Shy Bladder

paruresis or shy bladder is social anxietyParuresis

Paruresis, bashful or shy bladder syndrome as it is more commonly known is sometimes referred to as the ' secret social phobia'. But secret or not it has a huge impact on the people who are suffering with it. Something like 17 million Americans and an unspecified number of Aussies are dealing with this condition.

According to Better Health Victoria Paruresis is one of the more common types of social phobia. It is definately an anxiety based problem and as with most phobias, thinking styles are a big part of the problem. The condition usually develops after an embarassing event or comment, for some people it goes back to school days or when having to pee in a cup at the doctors.


  • Inability to urinate in public toilets
  • Unable to urinate at home if someone is in the house or can hear you
  • Feeling anxious about needing to go to the toilet
  • Restricting fluid intake to ensure you wont neet to go to the toilet while out
  • Avoiding travel
  • Not attending social events for fear of having to go to the toilet while away from home

How It Works

For people with paruresis, the anxiety about going to the toilet overstimulates the nervous system which clamps the internal sphincter shut making urination basically impossible. Naturally enough this increases the sufferers anxiety and a catch twenty-two develops so that every time the sufferer thinks about having to go to the toilet they worry about not being able to and the problem continues to escalate.


The Secret Social Phobia: Shy Bladder? - An informative article written by Liza Jane Malten, published June 11th 2001 by WebMD.

Looks Easy Enough...but not for everyone -a good article from The Age



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