The Basics of Childhood Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is something that commonly afflicts transgender children. Transgender individuals are those who have a gender identity that does not match up with the sex characteristics that they were born with. This is not a mental disorder and it is diagnosed only in children who experience massive distress due to being transgender. Gender dysphoria in children can cause major anguish for the child who feels who they are inside does not match the body they were born with.

Signs of Gender Dysphoria in Children

If your child has gender dysphoria, you will find that they have a major incongruence between their assigned gender and the gender they experience for themselves. This is often first seen in a child who has a major preference for the clothing, toys, and activities that the other gender is associated with. Some children will tell you that they will grow up to the be other gender. Adolescents with gender dysphoria may have major problems with their anatomy and wish to have the characteristics of the other gender.

Diagnosis Childhood Gender Dysphoria

For a child who have experience serious distress about their gender for over six months, it is likely they are experiencing gender dysphoria. Essentially, a child can only be diagnosed with this if they have significant feelings of incongruence between their birth gender and their experienced gender. Some children may experience such extreme distress that they are not able to function normally at home, in school, or in other social settings. When a doctor diagnoses gender dysphoria, they will first look into the possibility of the child having a sexual development or intersex condition.

Treatment for Gender Dysphoria

The first step in treatment will often be psychotherapy, most often in the form of talk therapy. The child can learn to manage and understand what their distress is stemming from. There are additional treatment options based on the severity of the dysphoria and the child’s age. Hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and even surgery may be helpful to treat the condition and make the child feel more like themselves.

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