Logo femininebook.com
General Practice 2023

Gênero dysphoria: what é, how to identify and what to do

Table of contents:

Gênero dysphoria: what é, how to identify and what to do
Gênero dysphoria: what é, how to identify and what to do

Gender dysphoria is a dissatisfaction between the sex a person is born with (genital characteristics at birth) and gender identity, which is the person's emotional and social experience as female, male, or androgynous. That is, a person who is born male, but identifies as female and vice versa.

Thus, people with gender dysphoria may feel trapped in a body that they do not consider to be their own, and may experience anguish, stress, discomfort, anxiety, irritability, or even depression. These feelings can also get in the way of a person's social relationships, such as in the workplace, friendships, and family relationships.

Some types of treatment such as psychotherapy, hormone therapy and, in some cases, surgical treatment, can help alleviate feelings of discomfort, distress or suffering in the person with gender dysphoria.

How to identify

Gender dysphoria can start around age 2 or 3, however, some people may recognize feelings of dysphoria only when they reach adolescence or adulthood.

1. Symptoms in Children

Children with gender dysphoria may experience the following symptoms:

  • Want to wear clothes made for children of the opposite sex;
  • Constantly claim to belong to the opposite sex;
  • Pretend they are the opposite sex in various situations;
  • They like to play more with toys and games associated with the other sex;
  • Show negative feelings towards their genitals;
  • Avoid playing with other children of their own sex;
  • Prefer to have playmates of the opposite sex.

Furthermore, children may also avoid playing characteristic of the opposite sex, or, if the child is a female, she may urinate standing up or urinate while sitting, if it is a boy.

2. Symptoms in Adolescents and Adults

Some people with gender dysphoria only realize the disconnect between birth sex and gender identity when they are teenagers or adults, and may start by wearing women's clothes, and only later realize they have gender dysphoria, for example. However, gender dysphoria should not be confused with transvestism, which is when a person experiences sexual arousal when wearing clothes of the opposite sex, but may still feel a sense of belonging to their birth sex.

Other characteristics of the adolescent or adult with gender dysphoria may include a strong desire to get rid of or prevent the development (in the adolescent) of their sexual characteristics or a desire for the sexual characteristics of the gender they identify with.

People who only recognize gender dysphoria in adulthood may also develop symptoms of depression, anxiety or even suicidal behavior, for fear of not being accepted by society, family and friends.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis of gender dysphoria is usually made by a psychologist, and the evaluation of a multidisciplinary team, including an endocrinologist, social worker and nurse is also recommended for an empathic, welcoming and patient-centered assessment.

Gender dysphoria is usually confirmed in cases where people feel for 6 months or more that their birth sex is incompatible with their gender identity, having aversion to their anatomy, in addition to feeling extreme distress, losing their willingness and motivation to perform day-to-day tasks.

What to do to deal with dysphoria

In addition to being essential to receive support from friends and family, to deal with dysphoria, it is essential to have the individualized and constant follow-up of a multidisciplinary team so that it is possible to listen, guide and help the person's decisions, aiming at general well-being.

People with gender dysphoria, but who do not have feelings of distress or depression, for example, usually do not need help. However, some people may need psychotherapy, hormone therapy, and in some cases, sex reassignment surgery.

1. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy consists of a series of sessions, accompanied by a psychologist or a psychiatrist, where the objective is not to change the person's feelings about their gender identity, but to deal with the suffering caused by the anguish of feeling in a body that is not yours or of not feeling accepted by society.

The person with gender dysphoria may be more vulnerable to mental disorders, either because of the social context such as stigma, prejudice and discrimination or because they need help to facilitate the identification and expression of a comfortable gender.Therefore, a respectful, conscious and unbiased approach by a psychotherapist can help the person's self-acceptance and general well-being.

2. Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is therapy based on drugs that decrease the production of sex hormones to minimize the person's birth sex characteristics and induce the desired sex characteristics.

Because they cause some side effects, such as weight gain, acne, hair loss or type 2 diabetes, it is important that the use of hormones is followed by an endocrinologist and a psychologist.

In men, the drug normally used is the combination of estrogen and antiandrogen, which leads to breast growth, decreased penis size, reduced muscle mass and voice change.

In women, the hormone normally used is testosterone, which leads to the growth of hair throughout the body, including a beard, increased muscle mass and deepening of the voice.

3. Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is done with the aim of reshaping the genitals according to the desired sex and physical appearance, so that the person has the body they feel comfortable with. This surgery can be performed on both sexes and consists of the construction of new genitalia and the removal of other organs.

Because it is an irreversible procedure, to perform the surgery the person must have a follow-up of at least 2 years with professionals such as a psychologist and endocrinologist to confirm that the new physical identity is really suitable for the person. Find out how and where this surgery is performed.

Popular topic