Other Free Encyclopedias » 21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia » 21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Davis, Henry Gassaway to Diamond

DES

hormone drug women

DES (diethylstilbestrol), synthetic hormone having the properties of estrogen, the main female sex hormone. It was formerly administered to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages, but in the 1970s it was linked to vaginal cancer in women whose mothers had taken the hormone. A movement against the drug during the 1970s raised awareness about this problem and was influential in getting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rescind its approval of the use of the drug during pregnancy. It is still used as a growth accelerator in beef cattle, but such use is controversial because of the possible carcinogenic effects of DES.

See also: Hormone.

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