QS Study

Milk Ejection Reflex

Mechanism of milk ejection

Milk ejection reflex is a neuroendocrine reflex. It is a regular reflex in a lactating woman elicited by perceptible stimulation of the nipple, resulting in the release of milk from the glands of the breast.

  • Infant sucking at the breast,
  • Stimulation at touch receptor which is plentiful in the breast especially around the nipple.

Transmission of a signal from the touch receptors through a sensory nerve to the oxytocin neuron in paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei in the hypothalamus. This reflex requires intact nerve connections from nipple to hypothalamus and release of the hormone oxytocin from the posterior pituitary into the bloodstream.

  • A release of oxytocin,
  • Oxytocin is carried in the blood to the breast,
  • Contraction of myoepithelial cells,
  • Milk ejection.

In lactating women, genital stimulation and emotional stimulation also produce oxytocin secretion, sometimes causing milk to spurt from the breasts. This problem is caused by a hormonal release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes the milk to be forcefully released from the alveoli (milk-making glands).