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Koro Syndrome: Causes of genital disappearance in Nigeria revealed


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Recent reports of genitals disappearing around the country have sparked panic episodes about men losing potency and virility.

Friday saw 62 reported disappearances of manhood in the Federal Capital Territory, according to the Police Command.

Manhood vanishing is often thought to be ritual-related. However, Koro syndrome may be the cause.

A National Library of Medicine study found that Koro syndrome is a multi-tiered condition that causes a strong belief that one’s genital organs are shrinking inside the body.

The study “Koro Syndrome: Epidemiology, Psychiatric and Physical Risk Factors, Clinical Presentation, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options” found moderate to severe anxiety attacks and a fear of death.

Yukino Strong of the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine found that young guys who believe in sex myths often develop anxiety, depression, or psychosis.

Strong and co-authors noted that while most Koro cases are self-limiting, the illness can damage self-esteem and quality of life, and some people may take drastic, physically dangerous efforts to prevent genital retraction.

The study’s authors found that men dread their penis shrinking into their abdomen and women fear their vulva and breasts shrinking into their abdomen and chest, which are symptoms of death.

Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, Medical Director and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Pinnacle Medical Services, defined Koro Syndrome, also known as the shrinking penis syndrome, as an uncommon mental health disorder that has confused doctors and researchers for centuries.

It commonly occurs under intense stress, anxiety, or social upheaval in these societies. Significant life transitions, relationship troubles, and cultural pressures may increase the risk of this condition.

“The fear of genital retraction can become a symbolic representation of their anxieties, magnified and distorted within the confines of their cultural beliefs,” she said on Facebook.

She claims it is neither witchcraft nor a spiritual attack but has a remedy.

Another NLM study described Koro syndrome as a psychiatric condition with acute anxiety and a strong fear of penis shrinkage and abdominal retraction, which will kill.

The study “The Koro (genital retraction) syndrome and its association with infertility: a case report” noted that the syndrome’s association with a urogenital pathology is rare.

The aetiology of Koro is unknown; however, education, age, gender, and marital status are risk factors. The original study authors stated that Koro epidemics can emerge through news and media spreading concerns, opinions, and rumours, and the clinical course (days to months) is usually self-limiting.

They say Koro syndrome’s physical risk factors and comorbidities entail genital or urogenital dysfunction.

Male secondary Koro syndrome is caused by infertility, corpus callosum tumours, and urethrocutaneous fistula. Genital pain was linked to fear of genital retraction in an anxiety disorder and Koro syndrome patient.

The specialists explained that Koro syndrome causes acute anxiety episodes because of a person’s overpowering perception that their genital organs are retracting and disappearing into their body and that this retraction is fatal, despite no physical changes.

These anxiety attacks normally last several hours but can extend for two days. These bouts can last decades for Koro victims. Koro patients may also experience psychotic depression, which lowers self-esteem and mental health.

“Koro is diagnosed through psychological evaluation and genital organ examination to rule out physical disorders like hypospadias or measurable, sustained genital retraction. They stated that genital (penis) retraction despite objective proof, dread and anxiety, and physical attempts to prevent or reverse it are the main diagnostic criteria.

Medical, psychological, and social interventions are used to treat and manage

“If applicable, anxiolytics, antidepressants, sedatives, or antipsychotics are prescribed based on patients’ co-presenting psychiatric conditions because improvement in these conditions often leads to Koro symptom resolution,” they said.

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