Hormone Creams Affect Children and Pets

It sounds like an episode of Fox network’s show “House” where a child dangerously hits early puberty because mom or dad can’t seem to contain their hormone cream usage (Season 3, Episode 19). But this scenario is more than just entertaining medical fiction. It’s an issue that continues to gain notoriety in the public.

Monday, The New York Times published an article about how women using estrogen hormone creams are affecting their pets, particularly dogs and cats. Pets were developing symptoms such as menstruation, swollen breast tissue and swollen genitals despite being spayed or neutered. The creams were being primarily used to combat menopause symptoms, but because the users were ignoring warnings about covering up the exposed area after application, pets that rubbed up against their owners or actually licked the creams off were being exposed to mass dosage of hormones.

But instances like this don’t just affect pets. They can affect our children as well. And it’s not just a new issue, but one that has had shocking cases in young children over the past couple of years.

A 2009 CNN article covered how cases of male testosterone gels affecting children to the point of developing “premature and inappropriate sex characteristics” spurred an FDA warning. Young males were entering puberty earlier and young females were developing male sexual characteristics as a result to exposure.

A study published in PEDIATRICS: Official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics referred to cases in 2004 of children as young as 18 months developing pubic hair, enlarged clitorises, and increased bone age. Often times the symptoms resided or were reduced after proper precautions were taken care of when dealing with the hormone drugs, but in other cases, some of the side effects were not reversible in the children.

One child required surgical intervention, while othershad to undergo invasive diagnostic procedures., according to the CNN article.

Don’t want your children or pets to start menstruating at the ripe age of three? Then do us all a favor and make note of these helpful tips when using hormone creams and gels.

4 Tips for Using Hormone Creams

  1. Sounds simple, but wash hands with soap and water after every application, or use rubber gloves when applying.
  2. Cover the application site with clothing or bandages and avoid skin-to-skin contact with others with the area.
  3. Wash the site with soap and water before coming into skin contact with another person.
  4. Be aware of what gel or cream you’re actually using.  Stay away from non-FDA-approved hormone substances that can result the same effects should be avoided.


Nikki Roberti is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of REALITY Check Girl, an online magazine created in September 2009 for high school and college girls looking for venue that was more than just beauty and fashion. She was part of the ASME magazine internship program in the summer of 2010 at PARENTS magazine in New York City and the Scripps Howard Foundation "Semester in Washington Program" in D.C. in the spring of 2010. In D.C. she attended the State of the Union Address, covered an event with the Dalai Lama, and followed Michelle Obama for a few events to cover the childhood obesity campaign. It was her semester in the spring that really helped Roberti discover her love for health reporting. Her love for journalism began back in the early 90s when she watched the television series “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” immediately falling in love with her hero Lois Lane. At age 13, she was the youngest journalist to write for the mother newspaper of USA Today, Florida Today’s Verge section where she contributed for 5 years. She is nationally known as a 2006 Newspaper Association of America Teen Fellow and the female Florida recipient of the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship for journalism in 2007. She also helped Poynter Institute develop an online course on how to train teen journalists. Studying journalism at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC., Nikki wrote for the campus newspaper, The Appalachian, as a Lifestyles Reporter and religion columnist for two years, a copy editor for one year, and the Assistant Online Editor for the fall semester before leaving for her internship in D.C. She also contributed to Chickspeak.com, an online media venue for college-aged women.

2 thoughts on “Hormone Creams Affect Children and Pets

  • October 28, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Nikki – you just scared the bleep out of me.

    I knew about all of the xenoestrogens found in all of the plastics, etc we surround ourselves with, but I hadn’t thought of HR creams as another source.

    And when you consider that testosterone replacement for men is becoming more prevalent, the problem is going to get even worse

  • October 26, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    How scary. I don’t use anything but I will be sure to tell my friends if I hear they are. Should be warned by the medical practitioners who prescribe these creams. There are healthy natural alternatives to most pharmocopia and the sooner people are made aware of this the better I say. Thanks for making us aware of this frightening situation.
    Patricia Perth Australia


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