Causes of Low Milk Supply: The Roles of Estrogens, Progesterone, and Related External Factors

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Low milk supply (LMS) poses a significant challenge to exclusive and continued breastfeeding, affecting ∼10% to 15% of mothers. Milk production is intricately regulated by both endocrine and autocrine control mechanisms, with estrogens and progesterone playing pivotal roles in this process. In addition to endogenously produced hormones, external substances capable of interfering with normal hormonal actions, including phytoestrogens, mycoestrogens, synthetic estrogens, and hormonal contraceptives, can influence milk production. The effects of these extrinsic hormones on milk production may vary based on maternal body mass index. This comprehensive review examines the multifaceted causes of LMS, focusing on the involvement of estrogens, progesterone, and related external factors in milk production. Furthermore, it investigates the interplay between hormonal factors and obesity, aiming to elucidate the endocrine mechanisms underlying obesity-associated LMS. Insights from this review provide valuable perspectives for developing interventions to improve milk production and address the challenges associated with LMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100129
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date11 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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