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Women's hormone cream can screw up your kids, pets

The hug of a middle-aged woman might affect nearby kids and pets in alarming ways -- and it has nothing to do with menopause mood swings.

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that children who are inadvertently exposed to an estrogen spray to ease hot flashes can develop an upsetting reaction – premature puberty. The FDA has received 8 reports involving children ages 3 to 5 whose reactions have included nipple swelling and breast development in girls and breast enlargement in boys. Pets exposed to the hormone spray have turned up with nipple enlargement and swelling of the vulva in females.

A recent report by the Veterinary Information Network also warns that some pets are inadvertently ingesting topical hormone sprays, creams or gels by licking the area or being petted after the product is applied and then grooming themselves. Side effects have included undersized penises in males and fur loss.

Estrogen and testosterone aren’t the only hormones that cause problems. A psoriasis cream called Dovonex, a derivative of vitamin D — itself a hormone — can cause unusual thirst, appetite loss, and severe vomiting or diarrhea when pets lick it off the skin or chew on the tube, says Michael Stone, an internal medicine specialist at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Mass.

To avoid the problem, women shouldn’t let children or pets come in direct contact with the area where the medication was applied, or they should wear clothing that covers it. If contact does occur, wash the child’s skin with soap and water right away, the FDA says. We assume the same goes for pets.

Do you use these kinds of hormone sprays, creams or gels? Will you stop, or just take extra precautions? Leave your comments here.

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