Diethylstilbestrol (Di-ethyl-Stilbestrol) is the first synthetic man made female sex hormone (estrogen) prescribed for public use mainly between 1938 and 1971. It was used primarily to prevent miscarriage and complications in pregnancy. DES was a common medication administered by doctors in North America, Europe, and Australia for more than 40 years.
In 1971, DES was shown to cause a rare vaginal tumor in girls and women who had been exposed to this drug in utero. The United States Food and Drug Administration subsequently withdrew DES from the market.  
Studies since that time have indicated that DES also has the potential to cause a variety of significant adverse medical complication during the lifetime of those exposed in utero. The United States National Cancer Institute recommends that women born to mothers who took DES undergo special medical exams on a regular basis to screen for complications as a result of the drug. Women exposed to DES are commonly referred to as "DES daughters".   - excerpts from Wikipedia
Please note that DES has primarily affected the Daughters  - nothing much has been found in the sons.  However, the studies and research is still in it's infancy theoretically.  DES Daughters and Sons are having their children,  the 2nd generation of folks and the effects of DES is an open question. 


My mother was pregnant nine times and had only four children. Miscarriage #1. Miscarriage #2. Miscarriage #3. Daughter born in '56. Son born in '58. Miscarriage #4. Miscarriage #5. Daughter born in '65. Daughter born in '67.
Somewhere after 1958 her doctor prescribed DES. DES was the "Wonder Drug" that promised to give women healthy babies ( an no more miscarriages).

I started going for regular OB-GYN appointments when I was a teenager. Since my mid-twenties I have gone through numerous bouts of dysplasia and other low-grade issues that required several procedures. I was never able to conceive a child.  I am fortunate that I didn't experience the tumors and cancers that soo  many DES daughters have had to suffer through.  At age 38  - my body went into  Premature Ovarian Failure & Menopause. DES has robbed me of the opportunity to have children.

Recently a new study from the New England Journal of Medicine shed light on the latest studies which have prompted me to help spread the word of DES. In the hopes that people may stop and think....


Below are some questions to get you thinking ~ about your history, why even care about DES and where to get answers.  Please note that I am not in the medical or  legal field, I am simple a DES daughter interested in spreading awareness.  I can't answer your questions, I can only share with you the links to data I have found so far.  

If you do anything at all - Go get a Mammogram and visit your OB-GYN regularly!

Good luck to you.

  Could DES have been the root cause of my issues? That is between you and your OBGYN.  Knowledge is power - READ - if you do nothing read the article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Adverse Health Outcomes in Women Exposed In Utero to Diethylstilbestrol".  Start there.  Read the RESULTS section - if anything in there triggers a glimmer of a thought in your head that DES may have affected you...print the article and show it to your doctor.
  How can I know if my mom was on DES when pregnant with me? DES was prescribed between 1938 and 1971. Read the Wiki Site for the history of the drug.  It may have been a pill with a cross on it.  Ask your mom if you can.  Check the pharmacist - did they carry Eli Lilly medications?  Eli Lilly was one of the largest DES manufacters.  Again - read the WIKI site.
  Will it affect my children? Who knows for sure - but again - read read read read read  - the links are below....once you start googling who knows where you will land ....
  Where can I get more information? GOOGLE the word DES or Diethylstilbestrol.  Sit in a comfy chair because you will be amazed at the rabbit hole you are about to fall into...
  What is being done? There are numerous ongoing studies, also Aaron M. Levine & Associates are the only law firm in America currently representing DES daughters for their breast cancer injuries and are accepting new cases for review and evaluation. Just sayin....
  What are the signatures of a DES Daughter? A T-Shaped Uterus - that is the big one.  Cervical Adenosis.  Incompetent Cervix.
  Google Dr. Arthur Herbst He was the one to first publish a paper on DES.  Watch him speak on the 40th anniversary video on Youtube.

You can find links all over the internet on DES.  Here are a just a few to get you started on learning more information.
 DES (Wikipedia)
National Cancer Institute DES Fact Sheet
CDC - DES Update Page
National Cancer Institute Follow-up Study
DES Cancer Organization
Center for Disease Control & Prevention
Office of Research on Women's Health
DES Research Studies
Aaron M. Levine & Associates

Caitlin McCarthy is a Screenwriter and DES Daughter - these links explore her DES efforts:

Caitlin McCarthy's Website
WonderDrug - the movie
Caitlin McCarthy's Blog

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Thanks for visting! 

copyright 2010 HTOOOS. All rights reserved. 

Updated 10/21/2011 ~ 11:11:11