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