Angle: Transgender minors, the number of treatments surged in the United States | Reuters

(Reuters) – In the United States, as more transgender minors identify as a different gender than they were born with, they are seeking more gender reassignment medical care. Reuters recently worked with medical technology company Komodo Health to figure out the number of cases, which until now have been estimates.

In the United States, as more transgender minors identify as a different gender than they were born with, the number of transgender adolescents seeking gender reassignment medical care is increasing. The photo shows restrooms that can be used by people of all genders. FILE PHOTO: Durham, North Carolina, May 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

The survey revealed that an increasing number of families are facing serious questions about what kind of medical care their children should receive. These families are at the center of the political debate over the protection of transgender youth in the United States.

About 42,000 American children and teens will be diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” in 2021, nearly triple the number in 2017, according to data compiled by Comodo for Reuters. Gender dysphoria is defined as the distress caused by the gender identity and the gender assigned at birth.

Between 2017 and 2021, at least 121,882 Americans aged 6 to 17 were diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

There are multiple types of gender reassignment care for young people, from being socially recognized by a name or pronoun of their choice, to hormone therapy, to surgery. A small but growing number of American children and adolescents with gender dysphoria are seeking medical intervention. Treatment is available only after puberty (secondary sexual characteristics) begins, usually between the ages of 10 and 11.

At this age, administration of secondary sex control agents becomes an option. These inhibitors, called “GnRH agonists,” suppress the expression of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved GnRH agonists for the treatment of prostate cancer, endometriosis, and central precocious puberty, but not for gender dysphoria. Although it is legal for use in non-intended gender reassignment care, there is no clinical trial support to establish the safety of such treatments.

At least 4,780 adolescents in the United States were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and started on secondary antisexual drugs in the past five years.

None of Komodo’s surveys, including this one, include treatments not covered by insurance, and are limited to pediatric patients with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, which may be an understatement. is high.

Administration of a secondary antisexual agent suppresses sexually characteristic bodily changes. For many transgender children, these changes can be very distressing. Secondary sexual characteristics resume when treatment is discontinued.

After suppressing secondary sex characteristics, the child may proceed to hormone therapy to initiate secondary sex characteristics consistent with the gender they identify with. Adolescents who miss the opportunity or choose not to use secondary sex control agents may also be treated with hormones.

A Komodo analysis found that at least 14,726 U.S. minors were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and started hormone therapy between 2017 and 2021.

Hormone therapy can lead to infertility, especially among young people who were also taking secondary sex control drugs early on. Experts say this and other potential side effects have not been well studied.

<Surgery>

The ultimate gender reassignment treatment is surgery, but it is unusual for a patient under the age of 18 to undergo surgery. Some pediatric clinics and gender clinics do not operate on minors.

An analysis of insurance claims by Comodo found 56 gender reassignment surgeries for patients aged 13 to 17 diagnosed with gender dysphoria between 2019 and 2021.

(Reporters by Robin Respaut and Chad Terhune)

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