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Transgender Teens Have High Rates of Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

Last Updated: April 10, 2020.

FRIDAY, April 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Depression, suicidal thoughts and self-injury are common among U.S. transgender teens, new research shows.

The study also found that hormone therapy leads to significant improvements in gender dysphoria -- the feeling of being uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the medical records of 158 transgender teens treated at a pediatric endocrinology clinic between 2014 and 2019.

The patients included 107 affirmed males (female to male), 47 affirmed females (male to female), and four who considered themselves non-binary. Affirmed gender is an individual's declared gender identity.

Overall, 78.5% had a mental health condition, with depression the most common (66.5%). Suicidal thoughts were more common among affirmed males (70%) than among affirmed females (49%), the study found.

In addition, self-injuring (cutting) was more common among affirmed males (56%) than among affirmed females (25.5%).

On average, both affirmed males and affirmed females began hormone treatment between age 15 and 16. Both groups reported significantly lower gender dysphoria after starting hormonal treatment.

On a scale of 0 to 10, gender dysphoria dropped for affirmed males from 8.08 to 3.99 after starting treatment. For affirmed females, gender dysphoria fell from 7.87 before treatment to 2.96 after treatment began, according to the report.

The study was published in a special supplemental section of the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

"An increasing number of transgender youths are seeking therapeutic options to change their bodies and match their gender identity," lead researcher Dr. Veronica Figueredo, a resident at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, Fla., said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

More information

GLMA, an organization that works to ensure health equity for LGBTQ individuals, offers transgender health resources.

SOURCE: The Endocrine Society, news release, March 31, 2020

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