Formation of oxytocin:

The hormone oxytocin is a hormone found in the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland (Neurohypophysis), which as a peptide hormone belongs to the neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are hormones formed in nerve cells. Oxytocin is produced in special nuclei (nucleus = core) of the hypothalamus (Paraventricular nucleus, supraoptic nucleus) produced by nerve cells and from there bound to a carrier substance to the hypophyseal posterior lobe (Neurophysin I.) where the hormone is stored. When stimulated, the hormone is released from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland.
The oxytocin receptor is on the cell surface.

Regulation of oxytocin

In women, this hormone is released during or after pregnancy by suction on the nipple and by mechanical pressure on the uterus (uterus) and the sheath (vagina) distributed. The mechanical stimulus is converted into a contraction movement of the uterus via the release of oxytocin.

In this way, with the help of the hormone, labor and delivery are initiated and the baby is expelled. The mechanical suction stimulus also causes oxytocin to be released. This oxytocin in turn acts on special muscle cells in the mammary gland (Myoepithelial cells), so that the hormones contract and milk is emptied. This entire process initiated by the hormone is known as the milk ejection reflex.

Read more at: Oxytocin deficiency


The hormone Oxytocin is used in women in or after pregnancy the milk injection (Milk ejection) and the induction of labor as well as the subsequent course of delivery. Men also have oxytocin, although the function is not fully understood. A role of the hormone in the emptying of semen is discussed (ejaculation).
In both sexes, the hormone has other influences, including on blood pressure. Oxytocin also controls mood and behavior. It promotes the emotional bond between the mother and the child and the partner, as the hormone is released during orgasm and when touched such as caressing. For this reason, oxytocin is also called "Cuddle hormone" designated.

What is the effect of oxytocin on men?

Oxytocin has long been known as the "woman's hormone".
This is because it can induce labor and milk flow, and it strengthens the mother-child bond.

In addition, however, it has many other effects that it unfolds in both sexes, some of which have not yet been fully investigated.

  • Oxytocin plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of social relationships.
    E.g. released when stroking or during orgasm and ensures well-being, calm and confidence.
  • In addition, it should be able to increase loyalty to a partner, improve the control of impulses and support the prudent handling of conflicts.
    This effect can also be seen in men.
  • However, some studies have also shown an increased willingness to be aggressive.
    There is evidence that this effect is more pronounced in men than in women.
  • In addition, oxytocin causes the seminiferous tubules to contract (contraction) in men and probably also the prostate.
    This is important for ejaculation during orgasm.

However, all of the effects of oxytocin on men have not yet been thoroughly investigated.

What happens with an oxytocin deficiency?

The exact effects of oxytocin deficiency are the subject of ongoing research that is ongoing.

However, there are a number of clues as to what happens when there is an oxytocin deficiency:

  • absent or weak labor
  • profuse bleeding after giving birth

In this case, oxytocin is given as an infusion.

  • The expulsion of breast milk from the mammary gland can also be difficult if there is a deficiency, which can lead to problems with breastfeeding.
  • There is also evidence that an oxytocin deficiency could play a role in the development of so-called postpartum depression.
  • In men, oxytocin supports i.a. ejaculation, which is why a deficiency can lead to a lack of ejaculation.
  • People with low levels of the hormone oxytocin also do worse on empathy tests.
    They are often not as good at interpreting other people's expressions as those with high oxytocin levels.

Therefore, low oxytocin levels are also associated with some mental illnesses such as Linked to autism and social phobia.

A deficiency in oxytocin can also become excessive

  • Stress reactions and
  • lead to disturbed social relationships.
  • It can also cause impulse control problems, e.g. the poor control of hunger could lead to pathological overweight (obesity).

However, research is not yet complete in these areas in particular.

Oxytocin spray

The hormone oxytocin can i.a. be administered to the body as a nasal spray.
The name of the active ingredient is Syntocinon.

This should bring about the positive effects of this hormone.

  • Oxytocin plays an important role in inducing labor and inducing labor, as well as in breastfeeding.
  • The effects of the hormone also include e.g. an increase in confidence, calm and well-being. '
  • It strengthens social bonds, such as that of mother and child or the couple bond.
  • Some studies have shown increased aggressiveness under the influence of oxytocin.

Oxytocin nasal spray is said to be suitable as a mood enhancer and anxiety reliever.
It is also advertised that it could improve relationships and even induce loyalty.

The oxytocin effect is also said to be used in the treatment of some mental illnesses such as Autism or borderline disorder.
These effects appear logical due to the effect of oxytocin, but have so far only been insufficiently proven in clinical studies.
The effect of the hormone has not yet been sufficiently investigated to be able to draw any conclusions about possible uses.

In case of mental illness it is important to consult a doctor, under no circumstances should you take medication on your own. In addition, it is often not clear which active ingredients are contained in the oxytocin nasal sprays.

Also, overdose of the hormone can lead to it

  • Nausea,
  • A headache,
  • Cramps and
  • Cause cardiac arrhythmias,
  • in pregnant women even to premature labor.

The approval of the Oxyctocin nasal spray has expired in Germany because there are insufficient data on safety and effectiveness. It is therefore advisable to rely on the natural release of oxytocin through physical contact such as caressing rather than artificially supplying it.

Are you interested in this topic? Read more about this under: Oxytocin nasal spray

How does oxytocin behave under stress?

Stress triggers an alarm reaction from the body, preparing for an argument in the form of fight or flight.
For example:

  • the blood pressure increased,
  • the heart beats faster and
  • the release of the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline increases.

Oxytocin has partially opposite effects.

  • It can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.
  • It also has effects on an area of ​​the brain, the amygdala (amygdala, corpus amygamygdaloideum), which plays an important role in the development of anxiety. As a result, oxytocin has psychological effects, it has a calming and anxiolytic effect.

It is therefore an important regulator of stress and can help to contain it.

Oxytocin is often released to an increased extent in healthy people in stressful situations.
It is believed that this is done to keep the stress response under control.

In most reactions in the human body, a counter-reaction is also set in motion, so that there are no excessive effects.
Oxytocin is part of this backlash with stress. However, its effect is often not enough to completely end the stress response.

What is the antagonist of oxytocin?

An antagonist is a substance that counteracts the effect of another substance (the agonist) or causes the opposite reaction.

In women, oxytocin is e.g. used in delayed delivery to induce and support labor.
However, if contractions start too early, you can administer tocolytics.

One of those substances is that Atosibanthat docks to the same receptor as oxytocin, but blocks it (competitive antagonist).
As a result, the oxytocin effect cannot be developed in the body.

You might also be interested in: Premature labor

Substances that are similar to the stress hormone adrenaline (beta-sympathomimetics) also have an inhibitory effect on the contraction of the uterus (uterine contraction).
However, they do not act on the same receptor as oxytocin, which is why they are called functional antagonists.

The stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline also counteract some other effects of oxytocin, e.g. activate rather than calm them down.

In some areas, however, they act similar to oxytocin (synergistically), e.g. at orgasm.
They are therefore not antagonists of all the effects of oxytocin.