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(p. 167) Koro—A Genital Retraction Syndrome 

(p. 167) Koro—A Genital Retraction Syndrome
(p. 167) Koro—A Genital Retraction Syndrome

Petra Garlipp

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date: 20 September 2021

Koro involves the spurious belief that certain body parts, such as the penis in men and the vulva in women, are retracting into the body. The origin of the word, “koro,” is connected to the Malaysian term for the retracting of a turtle’s head. Upon complete retraction of the body part in question, death is the feared consequence. The first descriptions of koro-like symptoms (with some similarity to panic disorder symptomatology) can be found in ancient Chinese medical records that are over two thousand years old. Although koro is often thought to be a disorder associated with Asian populations, cases in other parts of the world have been regularly reported. Moreover, koro can occur as individualized cases or full-blown epidemics. Certain indigenous treatment practices can be dangerous, and several means of treating the possible conditions underlying koro are discussed.

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