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Hard flaccid syndrome: initial report of four cases

Abstract

Hard flaccid (HF) is a group of symptoms that significantly affects a man’s sexual and social life. As this syndrome has only been reported in several patient forums, exact prevalence of this rare condition is unknown. Currently, no scientific literature exists of the syndrome. We, hereby, aimed to present four cases suffering from HF and compare the common signs and symptoms with those reported in patient forums. We searched internet forums, chat groups, and private support groups to collect information about symptoms of HF patients. We have identified several complaints regarding penis, erections, libido, urination, and ejaculation. Moreover, we have also collected common findings of laboratory and imaging tests that are used in the workup of HF. The majority of the HF patients is in their 20s–30s. Patients usually seek medical advice due to the following complaints: penile sensory changes (numb or cold), semi-rigid penis at the flaccid state, decreased frequency of morning and/or nocturnal erections, loss in erectile rigidity, difficulty in achieving and maintaining their erections, need for excessive physical or visual stimulation to become erect, and pain on ejaculation and/or urination. Psychological symptoms are usually present ranging from mild anxiety to severe depression. Moreover, laboratory and imaging tests are often unremarkable. Our cases included men between the ages of 22 and 34 years of age and they all reported the onset of their symptoms after a trauma during sexual intercourse or tough masturbation. Compared with reports in patient forums, many of these symptoms (except the urination problems) were observed in our patients and the imaging/laboratory tests were inconclusive. The patients were provided daily/on-demand phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, which were not effective. Currently, HF syndrome has not been universally recognized by urologists and a number of patients seem to suffer from this disorder. In order to raise awareness of this clinical phenomenon, HF must be recognized by professional organizations and a better understanding of the disorder must be established.

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Correspondence to Ege Can Serefoglu.

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Gul, M., Towe, M., Yafi, F.A. et al. Hard flaccid syndrome: initial report of four cases. Int J Impot Res 32, 176–179 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-019-0133-z

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