacological therapies are insufficient.
How to increase oxytocin?
When oxytocin deficiency is detected, drug therapy is used to increase the level to normal levels. Oxytocin drugs are used in tablet, spray and ampoule forms.
- Injectible solution form is preferred in labor induction or to assist in delivery and to control postpartum hemorrhage.
- Injectible solution form is used to stop or treat bleeding after abortion or to terminate pregnancy. It is injected intravenously in the hospital environment and other vital signs and contractions are closely monitored. According to this observation, the doctor decides the dose and duration of oxytocin to be given to the patient.
- At birth, the baby’s heart rate is monitored by fetal heart monitor to assess the effects of oxytocin on the baby. In some instances oxytocin may be placed into the cervix in tablet form.
- Oxycin as a supplement is used in tablet and also in spray form. Particularly, it is preferred to have problems in social relations and behaviors or in some psychiatric disorders since the spray form directly affects the brain. Pastille is also available but the effect is small.
Do not start, stop or change the dose of any medication without consulting your doctor.
Side effects of oxytocin hormone
- Rash, difficulty in breathing, swollen like allergic reactions in face, lip, tongue or throat
- Fast, slow or unequal heart rate
- Excessive bleeding after childbirth
- Headache, speech impairment, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, and loss of sodium in the body, which can lead to indecisiveness.
- Headache, blurred vision, tinnitus in the neck or ears, anxiety and increased blood pressure that can lead to nosebleeds
- Nausea, vomiting
- Nasal discharge, sinus pain or irritation
- Memory problems
If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should seek immediate medical attention.
The above is not a complete list of side effects of oxytocin uptake. If oxytocin is used for any reason, detailed information from the doctor should be obtained. In addition, the doctor should be told if all medical conditions, especially the drugs used and an allergic body is involved.
Warnings about oxytocin intake
You should inform your doctor if you have the following conditions or conditions:
- Genital herpes
- Heart rhythm disorder
- Cervical cancer
- A serious infection in the uterus
- Five or more pregnancies
- Probability of a difficult birth due to small pelvis
- A surgery performed in the uterus or the womb in the past
- Pregnancy less than 37 weeks
Tell all healthcare professionals (including nurses, dentists and pharmacists) that you have received oxytocin. The fatal side effects and complications such as too much water in the body, high blood pressure, cerebral hemorrhage, uterine rupture, and for many reasons unborn baby deaths were occurred due to oxytocin intake.
How is oxytocin hormone increased?
- Sexual intercourse: Sex and orgasm increase oxytocin levels significantly. In addition, stimulation of the nipple in women provides oxytocin hormone secretion.
- Being in love: The most important reason for this hormone is called love hormone is that oxytocin production increases with love. Coupling and touching each other, holding hands increase the level of this hormone, while strengthening the bond between them.
- Communicating: One of the most important reasons of misery is loneliness. Research has shown that communication and socialization increase this hormone.
- Fun activities and positive experiences: The fact that people are engaged with the activities they enjoy is one of the factors that increase the oxytocin level. Factors such as image, smell, or sound that lead to past memories of happiness in the past and listening to calm music, dancing, nature walks, the smell of toasted bread, etc. especially effective.
- Exercising: Walking, swimming, breathing exercises, physical activities such as meditation and yoga also help to increase oxytocin levels.
- Massaging: The increase in oxytocin levels is associated with relief, so massaging increases the secretion of this hormone.
Dreaming, making favor, feeding a pet, taking a warm shower, a delicious meal, art therapy and aromatherapy are ways to help increase the release of oxytocin.
Natural foods that increase the hormone oxytocin
- Foods containing protein: red meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk and dairy products, beans, legumes such as lentils, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, peanut butter.
- Fruits and vegetables: Especially green leafy vegetables and fruits such as bananas, apples, strawberries.
- Foods containing Omega-3: Tuna, sardines, salmon fish, nuts, olives.
- Bitter foods: bitter food and nutrients, such as bitter red pepper and fenugrek
- Cereals: All cereals, such as wheat, oats, rye and rice.
- Water and herbal teas: drinking at least eight glasses of water a day can help secrete this hormone. Caffeine and lemon balm, chamomile herbal teas are also effective.
- Some vitamins: B6, B2, B1, vitamin D and vitamin A
- and dark chocolate