Historically, the small numbers of children presenting with gender dysphoria were primarily prepubescent males. In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in referrals of adolescents, and particularly adolescent females, to gender clinics. Many do not have a significant history of childhood gender dysphoria and a number suffer from comorbid mental health issues and neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The reasons for these changes are understudied and remain poorly understood.
Childhood-onset gender dysphoria has been shown to have a high rate of natural resolution, with 61-98% of children reidentifying with their biological sex during puberty. The research into the course of gender dysphoria desistance among the cohort presenting with adolescent-onset gender dysphoria is still in its infancy, due to the novelty of this presentation. However, recent research from the UK clinic population suggests that 10-12% of youth may be detransitioning within 16 months to 5 years of initiating medical interventions, with an additional 20-22% discontinuing treatments for a range of reasons. The researchers noted that the detransition rate found in the recently-presenting population raises critical questions about the phenomenon of "overdiagnosis, overtreatment, or iatrogenic harm as found in other medical fields."