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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-118

Shrinking and psychological disappearance of the penis: A salient psychocultural issue in Nigeria

Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_10_21

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Koro syndrome is a psychiatric disorder characterized, by severe anxiety, with grievances of a shrinking penis in men and fear of its retraction into the abdomen and consequent death. Koro is also identified as genital retraction syndrome or shrinking penis syndrome, and it was recognized in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition in the section of culture-bound syndromes. There are numerous reported cases of penis loss in Nigeria, the suspicion associated with penile retraction usually transforms into a severe panic attack concerning fear of loss of potency and virility in men. Psychosocial factors, cultural belief, religious doctrine, strong confidence in the mystical powers of voodoo, and present mental condition of an individual often act as stimulus in the reported cases of male genital retraction and mysterious penis theft in West Africa. Moreover, in Nigeria, it is often believed that individual genitals were stolen for ritual and occultic purposes. Patients with Koro can be treated using psychotherapy with reference to the underlying symptoms and mental disorder.

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