Shrinking Penis Syndrome – When It’s All in a Man’s Head

Many men fret, unnecessarily, about their penis size. For most men, the concern is that their penises are smaller than they “should” be, but this worry doesn’t interfere with their ability to lead healthy, well-adjusted lives and remain sexually active. But some men fear not only that their members are small, but that they are actually shrinking. While there are medical conditions that can cause the penis to retract, some men with perfect penis health think their organs are being pulled back into their bodies. This psychological condition has several names, including koro, shrinking penis and genital retraction syndrome.

Who Gets It?

Genital retraction syndrome can affect both men and women – women who suffer think their vulvas and nipples are being drawn back into their bodies. People with this syndrome have intense anxiety about the suspected retraction, and some believe that they are going to die from it.


There is no one sure cause of koro, but several factors may influence its development. It is believed to have strong links to culture; though anyone can suffer from it, it is more prevalent in Asia. Cultural myths, themes and beliefs about sex can influence one’s perception of his genitalia. There have even been episodes of mass hysteria involving koro, called “penis panics,” in which a group of people simultaneously think their penises are shrinking.

A person may be more likely to suffer from shrinking penis syndrome if he has other psychological or physical issues with sex, including:

– A belief that masturbation is shameful

– Feelings of sexual inadequacy

– Impotence

Koro is only present when the unreasonable belief and anxiety last for a prolonged period of time or recur. If it’s cold out and a man notices his equipment has shrunk, it’s not necessarily a sign of a psychological disorder if he feels a twinge of fear. But if he thinks his rod will never return to normal, or, once it does, he suspects that it’s still retracted, then he has a problem.

Causes of Actual Shrinkage

A man also does not suffer from koro if a physical condition is actually causing the penis to retract or shrink. Such conditions include:

– Stress: Muscle tension caused by stress can affect the pelvic floor muscles, which attach to the base of the penis. If these are tense, they can exert a pull on the member and cause retraction.

– Peyronie’s Disease: This condition is caused by scar tissue that has built up around the erectile chambers of the penis, and it can be accompanied by shrinkage, pain and the inability to perform.

– Clogged Arteries: This isn’t just something that hurts the heart. A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet promote the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which disrupts blood flow throughout the body, including the penis. Without adequate circulation, the member can’t extend to its true size.

– Smoking: Like plaque, smoking affects the ability of blood to flow freely throughout the body. Male smokers have been found in research to have shorter penises than non-smokers.


Treating genital retraction syndrome generally involves a combination of psychotherapy and education. Information, along with physical reinforcements such as measurements, can challenge patients’ beliefs about penis shrinkage. In therapy, patients may work with a therapist to explore potential origins of their beliefs, identify correlating conditions and reduce anxiety levels.

While obsessive fears about genital retraction constitute a psychological disorder, there’s nothing wrong with taking steps to support optimal penis health as men age. Adding a penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) to the care regimen can help penile tissues stay strong and healthy. Look for ingredients like Shea butter for smooth skin and vitamin C for circulatory support. Such a cream won’t make the penis bigger, but it can support the nerves, blood vessels and skin cells in the member.