Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

    Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

    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 Pap test.
    • Cancer of the cervix or vagina.
    • Structural 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.

    Current as of: July 26, 2016

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

    © 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.