Gender dysphoria in children and adolescents: an overview

Hormones (Athens). 2020 Sep;19(3):267-276. doi: 10.1007/s42000-020-00174-1. Epub 2020 Feb 4.


Over the last decade, we have witnessed considerable progress in gender dysphoria (GD) terminology in an attempt to better describe the condition based on certain criteria. The ever-increasing social acceptance and destigmatization of children and adolescents with GD have resulted in an increased number of transgender individuals seeking endocrine care. In addition to terminology and diagnostic criteria, the tremendous progress of genetics and neuroimaging has enabled us to have a deeper understanding of the complex pathogenesis of GD. Although helpful guidelines for treatment with GnRH analogs and gender-affirming hormones have been proposed, several challenges and controversies still exist. In this article, the current knowledge about GD in adolescents is reviewed, with particular emphasis on terminology, clinical manifestations, and epidemiologic data. The neurobiological basis of the condition is presented, and both hormonal treatment and mental issues of transgender individuals are discussed. Undoubtedly, further research will optimize the diagnostic and therapeutic approach of children and adolescents with GD.

Keywords: Adolescents; Cross-hormone treatment; Gender dysphoria; Genetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Gender Dysphoria* / drug therapy
  • Gender Dysphoria* / epidemiology
  • Gender Dysphoria* / physiopathology
  • Gender Dysphoria* / psychology
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analysis
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Transgender Persons* / psychology
  • Transgender Persons* / statistics & numerical data


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone