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Women Exposed to DES Still At Risk

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Washington, DCThe recently updated guidelines for cervical cancer screening might not have raised a lot of eyebrows for women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES), but the inclusion of women who are at risk of diethylstilbestrol side effects in the guidelines confirms that there is still a risk. Even now, decades after they were exposed to a DES pregnancy, these women are being urged to monitor their health for potentially serious side effects.

The guidelines were released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force and recommend that women do not need annual Pap smears or screening. In fact, between the ages of 21 to 29, women can be screened every three years if the Pap smear is conducted along with an HPV test. For women between the ages of 30 and 65, the test can be done every five years. But these guidelines are not recommended for women who were exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol.

That is because women exposed to diethylstilbestrol are considered high risk of cervical cancer, and early detection of cervical cancer is vital to survival. These women were exposed to the DES while in utero, when their mothers took the medication to prevent miscarriages. DES was pulled from the market when it became clear that not only did it not work but it was, in fact, linked to health risks. Such health risks include cancers of the reproductive tract and breast cancer.

Furthermore, the so-called DES daughters reportedly have an increased risk of infertility and reproductive problems. When they are able to conceive, they have an increased risk of preterm birth. Those reproductive problems then have an effect on the granddaughters of women who took DES. The DES granddaughters are reportedly at increased risk of birth defects linked to high-risk pregnancies.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (10/6/11) examined the long-term effects of DES on women exposed in utero. Among reproductive effects, researchers found increased risks of infertility, spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, loss of pregnancy in second trimester, ectopic pregnancy, preeclampsia and stillbirth.

Researchers concluded, "In utero exposure of women to DES is associated with a high lifetime risk of a broad spectrum of adverse health outcomes." How severe that impact is on the DES granddaughters remains to be seen.


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Posted by

DES Info: A DES message from DES Daughter Laura...

I am a freak of nature because of this drug my mother took to conceive me.

My short, mangled body, that has gone through so much mental and physiological hell. Depression has been my life since since my earliest memories.

My skeleton and muscles have been diagnosed with chiari Malformation. My neck is compressed so bad it has a reverse curve to it. My body is raked with generative disk, causing bulging and compressing of my disks. My muscles and nerves attack themselves with fybromyagia and two different types of arthritis.

I have chronic fatigue and can remember having it even in grade school. Many said I have an old soul, no ……just a body of an old lady!

My reproduction system was very affected although it gave me 2 wonderful children. Both were premature births and I also had several miscarriages. I did have an ectopic pregnancy at 27 years old. My daughter also had one at the same age. I couldn't use diaphragms because my vaginal walls are misshaped and the pill caused too many other issues.

I don't write this to complain but to inform. DES destroy lives in many ways not just cancer.

I will never get justice for my fate. But people need to know just what this drug had done to me and my family.

It just been only the last few years that I understand why I am a freak of nature- it does give me some relief to know.

Diethylstilbestrol you gave me life, but not quality of life I so desire. I could go on about other condition but I think everyone has got the point.

Laura Sheldon

Posted by

I was born in 1967 and a des daughter. I have always had female problems and a hard time to get pregnant. Both my pregnancies I went into premature labor at 24 weeks. I was able to deliver at 8 months. I have spent a lot of time at ob/gyn with early signs of menopause in my mid 30's. At 45 I started to have heart problems and unable to find the cause. I often wonder if des has anything to do with this.

Posted by

I am a DES daughter. I spent both of my pregnancies in bed. I married a mean man and thankfully divorced him. I was later diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia and then hodgkins lymphoma. I blame DES for everything.


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