Inducing Lactation Medical Concerns
What is Prolactin?
Prolactin (PRL) is a pituitary hormone that stimulates breast milk production in women after childbirth. It also supports the immune system, mental health, and metabolism in both sexes.
Nonpregnant women 4-23 ng/mL (mcg/L)
Pregnant women 34-386 ng/mL (mcg/L)
In women, prolactin slightly varies depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, levels increase and can reach up to 20x the normal values before childbirth. 
What Does Changing Your Prolactin Levels Do?
Prolactin levels rise during pregnancy in response to estrogen stimulation, and they can get 10-20 times higher than usual (up to 500 ng/mL). 
Once the nursing begins, suckling becomes the primary stimulus for prolactin secretion and maintains milk production; nipple and breast stimulation cause prolactin spikes during breastfeeding. 
Additional causes for high prolactin levels include :
- Pituitary tumors (prolactinomas)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Medicines given for depression, psychosis, and high blood pressure
- Herbs, including fenugreek, fennel seeds, and red clover
- Irritation of the chest wall (from surgical scars, shingles, or even a too-tight bra)
- Stress or exercise (usually excessive or extreme)
- Certain foods
- Nipple stimulation
Elevated prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) can reduce fertility and libido.
High levels of prolactin in women may also cause:
- Irregular cycles/fertility issues
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful or uncomfortable intercourse 
- Hot flashes 
Some couples practice ABF in order to strengthen their relationship. Read for yourself a few ANR testimonials and stories or watch videos of couples practicing adult breastfeeding. (warning:NSFW)
Reach out to others by using our ANR/ABF online communities list page to seek others who are in this lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Inducing Lactation
Can I use a TENS Unit to help induce lactation? (warning:NSFW)
Are there health concerns from breastfeeding or letting someone drink my milk?
It's perfectly fine to try another person's breast milk if you know their health history. Breast milk is a body fluid and therefore it's possible to transmit pathogens. The next biggest concern is Mastitis (warning:NSFW) which can be lessened with Lecithin and a proper latch technique (warning:NSFW). The Piercings and Lactation page (warning:NSFW) addresses this concern as well.
Are there health concerns from inducing lactation?
- Self Decode Labs: Prolactin Blood Test: Normal Range + High & Low Levels https://labs.selfdecode.com/blog/prolactin-blood-test
- ReproductiveFacts.org: Hyperprolactinemia (High Prolactin Levels)
- Very Well Health - Symptoms of High Prolactin Hormone Levels https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-prolactin-2616429