Male Lactation

The phenomenon of male lactation in humans has become more common in recent years due to the use of medications that stimulate a human male's mammary glands. Though human males have nipples, it is not so often understood that they also have mammary glands. Ordinarily the mammary tissue is low in volume and cannot be noticed. Under the appropriate hormonal stimulus -- the hormonal stimulus that nature provides to human females when they become pregnant and give birth -- the mammary glands of human males can also produce milk. The volume of milk produced is low relative to that of a lactating female.

Male lactation is most commonly caused by hormonal treatments given to men suffering from prostate cancer. Female hormones are used to retard the production of cancerous prostate tissue, but the same hormones also stimulate the mammary glands. Male-to-female transsexuals may also produce milk due to the hormones they take to reshape their bodies. Extreme stress combined with demanding physical activity and a shortage of food has also been known to cause male lactation. The phenomenon was first studied in survivors of the liberated Nazi concentration camps after World War II. Some American POWs returning from the Korean and Vietnam Wars also experienced male lactation.

It is also possible for males (and females) to induce lactation through constant massage and simulated 'sucking' of the nipple over a long period of time (months).

The phenomenon of male lactation occurs in some non-human species, and the lactating males may assist in the nursing of their infants. One species of fruit bat, the Dayak fruit bat (Dyacopterus spadiceus), is notable for this reason. According to several sources, male lactation and even nursing have occasionally been observed in humans.

References

  • Angier, Natalie; New York Times, February 24, 1994. Cr. J. Covey.
  • Francis, Charles M., et al; "Lactation in Male Fruit Bats," Nature, 367:691, 1994.
  • Fackelmann, K.A.; Science News, 145:148, 1994.
  • Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine G.M. Gould and W.L. Pyle [edit]

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_lactation

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Question: Can men breastfeed?

Answer:  Yes, in theory, men can breastfeed. Male breasts have milk ducts, and some mammary tissue. They also have oxytocin and prolactin, the hormones responsible for milk production. There have been reports of men who were able to produce milk through extensive breast and nipple stimulation, but no one knows whether the milk was of the same composition or quality as the kind women produce. Using a pump, or a feeding tube (a small silicone tube attached to a plastic bottle filled with formula) at his breast, he might be able to get a baby to latch on and suckle, but how long it would take to produce even drops of milk is anyone's guess.

 

 

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