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DES and Hormones

From the GYN Genetics Articles List

As a DES daughter, is it safe for me to use hormones?As a DES daughter, is it safe for me to use hormones?


DES (diethylstilbestrol) is a synthetic estrogen that was primarily prescribed to pregnant women from 1938 to 1971. The purpose of the drug was to prevent miscarriage and other pregnancy complications. Unfortunately, it was later found that the babies exposed to DES in the womb could be born with birth defects and a higher risk of developing other health issues later in life. This is especially true for DES daughters.

Many of the health issues that affect DES daughters involve the reproductive system and gynecological health. As such, hormone therapy of any kind may be an issue for these women due to the estrogen exposure they received in the womb.

Though no definite studies indicate that DES daughters should not use hormones, some physicians still suggest caution for any containing estrogen. This can include both birth control pills (BCP) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

To err on the side of caution, you may consider non-hormone contraceptive methods. In general, the possible reproductive abnormalities that can result from being a DES daughter do not prevent the use of contraceptives such as diaphragms, spermicides, or condoms. For those with an abnormally shaped uterus, however, intrauterine devices (IUD) may not be an option. Additionally, cervical caps may not work well for those with an abnormal cervix.

If HRT is needed, there are non-hormonal alternatives available depending on symptoms. These can include both prescription and over-the-counter options. You and your doctor would need to consider your symptoms and risk factors to determine what is best for you.

If you need hormonal treatment for a specific reason or health condition, talk to your doctor about your situation. You and your medical team should consider your current health issues along with your risk factors from being a DES daughter.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-13-2013 - 05:50 PM


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