HOW DOES OXYTOCIN WORK?
This is the hormone that helped mummy push us out, so if hormones were humans, we would all have had to keep thanking oxytocin for its amiable gesture.
Certain behaviours or better yet, patterns occur constantly that we have disregarded. We now see them as being automatic and normal without actually understanding the underlying factor controlling them. Instances would include playing with a baby, petting your dog, gently stroking the back of your cat, the contractions that occur in childbearing and the lactation process.
More examples would include how being with someone you love reduces anxiety and depression and how bonds and trust are formed.
The answer to them all is OXYTOCIN.
Devoid of the intention to bore you or take you back to biology class, Oxytocin is a hormone that is secreted in the pituitary glands and transmitted into the blood cells or brain.
Oxytocin's first primary assignment is to aid contraction during childbirth and also to facilitate the easy flow of breast milk during lactation.
During childbirth, a certain amount of oxytocin is needed because it aids contraction and when the level of oxytocin is low during that period, medically, the hormone is injected into the woman.
And for lactation, immediately the baby latches on the nipple, a message is sent to the brain, oxytocin is secreted and milk begins to come out through the nipple.
Could this be why women have more of this hormone than men?
Asides from contraction and lactation, oxytocin also plays a few roles here and there. Other instances to which this hormone is released includes while cuddling, hugging, having sex or even something as“insignificant” as petting a dog and it is also useful in sexual activities as it aids the release of sperm in men; it intensifies the feelings of ejaculation and orgasm during sex because it is released in those moments.
On social, emotional and cognitive behaviours, it is useful for social bonding, hence spending time with a friend or meeting someone new also releases oxytocin which helps in strengthening the relationship.
It also amplifies emotions in context, that is, if one is doing things that would create a positive outcome emotionally, oxytocin is released to amplify the feeling, which has also proven to help suppress anxiety, depression and PTSD.
And finally, according to research done on autistic people, when they are induced with oxytocin through a nasal spray, it helps improve their social interactions in a little way while the spray is still active in the bloodstream
HERE'S THE BIG DEAL.
From oxytocin's primary assignment, one would deduce that women secret more of the hormone than men do which would explain why women tend to be more emotionally involved in relationships, are better caregivers, hence generally more involved in children and are keener in recognizing people’s emotional state, hence making them better psychologists.
Since women tend to secrete more of this hormone, it explains why they are naturally more emotional and emotionally available in relationships. After all, one plus one is two.
They also say oxytocin is the love drug, here's why; Research was carried out on rats who were induced with oxytocin and were found to take care of the rats that were around them including those that weren’t even their children as against those that weren’t induced and ignored the rats that weren’t their children.
Some imply that since men are more likely to suffer from autism and since oxytocin has been proven to be an aid in dealing with autism, it may be so because women secrete more oxytocin than men.
Oxytocin helps to create stronger bonds. Since this hormone is released during activities like sex, cuddling, hugging, this in return helps to create bonds between people.
While it is easily more secreted in women, it isn't in men, hence certain behavioural differences. So, when we do certain things or carry out certain actions, several factors contribute to it, and oxytocin is just one fragment of it.