Characteristics of Referrals for Gender Dysphoria Over a 13-Year Period

J Adolesc Health. 2016 Mar;58(3):369-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.11.010.


Purpose: Our Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic has seen a sharp increase in referrals for gender dysphoria (GD) during recent years. However, the frequency and characteristics of referrals have not been objectively examined.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of referrals for GD during the past 13 years was performed. Variables analyzed included numbers of referrals per year, patient characteristics, comorbid conditions, and hormonal therapy. Timing of referral and eligibility for treatment were measured against established recommendations.

Results: Of 38 patients, 74% were referred during the last 3 years. Most patients presented late in puberty before a GD-specific psychological evaluation and few were eligible for hormonal treatment at baseline. Over half had psychiatric and/or developmental comorbidities.

Conclusions: A dramatic increase in referrals for GD since 2002 was confirmed. Enhanced provider education and outreach regarding care of patients with GD are needed.

Keywords: Gender dysphoria; Referrals; Transgender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gender Dysphoria / epidemiology*
  • Gender Dysphoria / psychology
  • Gender Dysphoria / therapy
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Indiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Referral and Consultation / trends
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Maturation*