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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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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Ninnemann, K. (2012). Shenkui. In: Loue, S., Sajatovic, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health. Springer, New York, NY.

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