Human diethylstilbestrol exposure occurred through diverse sources, such as medical treatment for certain conditions, including breast and prostate cancers. During more than 40 years, DES (short for diethylstilbestrol) was given to pregnant women under the mistaken belief it would reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and losses.
DES exposure whether in utero, during a pregnancy, or simply because you were prescribed diethylstilbestrol other than during a pregnancy, may have caused irreversible damages to women, mothers, their daughters and sons and even their grandchildren.
DES Exposure by Ingestion of Diethylstilbestrol
DES mothers include my mum and all the women who have been exposed to DES because they have been prescribed diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy. It also include women who have been exposed for other reasons that those linked to a pregnancy. Diethylstilbestrol has been prescribed in North America, Europe and Australia between the 1940’s to the 1980’s for more than 100 medical conditions.
DES Exposure in Utero:
DES children (DES daughters and DES sons) whom mothers have been prescribed diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy have been exposed to DES before birth. Exposed individuals are not all aware of their exposure to the drud in their mothers’ womb. Their mums don’t always know that the vitamins they thought they were taking during pregnancy was in fact a harmful drug for their developing babies. They may not even know that they have been prescribed DES. And if they know it remains a taboo in many families. My mum told me that she had been prescribed Distilbène® but I don’t know why, for how long and I never questioned her. Now that I’ve started this journal, I will.
DES Exposure 3rd Generation
DES third generation are the children of men and women who were exposed to DES in utero; thus, they are also the grandchildren of women who were given DES during pregnancy. Studies of the third generation are important because DES might be associated with epigenetic changes. Epigenetic changes involve changes to the way genes behave (not involving the DNA itself) that may be heritable from one generation to another. If epigenetic changes occur and are heritable, studies of the DES-exposed third generation have implications for the influence of environmental endocrine disruptors on human health and evolution. I am one of the few lucky DES daughters who succeeded in having children despite a DES pregnancy contra-indication. I have three beautiful daughters. What if research show that there is a high risk that they too have been affected by DES exposure? I am scared to find out but I will keep a close eye on what the results of the research confirm.
Sources: DES Action USA, DES Réseau France, DES Action UK, CDC DES Update.