Koro is one of a number of names for a hysterical condition known medically as Genital Retraction Syndrome, whose victims become convinced that their genitals are disappearing into their bodies. It can be contagious, sparking off “penis panics”, such as the one that overtook Singapore in 1967 in which thousands of men became convinced that their penises were being stolen; it was contained by a complete media blackout on the condition. Often blamed on witchcraft, Koro typically strikes in less developed parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, where belief in sorcery remains strong. It’s thought to be an extreme overreaction to normal genital shrinking from cold or other causes. Koro can be treated with medical reassurance and anti-anxiety medications.
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