Grief and Oxytocin – A Hormone for Pain Relief?
Posted on November 19, 2012
I had the awesome opportunity yesterday to spend an hour on a Skype face to face call, with my friend, Dr. Ken Stoller, founder of GriefSOS.com and author of Oxytocin: The Hormone of Healing and Hope.
Dr. Ken was kind enough to read my book, We Don’t Die, and give me a great endorsement. He has also been sharing my How to Survive Grief, free audio, on his website. Finally, we got to virtually meet yesterday and am I sure glad we did. Ken opened my eyes to a hormone we all produce, called “oxytocin.”
Oxytocin is a hormone that we naturally produce when bonding with another person such as while breast-feeding, hugging, holding hands, snuggling, close dancing (with a partner) and love making. It provides us with feelings of relaxation, contentment, generosity, compassion and forgiveness. It helps us build trust with others and form bonds. It also helps decrease feelings of fear and anxiety.
In 2007, Dr. Ken Stoller received first-hand knowledge of using “oxytocin treatment” for grief. His 16-year old son had been killed in a train accident, leaving him in deep sadness and despair. His fear, anxiety and panic seemed to take on a life of its own. He felt as it was “suffocating and debilitating.”
Dr. Ken administered himself oxytocin in the form of nasal spray. He said, “The panic and fear dropped away from me as if I were shedding clothing. If I wanted to think about my son’s train accident, I could. But the moment I didn’t want to think about it, the accident faded into the background of my mind. It wasn’t there hammering away at me as if it had a life of its own.”
Dr. Ken Stoller has been on a mission to inform the medical community on the results of oxytocin therapy he has found with his patients. He says “To date, I have never prescribed oxytocin for a patient in grief who did not report significant benefit from its use. As for myself, after just a few weeks I was able to completely stop using oxytocin. In that short period of time, it gave me the ability to deal with the worst kind of emotional pain without getting completely swallowed up by it.”
I am grateful to Dr. Ken for this information. Knowing first-hand the agony of grief, from the death of my father, I am happy to share with people the news about oxytocin therapy. He is also successfully using oxytocin therapy in the treatment of addiction, autism, sexual dysfunction, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
I am interested in trying oxytocin myself and will try it in the form of sublingual tablet (placed under my tongue to dissolve) as opposed to the nose spray. As a woman who as always battled my weight and often obsesses about food, I’m interested in seeing if the thoughts subside and the entire box of cookies does not get eaten! As a single gal, I don’t have a person to hug to produce the oxytocin on its own. I will keep you posted when it arrives!
Taking oxytocin is not harmful and there are no side effects, in fact there are some helpful benefits to women for preventing bone loss and decreasing risk of breast cancer. He advises that anyone interested interested in oxytocin therapy to download his free booklet, Oxytocin: The Hormone of Healing and Hope on his GriefSOS.com website.
What is Oxytocin and Signs You May be Deficient
Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, is a hormone that controls keys elements of the reproductive system, from sex drive and orgasms to childbirth and lactation, as well as other aspects of human interaction. In menopause, oxytocin deficiency may be related to vaginal dryness and a lower sex drive.
Keep reading for more information about oxytocin, how its deficiency can affect you during menopause, and what you can do about it.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. Its secretion depends on the electrical activity of the neurons in the hypothalamus. Basically, it is secreted when those cells are excited.
Childbirth and breastfeeding
Oxytocin stimulates the uterine muscles to contract and help with childbirth, and it increases the production of prostaglandins, to help with the contraction even more. An oxytocin boost is sometimes given to help induce labour, strengthen contractions, and deliver the placenta quickly.
In breastfeeding, oxytocin promotes the movement of milk in the breast.
The hormone is also present in men, where its function is to regulate sperm production and movement, testosterone production by the testicles, orgasms, and the sleepiness felt after these are achieved.
Oxytocin plays an important role in human behaviour. It works as a chemical messenger for behaviours such as family relationships, trust, recognition, anxiety, and sexual arousal. That’s why it’s called the love hormone.
Some developmental disabilities, such as autism or Asperger’s syndrome – which are related to human behaviour and interaction – are characterised by the lack of oxytocin levels.
Oxytocin is also a powerful vasodilator, playing a vital role in delivering a proper blood flow to the vagina and sexual organs. It is essential to feel sexual desire and intense orgasms, which require pelvic and vaginal muscle contractions.
Signs and symptoms of oxytocin deficiency
There are a number of symptoms for oxytocin deficiency, including:
An element of irritability and inability to feel affectionate,
More anxieties and fears than normal,
Sexual interactions are more mechanical and fulfil a basic need,
Difficulty achieving orgasm,
Bigger appetite for sugar-rich foods,
Feeling little joy from life,
Disturbed sleep, or
What does it mean to be oxytocin deficient in menopause?
For women going through menopause, an oxytocin deficiency can get in the way of sexual pleasure, proper vaginal lubrication, and libido.
To achieve a pleasurable and efficient orgasm, the muscles in your vagina need to contract, and that is stimulated by the oxytocin. Same with the blood flow going to your genitals, lubrication in the vagina, and normal sex drive. After an orgasm, contrary to men, oxytocin makes women feel more alert and awake.
Treatment and diagnosis for oxytocin deficiency
It is possible to diagnose oxytocin deficiency using blood tests, however these are not widely available and are generally only used for research purposes. You may have identified a number of symptoms that point to an insufficiency, such as low libido and vaginal dryness.
As far as treatments go, it is always better to start with the most natural way. Oxytocin release can be stimulated by intimate human interaction, trust, and intimacy. Try to connect by touch, so don’t rule out foreplay just yet! Touching arousing erogenous zones are usually good ways to stimulate oxytocin release, but other less common areas should not be discarded, such as the collarbone area, behind the ears and neck, inner thighs, and lower back.
Massages will relax the body, increasing the blood flow and helping with arousal and sexual response. Maintaining regular sex habits and vaginal activity can also help to stimulate vaginal lubrication.
There are also food habits you can change in order to increase your libido, and even exercises, such as Kegels. The book “The Orgasmic Diet” highlights some of these.
Oxytocin can be administered in a number of ways, including orally, sublingually, through nasal sprays, local application to the clitoris, or as an injection. If you decide to acquire oxytocin as a supplement, we always advise to discuss any such treatments with a menopause specialist first.
I feel that as a result of being separated from our Mothers we are deprived if oxytocin due to unresolved and unprocessed grief. No one sees a need for adopted children to grieve a loss at all. No one see our loss. I needed touch growing up to feel better. Had my Mama and Mama Jean known back then what I tell them now, life could have been better. For me.
My kids really helped me feel loved and grounded. Your child’s touch can make the difference. That probably why I miss Chelsie so much. She gives the greatest hugs and back rubs. But I can go pay someone to rub or massage me now. I’m a big girl now. Just remembering a nice memory. That’s all.
I am going to get a blood test as soon and the house sells and see if this could be some of my issue. Grief.