Koro syndrome or Genital Retraction Syndrome (GRS) is a psychological disorder that is distinguished by person’s conviction that his penis is becoming smaller i.e. shrinking and will eventually disappear and lead to deadly outcome. That explains another name for the disorder which is penis panic.
Koro syndrome is accompanied by acute panic and dread of losing penis. This syndrome can be also seen in women that on their part believe their breasts and vaginal lips are getting retracted into body.
Genital retraction syndrome can sometimes occur simultaneously in masses. This was mostly seen in Africa and Asia. Famous penis panic hysteria happened in Singapore in 1967.
The name Koro originates from Malay word which means “head of the turtle”.
Overweighted men can be prone to this disorder since they can’t see the penis because of a big belly. Also, men suffering from scrotal swelling can start to believe their penis is getting suck in abdomen.
Occurrence Among Different Cultures
Koro syndrome is historically well known. It was firstly reported in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, Chinese text from 300 B.C.
Chinese term shock is Chinese name for this psychological disorder and was reported many times.
In the past, penis retraction was explained by supernatural causes while recently it was believed, among Northern Thailand patients, that this occurs due to water poisoning done by Vietnamese communists.
Sudanese patients believe that they might lose their penis if they engage in physical contact like hands shaking or if exchange comb or receive verbal course. Some Sudanese believe that Zionists are trying to prevent them to reproduce.
Xenophobia or fear of foreigners can be associated with Koro syndrome where foreigners are blamed for penis loss.
Koro syndrome is connected to religious beliefs and witchcraft. It can occur when people feel strong guilt because engaging in masturbation or when they think it is sort of magic brought on them for genital theft.
Koro syndrome is not physically threatening since penis retraction is just an illusion. Still affected persons may harm themselves when they try to prevent their penis from retracting into abdomen. They sometimes use hooks, needles, shoe strings and similar.
Treatment consist of medications like alprazolam and imipramine.
In case you suffer from Koro syndrome you should keep in mind that fully grown penis cannot shrink, life cannot be endangered because of the penis, penis can alter size only during erection and that the penis consists only of tissue that can be filled with blood and change the penis size briefly.