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What is Oxytocin Nasal Spray?

By Jami Yontz
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Oxytocin nasal spray contains the hormone oxytocin, also know as the love or cuddle hormone. After inhaled, oxytocin has been show to induce labor contractions, reduce the activity in the amygdala region of the brain, increase the production of breast milk and aid in the process of bonding between mothers and their infants. Oxytocin is also released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and some companies market oxytocin nasal spray as an aid in increasing arousal.

Oxytocin is produced by the pituitary gland and is released during nursing or nipple stimulation. Oxytocin works by traveling through the blood stream to the mammary gland and then promoting the production and release of milk. Women who have trouble lactating or adoptive mothers who wish to induce lactation may use oxytocin spray to aid in this process. Studies have also shown that mothers who breast feed and produce high levels of oxytocin have lower blood pressure and are calmer about stressful situations.

Labor contractions, which dilate the cervix, can be induced or strengthened through the use of oxytocin nasal spray. Oxytocin is always present in the body, but near the end of a woman’s pregnancy term, progesterone levels decrease, and the levels of oxytocin prompt the muscle contractions. If a woman’s contractions do not begin or are too weak to dilate the cervix completely, the boost of oxytocin from a nasal spray can aid in the birthing process. Oxytocin is normally only taken after a woman's water has broken.

The amygdala regions of the brain, located in the temporal lobes, play an important role in processing emotions and storing memories of these emotional occurrences. The amygdalae are essential to how the brain processes and responds to fear, anxiety and stress. Oxytocin reduces the activity in this part of the brain, increasing the person’s ability to trust and interact with others. Oxytocin nasal spray has been used in studies in which the participants’ debilitating social phobias are greatly reduced, and it has shown positive outcomes when inhaled by people with autism or schizophrenia.

Oxytocin is also the hormone that is released during physical contact and can increase a person’s ability to maintain eye contact and promote other human bonding responses. The hormone is also present in higher levels during sexual arousal and orgasm for both males and females. The hormone increases testosterone levels, and it promotes bonding between the sexual partners, and thus has been promoted as a product for increasing the intimacy between sexual partners.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon990128 — On Apr 07, 2015

To the person asking about milk coming in, that does not happen until after you give birth. Trust me! A couple days after birth the milk comes in, before that you just have colostrum which has a lot of good stuff for the baby but the milk will come in and you will have plenty to feed your baby.

By anon972830 — On Oct 07, 2014

Buy it, don't use it up your nose. First, spray it in the air around you, and if you notice a difference with your life, continue using it that way. Always ask your doctor first before using any drugs for any interactions with other meds/symptoms.

By anon964243 — On Aug 03, 2014

As turquoise said, this sounds great but how can one get high quality spray if insurance doesn't cover it? What do you look for in an over the counter products? What active ingredients should you look for, since I'm assuming there are many different formulations and strengths. What is the recommended concentration?

I know this site won't peddle any product, but what do you look for in a legit product?

By turquoise — On Jan 06, 2012

I have anxiety and I've been wanting to try oxytocin nasal spray since forever. I have read really good things about it on social anxiety forums. Many people have reported that the spray helps them feel more relaxed, confident and happy. This sounds exactly like what I need but I still have some questions about it.

The first issue I have with this spray is that it's too expensive. It's not like buying over-the-counter nasal spray. I have student insurance and my doctor has already told me that the insurance wouldn't cover it. I can't afford to pay for the whole thing. I've found cheaper ones online but those look a bit dubious and I don't want to risk my health with something that's poor quality.

The other issue that is bugging me is potential side effects. Oxytocin is called the love hormone so I'm worried that it would mess with my other hormones or cause me to behave strangely with the opposite sex. I don't know if the dose of the nasal spray is enough to carry that risk but it's still something I'm worried about.

By bear78 — On Jan 05, 2012

Oxytocin nasal spray really helps autism symptoms. My close friend is using it for her five year old daughter. She said that she's benefited a lot from it, especially when they go outside or to someone else's house. Before this little girl would get really scared and upset whenever she encountered a stranger. She used to start yelling and screaming and would become really aggressive.

But since she's started using the nasal spray, she seems less scared and more open to meeting strangers. She doesn't become aggressive anymore, more like curious. And I've noticed that she laughs a lot more now too.

I'm not sure if all of these changes are due to the oxytocin nasal spray but her mom hasn't changed anything else. She's still on the same medications and the same routine. The only change is the spray so I think it works.

By burcinc — On Jan 05, 2012

I found this article really interesting. I was trying to find some information on the use of oxytocin spray during labor. My sister is eight months pregnant and she hasn't started producing breast milk yet. Her doctor has told her that she probably won't get milk until after she has the baby but she's concerned that this might be a sign of inefficient oxytocin. She thinks she might have issues during labor.

Has anyone used oxytocin nasal spray for labor and can tell us a little bit about your experience? Do you think that less than normal amounts of oxytocin in the body has anything to do with not having breast milk before giving birth?

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