1. Health

DES Daughters and Prenatal Exposure

Did Your Mother Take DES During Pregnancy?


Updated December 12, 2007

DES Daughters

Women exposed to DES or diethystilbestrol prenatally require special care during pregnancy due to an increased risk of complications such as ectopic pregnancy and premature labor and delivery. However, with proper care most women achieve and maintain healthy full term pregnancies.

Some DES exposed women experience an increased risk of fertility problems, however pregnancy is easily achieved for most DES daughters, making routine infertility evaluation unnecessary.

The greatest risk to DES daughters is increased risk for a rare form of cervical or vaginal cancer called clear cell carcinoma. Abnormal cell changes on the cervix may occur more frequently among DES daughters which, most often, should be treated.

DES daughters need regular pelvic exams at all ages. The pelvic exam for DES daughters is slightly different from the normal pelvic exam and includes a separate Pap smear of the upper vagina. If DES-related changes are detected during a pelvic exam, pelvic exams more than once a year are frequently required.

If you have been exposed to DES it is important to take care of your health. Although most DES daughters and sons, won't experience any adverse health effects it's important to stay informed about possible consequences and keep a close watch on your health.

Should DES Exposed Daughters and Mothers Use Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause?

"We do not know since no studies have been done, whether menopause will be different for DES daughters than for non-exposed women. However the question of whether DES daughters should take HRT is very controversial. Many docs tell women that "as far as we know it is safe" That is the same as saying "as far as we know it is not safe" since NO studies have been done. Some of our medical advisers believe that DES mothers and daughters have already had more than enough exposure to exogenous estrogens and should consider that there are other ways to deal with menopausal problems, should they occur, the most important of which is weight-bearing exercise that can be as simple as a brisk 30 minute walk every day." Pat Cody--DES Action USA

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