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Effects of Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Exposure

Topic Overview

Between 1948 and 1971, millions of women took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage.

Daughters born to women who took DES while pregnant have a slightly higher risk of developing:

  • Abnormal cervical cells that cause an abnormal Pap test result.
  • Cancer of the vagina.
  • Structural problems in the reproductive organs (such as a T-shaped uterus), which can cause infertility.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised December 12, 2012

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