One of the popular programs on Sun Network has been Dr X. I don’t know how they came up with that name, but I personally think it is brilliant. It is a show that talks about sexual health and medicine in a candid manner. A late night 60 minutes show usually aired on Saturdays at half past ten . The host, Mr.Malaiappan, an extremely gifted gentleman, a man who wears many hats, fits the role to a T. From time to time, I get a chance to be a guest on this show.
One of the most frequent questions on the show is about the “Dhat Syndrome!” What are we talking about here? Dhat syndrome is a condition where young men complain of weakness, anxiety and fear of impotence with associated loss of semen in urine. Most often seen in young males of the Indian Subcontinent, it could almost be branded as a culture bound syndrome. The most frequent complaint would be that after a few months/years of regular masturbation, the man finds that his penis has shrunk, the erections are not hard enough and the body feels weak. This most probably comes from the belief that one drop of semen would equal many drops of blood. The word Dhat has its origin in the Sanskrit word “Dhatus” which basically means “Vital fluid necessary for life”. So when there is loss of semen, there is anxiety and this in time can become dysphoric.
In truth, there is no connection between loss of semen and vitality. Semen is produced by the seminal vesicles, prostate and other accessory glands on a regular basis. The testis contributes to semen by producing sperm. Many of these processes are hormone dependent and continue through the reproductive years with a steady decline in old age. In fact when the storage of semen exceeds production, there is automatic emptying which results in nocturnal emissions, the so called “Wet Dreams”.
Young men are often led astray by advertisements offering relief for the so called “Dhat syndrome”. They end up with quacks who prescribe expensive medications which are off label, potentially dangerous and which need to be consumed over many months. Some of these medicines may contain heavy metals resulting in permanent damage to body organs and plausibly fertility. Also the fear is constantly reinforced by repeated visits to these clinics. Many of these patients are nervous wrecks who are unsure of getting married due to performance issues. It is in fact very disheartening to see even the urban population being caught up in this.
In Summary, The “Dhat” is a mind thing. Masturbation is not harmful. In fact sometimes, in sex therapy, masturbation is recommended as part of a behavioural technique. Semen loss is not equal to blood loss and will not impact vitality. No medication is required. There is only this and no Dhat…….
Author: Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran, MS, FIAGES, FSM (USA), FECSM (Oxford, UK),FUROGYN (USA), FANDRO, DCE
UroGynecologist, Andrologist and Sexual Medicine Consultant,