Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Kristi Ninnemann
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_700

Shenkui is a Chinese culture-bound syndrome attributed to excessive semen loss. Similar to the more widely studied dhat found most frequently in India, sufferers of shenkui endorse both physical and psychological symptoms which are ascribed to an imbalance in Yin and Yang. Semen is an essential component of Yang, or male energy, and disharmony, or an excess of Yin, can result from semen deficiency and loss. It is believed that excessive semen can be lost through repeated sexual intercourse, masturbation, nocturnal emissions, or through the perceived passing of semen in white or turbid urine. Physical symptoms of shenkui include general weakness and malaise, musculoskeletal pain often in the back or kidney region, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. Males presenting with the disorder often report high levels of anxiety and panic, as well as fear that the loss of Yang through semen loss will result in death.

Shenkuiis classified as a culture-bound syndrome in the DSM IV-TR and the...

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Suggested Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition text revision (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC: APA.Google Scholar
  2. Sumathipala, A., Siribaddana, S., & Bhugra, D. (2004). Culture-bound syndromes: The story of dhat syndrome. British Journal of Psychiatry, 184, 200–209.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Trujillo, M. (2008). Multicultural aspects of mental health. Primary Psychiatry, 15(4), 65–71, 77–84.Google Scholar
  4. World Health Organization. (2003). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: Diagnostic criteria for research. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristi Ninnemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA