Effects of breast-feeding practice on the post-partum endometrium

S Afr J Med Sci. 1976;41(2):99-108.


Inactive endometrial patterns occur frequently in the post-partum period and their occurrence is modified by the breast-feeding practice. An abnormal endometrium pattern, viz., cystic hyperplasia, may occur more frequently in non-lactating women and in patients using oestrogens, especially long-acting preparations, for lactation suppression. Post-ovulatory endometrial patterns in lactating women occur infrequently during the puerperium. The implications of these findings are discussed.

PIP: Fundal endometrial samples from 91 white and 64 South African blacks were examined to assess postpartum endometrial patterns in the 2 racial groups and in relation to the lactation practice. The difference in the proportions of breast-feeding at 6 and 13 weeks postpartum was 26.5% and 16% for the white group and 68.75% and 47.9% for the black group. Endometria were separated into ''active'' groups which included proliferative, secretory, or hyperplastic specimens and ''inactive'' groups which showed atrophic or hypoplastic features. The chi-square for the association of an inactive endometrial pattern with lactation was significant for both white and black subjects, particularly at 13 weeks. Cystic hyperplasia was found to occur spontaneously, particularly in nonlactators, and with greater severity in patients who had received a long-acting estrogenic agent (quinestrol) for lactation suppression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia / chemically induced
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia / epidemiology
  • Endometrium / cytology*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovulation
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders / chemically induced
  • Puerperal Disorders / epidemiology
  • Quinestrol / adverse effects
  • South Africa


  • Quinestrol