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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Jan;172(1 Pt 1):92-5.

Onset of menopause in women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero.

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  • 1Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.



As part of a larger health survey, we sought to determine whether prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol is associated with onset of early menopause or menopausal symptoms.


Diagnosis of premature ovarian failure and symptoms of menopause were determined in a telephone interview with 542 women whose mothers participated in a randomized clinical trial of the use of diethylstilbestrol in pregnancy in the early 1950s. These women were aged 37 to 39 at the time of the interview. Medical records were obtained to confirm diagnosis of premature ovarian failure.


The prevalence of menopausal symptoms (specifically hot flashes and night sweats) did not differ for exposed and unexposed women. One exposed woman and no unexposed women had a medically confirmed diagnosis of premature ovarian failure.


Prenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure was not related to diagnosis or symptoms of menopause in this study. Further follow-up will be necessary to determine if a difference in age at menopause emerges as these women become older.

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