LivingChemical castration: what it consists of, what it is...

Chemical castration: what it consists of, what it is used for and which countries currently approve it

The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, announced on April 16 his intention to propose chemical castration for rapists of minors. The proposal comes after knowing the case of what they call “the monster of Chiclayo”, Juan Antonio Enríquez, a 48-year-old man who would have kidnapped a little girl of only 3 to sexually assault her. In the Andean country and according to data from the Ministry of Women, in just four years 21,000 children under the age of 14 have suffered sexual abuse.

Peru is not the only candidate country to apply this controversial measure, which is legal in Russia, Poland, South Korea, Indonesia, Moldova and in seven US states.

In our country, chemical castration is voluntary : it has to be the prisoner himself who requests it. This was precisely what happened with Alejandro Martínez Singul, “the second rapist in the Eixample”, a repeat offender who asked to submit to her after serving his last sentence and being released in 2013.

What is chemical castration?

Chemical castration is a procedure that seeks to annul the sexual behavior of men . To do this, he is given antiandrogenic drugs that suppress the functions of male hormones. Although there is talk of “castration”, no form of sterilization is performed or the body is physically altered as is the case with surgical castration in which the testicles or ovaries are removed. The effects of chemical castration are reversible : as soon as the drugs are stopped, the sexual drive reappears.

The chemical castration procedure is not without controversy . Some human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have positioned themselves against it, calling it a cruel and degrading method.

On the other hand, this method does not really teach a behavior, but represses the sexual impulse. As we have said before, if the drugs are stopped, the desire will arise again. Experts recommend that chemical castration should always be accompanied by psychological therapy.

Chemical castration against prostate cancer

Perhaps less known is the use of chemical castration as a therapy against prostate cancer . What happens in this case is that androgens, which are male hormones including testosterone, cause prostate cancer cells to grow and what is sought with chemical castration is to reduce the effects of androgens on the organism.

There are three ways to achieve this:

  • Preventing the testicles from producing androgens using surgery or medication.
  • Block the action of androgens in the body.
  • Prevent the body from producing androgens.

This hormone therapy is not applied to all prostate cancer patients. It is mainly used in cases of advanced cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland, in cancers that have not responded to surgery or radiation, or in cases where the disease has come back. Therefore, in stage I or II prostate cancers it is almost never used.

Chemical castration can also be used to shrink tumors before radiation or surgery, and in combination with radiation therapy for cancers that are prone to recurrence.

Side effects of chemical castration

Male hormones affect the entire body. For this reason, treatments that reduce them can cause many different side effects . The longer the treatment, the more likely side effects will occur.

The most common side effects are the following:

  • Difficulty achieving an erection and lack of sexual interest.
  • Shrinkage of the testicles and penis.
  • hot flashes
  • Weakening and even fractures of the bones.
  • Smaller and weaker muscles.
  • Changes in blood lipids, such as cholesterol.
  • Changes in blood sugar.
  • Weight gain.
  • Humor changes.
  • Fatigue.
  • Breast tissue growth and breast tenderness.
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.



MedlinePlus in Spanish [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (USA). Hormonal therapy for prostate cancer; [updated 1 apr. 2022; revised 23 sept. 2019; query 20 apr. 2022]; Available at:

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