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Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/01/21/peds.2019-1725


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues are commonly prescribed to suppress endogenous puberty for transgender adolescents. There are limited data regarding the mental health benefits of this treatment. Our objective for this study was to examine associations between access to pubertal suppression during adolescence and adult mental health outcomes.

METHODS: Using a cross-sectional survey of 20 619 transgender adults aged 18 to 36 years, we examined self-reported history of pubertal suppression during adolescence. Using multivariable logistic regression, we examined associations between access to pubertal suppression and adult mental health outcomes, including multiple measures of suicidality.

RESULTS: Of the sample, 16.9% reported that they ever wanted pubertal suppression as part of their gender-related care. Their mean age was 23.4 years, and 45.2% were assigned male sex at birth. Of them, 2.5% received pubertal suppression. After adjustment for demographic variables and level of family support for gender identity, those who received treatment with pubertal suppression, when compared with those who wanted pubertal suppression but did not receive it, had lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratio = 0.3; 95% confidence interval = 0.2–0.6).

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study in which associations between access to pubertal suppression and suicidality are examined. There is a significant inverse association between treatment with pubertal suppression during adolescence and lifetime suicidal ideation among transgender adults who ever wanted this treatment. These results align with past literature, suggesting that pubertal suppression for transgender adolescents who want this treatment is associated with favorable mental health outcomes.

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