Studies show the enormous influence of psychological stress on lactation. The incidence of pathologic milk stasis during the first weeks post partum as well as the incidence of puerperal mastitis seems to be increased by stress. This review quotes possible pathophysiological mechanisms that show a relationship between stress and the genesis of milk stasis and puerperal mastitis. A systematic search on studies on human as well as studies on animal was performed: First of all there was a stress induced change of the release of the hypothalamic-pituitary hormones oxytocin and prolactin with local changes in the lactating glandular tissue. Besides this, an increase in catecholamine and corticoid secretion indicates systemic and local immunosuppressive effects with the defence against pathogenetic agents for mastitis.
Keywords: Stress, breastfeeding, lactation, milk stasis, mastitis puerperalis
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