Journal of Human Reproductive Science
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 246

Dhat syndrome: Will it reach a height or die soon?

Department of Psychiatry, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication25-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Sujita Kumar Kar
Department of Psychiatry, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-1208.170421

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How to cite this article:
Kar SK. Dhat syndrome: Will it reach a height or die soon?. J Hum Reprod Sci 2015;8:246

How to cite this URL:
Kar SK. Dhat syndrome: Will it reach a height or die soon?. J Hum Reprod Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Dec 7];8:246. Available from:


Dhat syndrome is a culture-bound syndrome commonly seen in South-East Asia. Patients with Dhat syndrome often give exaggerated significance to loss of semen or semen-like substances and attribute it to their psychosomatic symptoms. Culture has a definite contribution to the manifestation of this syndrome. [1] In the recent years, there is increased reporting of Dhat syndrome from different corners of the world. [2] The reasons for increased and widespread reporting of Dhat syndrome indicate to two different possibilities. The first being poor culture-boundness of Dhat syndrome as ancient Western literature also emphasized the importance of semen and consequences of semen loss, like the Asian culture; hence it is a more a global phenomenon, rather than being a culture-bound one. [2] The second possibility is being-recent trends of globalization, which results in intercontinental migration leading to mixing of cultures. [1] The migrants from different cultures assimilate the new culture after migration to a country of different culture, at the same time, they also dissipate their native cultural characteristics, which may attenuate their symptom of culture-bound syndrome and may infuse their concepts to the new culture, leading to emergence of symptoms in individuals of other culture.

This process may possibly result in increased incidence of Dhat syndrome in other cultures. Another reason that predicts the possible increase in global prevalence of Dhat syndrome is increased awareness and research in this area. Search in MEDLINE database, using the keyword "Dhat syndrome" found 52 articles, out of which 33 were published in last 10 years, and 22 were in last 5 years though the entity is known over 50 years and introduced in international classificatory system for more than 22 years. [3] This shows the increase in research in this area, which is likely to continue in future promoting the clinical assessment in the light of culture-boundness.

On the other hand, increasing educational awareness of sexual health, demystification of sexual concepts, and influence of other cultures on South-East Asian cultures are more likely to put a brake in the increased reporting of Dhat syndrome.

However, seeing the current trend of global acculturation and deculturation as well as increasing migration from South-East Asian countries to Western countries, it can be anticipated that Dhat syndrome will reach a height before it dies.

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   References Top

Ventriglio A, Ayonrinde O, Bhugra D. Relevance of culture-bound syndromes in the 21 st century. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2015. DOI: 10.1111/pcn.12359. [Epub ahead of print].  Back to cited text no. 1
Sumathipala A, Siribaddana SH, Bhugra D. Culture-bound syndromes: The story of Dhat syndrome. Br J Psychiatry 2004;184:200-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Udina M, Foulon H, Valdés M, Bhattacharyya S, Martín-Santos R. Dhat syndrome: A systematic review. Psychosomatics 2013;54:212-8.  Back to cited text no. 3


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