Medical experts refer to the shy bladder syndrome as paruresis. Even though it is not commonly talked about, many people suffer from it. Statistics show that as much as 7% of the entire US population are affected – that’s about 17 million people.
If you are unable to urinate in the presence of others – for example in a public restroom, then you are one of them. Paruresis is more common among than, but there is also a small percentage of women who are “pee-shy”.
What’s even more strange is that for many paruresis patients, just imagining another person can prevent them from urinating. It is quiet common to feel a certain kind of embarrassment sometimes in public restrooms. A relaxed attitude towards it is certainly more healthful, but it is not something that you have to seek out help for. However, when it’s more than the common kind of embarrassment, and it goes so far that you’re unable to urinate in a public restroom, then you ought to seek out help.
In some extreme cases, the shy bladder syndrome can prevent people from urinating any place at all except for the toilet in their own home. So even when visiting a friend and using their private bathroom, these people are unable to urinate. Other’s can’t urinate if there are environmental sounds or people in the vicinity who could just hear the sound of them urinating. If you notice that you have shy bladder syndrome, it’s important that you do something about it before it get’s that bad.
The way you can get over this problem is basically the same thing as overcoming social anxiety.
Specially support groups, therapists and hypnosis for paruresis have shown to be effective.
Shy bladder syndrome can become a real problem when a person has to do a drug test. Some employers require their prospective job applicants to do a urinary drug test. In these cases, there is an observer present during the urination to make sure that it is indeed that person’s urine that is being given to the laboratory. There are reported cases of people not getting a job they would otherwise have gotten because they were unable to perform the drug test because of their bashful bladder – but the employers did not accept that and assumed that the person probably was taking drugs and thus refused to do the drug test.
It’s not always embarrassment
Interestingly, while in some cases a fear of being embarrassed does play a role, some people are not at all concerned about that. In fact, they don’t notice any form of anxiety or embarrassment, they simply can’t urinate – for apparently no particular reason at all. In those cases, there often is a subconscious thought pattern that prevents certain reflex actions from taking place.
While in many cases childhood traumas do play a role, often there people who have the shy bladder syndrome feel insecure or inadequate in many situations of their life.
Other names are: urophobia, bashful bladder, bashful kidneys, pee-shyness, or psychogenic urinary retention.