Can you lactate without being pregnant?


Lactation is a process that is considered to be normal for a woman who has either given birth to a baby or is expecting. The term lactation could be defined as the process associated with the production of milk in the mammary glands of mammals. This particular article has aimed the process of lactation without being pregnant in case of human beings. The “lactation” is considered to be a natural phenomenon among pregnant women and mothers and is associated with the nursing of their babies with the aid of breast – feeding. The milk secretion from the mammary glands is caused by a hormone called oxytocin. The role of the hormone is to stimulate the contractions of the uterus and initiate lactation few days after the child is born.


Few eyebrows may be raised when we talk about lactation without being pregnant. Sometimes, it is seen that women lactate without being pregnant. Additionally, it may be mentioned that the hormones such as oxytocin are pituitary hormones, not ovarian hormones. Therefore, it is normal for women to lactate but, with the application of safe methods.

Possibility of lactation without getting pregnant

It is to be kept in mind that hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, etc. are responsible for the formation of milk in the mammary glands of human beings. According to medical science, consumption of supplements that complement these hormones will initiate the process of lactation in women. In such cases, pregnancy is not the principal factor that governs the production of milk in the mammary glands. Consumption of supplements may be a way of self – inducing lactation. However, sometimes irregular and sudden hormonal imbalance may also be the result of the initiation of lactation in women. Some of the conditions where some women may lactate without being pregnant are as follows –

  • It is not necessary that women will only lactate during breast – feeding. Sometimes, women may secrete milky white discharges from the mammary glands. This particular condition is termed as galactorrhea. This condition is not normal and gives the indication of an underlying problem that needs to be investigated. Galactorrhea may be caused due to abnormalities related to the pituitary glands or as a result of side effects from other medications. Infants and men may also experience this symptom during the rare circumstances. It is a fact that galactorrhea goes away on its own if addressed with proper medications.
  • One of the common reasons of lactations may be side effects from medicines consumed by women such as birth control pills, anti – depressants, etc.
  • Another potential cause of lactation without pregnancy is hypothyroidism. This condition is associated with the release of prolactin in quantities more than needed. This prolactin then causes lactation.
  • The presence of tumors in the pituitary glands cause lactation. Tumors tend to produce increased amounts of prolactin. This prolactin, in turn, produces milk.
  • Medical science states that nerve damage may cause lactation as well. Physical traumas of breasts can induce lactation.
  • Lactation may be the result of chronic kidney disease. The presence of high quantity of prolactin id the cause of lactation as the kidneys is not able to filter out the excess prolactin.
  • The spinal cord injuries may also cause lactation due to the stimulation of endocrine glands.
  • Consumption of certain herbs may induce lactation. These herbs are kelabat, cumin, fennel, anise seeds, etc.
  • Last but not the least, hormonal imbalance during miscarriage may be the potential cause of lactation without being pregnant.


It is always advisable to consult a physician if you lactate without being pregnant. You should consider seeking advice from the doctor if you notice any irregularities related to lactation once you have delivered birth to your child.

Possible remedies to irregular and untimely lactation are as follows –

  • If lactating as a result of side – effect of particular medication, consider changing it with the advice of the doctor.
  • If you are lactating as a consequence of the pituitary tumors, seek advice from the doctor, and you may have to start proper medication.
  • Galactorrhea induced lactation may be cured with the diagnosis of the underlying problem and applying the necessary medication.
  • Unknown causes of milk secretion without being pregnant may be due to excess build – up of hormone called prolactin. Medication such as cabergoline may cure this.