Can breastfeeding women have menopause-like symptoms?

After giving birth, a woman’s estrogen levels drop to lower than usual levels, and while they return to the normal range relatively quickly among women who are not breastfeeding, this hypoestrogenic state may continue in lactating women and cause menopause-like symptoms. The results of a new study comparing vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood changes in women who are or are not breastfeeding 3 and 6 weeks after giving birth are reported in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website until April 12, 2015.

The article “Application of the Estrogen Threshold Hypothesis to the Physiologic Hypoestrogenemia of Lactation” provides evidence of the impact of breastfeeding on symptoms related to low estrogen levels during the postpartum period. Whereas lactating women showed no differences in the prevalence of hot flashes than non-breastfeeding women, they were significantly more likely to have vaginal dryness, report coauthors Sanjay Agarwal, MD, (University of California, San Diego School of Medicine), Julie Kim, MD (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA), Lisa Korst, MD, PhD (Childbirth Research Associates, North Hollywood, CA), and Claude Hughes, MD, PhD (Quintiles, Inc., Morrisville, NC).


“The changes in vaginal lubrication secondary to low estrogen levels that can affect breastfeeding mothers may lead to discomfort on sexual intercourse,” says Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine. “Physicians should be aware of this problem, which may too often be minimized, and provide appropriate treatment, such as vaginal estrogen cream.”

About the Journal

Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, is an authoritative, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published 10 times per year in print and online. The Journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including the epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Breastfeeding Medicine website.

About the Publisher

Can breastfeeding women have menopause-like symptoms Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Women’s Health, Childhood Obesity, and Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.


Kathryn Ryan

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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

  Breastfeeding Medicine

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