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Dhat syndrome is a condition found in the cultures of the Indian subcontinent in which male patients report that they suffer from premature ejaculation or impotence, and believe that they are passing semen in their urine.

In traditional Hindu spirituality, semen is described as a 'vital fluid'. The discharge of this 'vital fluid', either through sex or masturbation, is associated with marked feelings of anxiety and dysphoria. Often the patient describes the loss of a whitish fluid while passing urine. At other times, marked feelings of guilt associated with what the patient assumes is 'excessive' masturbation are noted.


Young males are most often affected, though similar symptoms have been reported in females with excessive vaginal discharge or leucorrhea which is also considered a 'vital fluid'.

Premature ejaculation and impotence are commonly seen. Other somatic symptons like weakness, easy fatiguability, palpitations, insomnia, low mood, guilt and anxiety are often present. Males sometimes report a subjective feeling that their penises have shortened.

Culture-bound Syndrome?

Some doctor believe dhat syndrome to be either a culture bound syndromes presentation of clinical depression as a somatized set of symptoms or a result of Western doctors' misinterpretation of patients' descriptions of their condition.

Others see it as a distinct clinical entity which is less culture-bound than these critics assert, and describe it as one form of a syndrome of "semen-loss anxiety" which also occurs in other Eastern cultures as jiryan and shen-k'uei, as well as in Western cultures.


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is the mainstay of treatment.

At other times counselling, anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications have been shown to be of use.

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