Treatment to Suppress Lactation



One of the important and challenging periods in the life of a woman is post-partum period, the main events of which are breast-feeding and increasing liability for the evolution of the child and his health. Enlargement and functional status of the lacteal glands is controlled and initiated by neurohumoral body system, which includes: pituitary, ovaries, adrenal glands and thyroid gland.

Neurohumoral system’s regulation is conducted by dint of neuro-humoral signals in a body –the transmitters. The transmitters have an effect on the formation and secretion of the pituitary hormones. In turn, these pituitary hormones have an affect the activity of the peripheral endocrine glands. The ductus lactiferi are formed under the influence of estrogen across pregnancy. The proliferation of the lacteal glands’ glandular tissue comes under the influence of progesterone.


The indications for the lactation suppress

In some cases, you need a complete delactation. The indications may appear during postpartum period (excessive breast tenderness, various forms of the lactation mastitis, stillbirth, and a new mother’s critical condition, when breastfeeding is undesirable or contraindicated) as well as after artificial abortion, performed heavily pregnant primarily.

There are absolute and relative indications for the lactation suppress.

The absolute indications for suppression of lactation are:

–          stillbirth;

–          immature birth;

–          drug and alcohol abuse;

–          cancer, found across pregnancy or during the postpartum period, requiring chemotherapy and radiation therapy;

–          herpetic rash on the nipple;

–          white plague’s active form;

–          HIV infection;

–          children’s galactosemia


The relative contraindications to breastfeeding are:

–          severe extragenital pathology;

–          infiltrative or purulent mastitis;

–          the nipples’ abnormal development;

–          abnormal changes of the lacteal glands (gigantomastia, mastopathy, cicatrical changes, suppurative mastitis in past medical history, etc.);

–          a woman’s refusal from breast-feeding.



Do I need to suppress lactation in the case of mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation of one or both lacteal glands that manifests as severe pain during breastfeeding, swelling, redness of the lacteal glands and fever. Typically, if a woman suffers from mastitis, she experiences discomfort and pain during breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is possible in the case of catarrhal mastitis only, that is, at the very beginning of the disease.


In the case of purulent mastitis, the breastfeeding is forbidden, because breast milk contains mass of bacteria in the invalid lacteal gland that can harm a baby. The breastfeeding is possible after expression and pasteurization of breast milk from the healthy lacteal gland. The invalid lacteal gland has to be expressed carefully.

Milk, expressed from the invalid lacteal gland is not suitable for feeding even after heating. Many experts think that the retardation or complete suppression has the beneficial effect on the course of mastitis, contributing to the healing of a diseased woman. So, if a doctor insists on suppress lactation – it is worth to change a baby over the artificial feeding.


What is the treatment to suppress lactation?

For the moment, the pharmaceutical drugs only can provide safe and effective suppression of lactation. Such tired methods as the lacteal glands’ bandaging (tight bandaging), decrease of the fluid‘s intake, etc. are strictly contraindicated due to their inefficiency and high risk of complications.

Nowadays, the pharmaceutical drugs for lactation suppress, the effect of which is based on the suppression of the lactation hormone’s production. The lactation hormone is the hypophyseal hormone, which stimulates milk production. The main medical preparations of this group are:


  • Bromocriptine – the medication that suppresses the production of lactation hormone by the pituitary gland that stops lactation. Bromocriptine is available in tablets of 2.5 mg.

The drug’s dose depends on the initial level of milk production (the more intense lactation – the greater dose of the drug is prescribed). The course of drug’s administration is from 3 days to 2 weeks. If there are side effects (headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting), the medication is not discontinued. Bromocriptine has contraindications, so self-treatment is not recommended.

  • Cabergolinum (Dostinex) is a powerful preparation that stops the production of lactation hormone by the pituitary gland and causes suppression of lactation. Dostinex is available in 0.5 mg. tablets. To suppress lactation Dostinex has o be administrated per half a tablet every 12 hours for 2 days. The medication has side effects and contraindications, so before using this medication you should check with your doctor.


Is there a chance to recover breast-feeding after suppress lactation’s treatment ?


The chances to recover the normal breast-feeding are inversely proportional to the period of delactation. The longer the period of lactation suppression is – the harder to “return milk”. As a general rule, suppression of lactation during 1-3 weeks (the period necessary to remove most of the causes, due to which a woman has to suppress lactation) has only a temporary inhibitory effect on the process. In this case lactation is recovered during the next few weeks after discontinuation of the drug.



What should I know about suppress lactation after the lactation period?


Because the lacteal glands are “raised by” the needs of a baby delicately (that is: the fewer the child eats, the less milk is produced by the lacteal glands, and vice versa) reducing a baby’s “interest” in breastfeeding is usually accompanied by a progressive decrease of quantity of milk, produced by the lacteal glands. Usually breast milk disappears, when a baby gives up the breast.

Intentional weaning (abrupt ablactation) is not desirable, because of baby’s and mother’s health injury. Instead of intentional weaning, it is better to try to get a baby used to solid food for a few months, keeping morning and night breast-feeding only. Having experienced the benefits of solid food, a child will give up the breast himself soon. Most children give up the breast themselves at the age of 1.5-2.5 years old.

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