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DES Info: Premature Loss of Ovarian Function Linked to DES Used on “Tall Girls”

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A study by Dutch researchers has found that women who were treated with estrogens to stunt their growth when they were girls not only have a more difficult time becoming pregnant, but also lose ovarian function earlier in life than those not exposed to hormones as teenagers.

 

Beginning in the late 1940s girls in the U.S. who were predicted to grow “too” tall were prescribed DES, and other forms of estrogen, in extremely high doses in an attempt to hasten the closure of their growth plates.

 

The practice became more prevalent throughout Europe and Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. When the drug was found to cause cancer in DES Daughters, who were exposed before birth, pediatric endocrinologists and other clinicians who treated tall girls heeded the specific warnings about DES and switched to other forms of estrogen.

 

The Dutch study, published in the April 2011 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, confirmed earlier Australian findings linking hormone treatment to sub-fertility and noted that treated

Premature Loss of Ovarian Function Linked to DES Used on “Tall Girls” women more often required IVF than untreated women to become pregnant.

 

In addition, the Dutch study found that, as the treated “tall girls” aged, their ovaries failed earlier than those of untreated women. The researchers suggest that, as a result, the “tall girls” who were treated with DES and other estrogens should take this into account when working with their physicians in relation to family planning.

 

Although the practice of stunting growth in tall girls has waned substantially in the U.S. in recent years, it remains somewhat more popular in Europe.

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Karen M. Fernandes
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