Potential association between type 1 diabetes mellitus and gender dysphoria

Pediatr Diabetes. 2020 Mar;21(2):266-270. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12947. Epub 2019 Dec 4.


Background/objective: Multiple factors have been proposed to explain the increasing prevalence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), including psychological stress. The prevalence of gender dysphoria (GD) in youth is also growing. Identifying environmental triggers, such as psychological minority stress experienced by youth with GD, that may influence the pathogenesis and management of T1DM could have important clinical implications. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of concurrent diagnosis of T1DM and GD in adolescents evaluated at a university-based children's hospital.

Methods: An electronic data extraction was conducted at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics from 1 November 2007 to 1 November 2017. Inclusion criteria included age 10 to 21 years and diagnosis of T1DM and/or GD. Prevalence rates were calculated for T1DM and GD. For adolescents with T1DM and GD, information related to diagnosis, treatment, and psychiatric history was collected.

Results: The prevalence for T1DM was 2.69 per 1000; the prevalence for GD was 0.42 per 1000. Eight adolescents had T1DM and GD. In adolescents with GD, the prevalence of T1DM was 9.4-fold higher than the prevalence of T1DM alone (24.77 vs 2.68 per 1000). Five adolescents were seen in GD clinic and their glycemic control initially improved after the first GD clinic visit.

Conclusions: There was an increased prevalence of a concurrent diagnosis of T1DM in those with GD compared to the general population. Glycemic control improved after the first GD clinic visit in adolescents with T1DM and GD, which may be secondary to stress reduction.

Keywords: adolescent; diabetes mellitus; gender dysphoria; prevalence; type 1.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Female
  • Gender Dysphoria / epidemiology*
  • Gender Dysphoria / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Young Adult