Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP REALPAD

Introducing RealPad by AARP

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning Centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Ask the Pharmacist

Can the Estrogen I Apply to My Skin Spread to My Baby Granddaughter?

Yes, it can, so use caution near children and pets

En español | Q: I’m on a menopausal hormone, an estradiol gel (Elestrin 0.06%), that I apply to my upper arm, as directed. 

Grandmother with Baby laying on her chest and arm

Topically applied hormone treatments can be absorbed by skin to skin contact. — Ocean/Corbis

My 9-month-old granddaughter’s pediatrician is expressing concerns about premature puberty, as she is large in both height and weight. At first we thought her chubbiness in the chest was just that, chubbiness.

But now I’m worried that the hormones I apply to my upper arm are rubbing on to my granddaughter when I hold her. Is that possible? If it is, is her condition reversible?

I use one squirt of the gel every two to three days, and I usually apply it at least several hours before I see my granddaughter, but I’m sleeveless a lot. Can I apply the gel elsewhere on my body instead?

A: Estradiol is available in many forms that can be applied directly to the skin, including creams, gels and sprays. Your granddaughter (or anyone else, for that matter) could absorb some of the estrogen hormone through skin contact with you, especially if their area of contact wasn’t washed with soap and water as soon as possible after exposure.

In 2010 the Food and Drug Administration warned that children and pets should not be allowed to have contact with skin where an estradiol spray marketed under the brand name Evamist had been applied. The FDA’s warning said that it was reviewing reports of such adverse events as premature puberty, nipple swelling and breast development in girls and breast enlargement in boys.

Because Elestrin’s manufacturer specifies that the product is to be applied to the upper arm, I recommend that you consult with your physician before applying it elsewhere on your body. The issue of whether your granddaughter’s condition is reversible is a question for her pediatrician.

By the way, this type of hormone replacement poses risks for you, as well: Elestrin can increase your risk of developing uterine cancer and it might elevate the risk of other cancers (including breast cancer), stroke, heart attack, blood clots and gall-bladder disease.

"Ask the Pharmacist" is written by Armon B. Neel Jr., PharmD, CGP, in collaboration with journalist Bill Hogan. They are co-authors of Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?, to be published next year by Atria Books.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% or more on Petplan pet insurance premiums.

Senior couple working on laptop. Medicare open enrollment. (David Jakle/Corbis)

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Ends Dec. 7 ─ AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points