Paruresis (Bashful/Shy Bladder Syndrome)

Paruresis - a derelict public toilet can cause a shy bladder

Also known as shy bladder syndrome or bashful bladder syndrome, paruresis is the fear of passing urine in a public toilet. It affects about 7% of the population, and may be a fear of keeping others waiting, fear of enclosed spaces, others hearing the splash of urine, or (for a man) of being watched while urinating in a public urinal. Some sufferers are unable to urinate anywhere except their own home toilet.

Treatment involves behaviour therapies with the help of a psychologist, which expose the patient to situations that are gradually more stressful (eg. using the toilet in a hotel room while alone as a first step). Any pathological cause (eg. prostate enlargement) must be excluded before behaviour therapy is started.

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