Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a medicine that was prescribed in the United
States between 1948 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage or premature delivery. It
is no longer prescribed, because it was found to cause various medical problems
in the children of the women who used it.
Daughters born to women who took DES while pregnant have a slightly
higher risk for:
Abnormal cervical cells that cause an abnormal
Cancer of the cervix or vagina.
problems in their reproductive organs, such as a T-shaped uterus or a weakened
cervix, which can cause infertility and a higher risk for preterm labor.
Sons born to women who took DES while pregnant have a slightly
higher risk of abnormalities of the scrotum and decreased sperm counts.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.