What is it?

Paruresis, also known as "shy bladder syndrome" or "bashful bladder," is a type of social anxiety disorder characterized by an individual's difficulty or inability to urinate in the presence of others, particularly in public restrooms. This condition can significantly impact a person's daily life and may lead to avoidance of social situations or places where urination is required.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Shy bladder syndrome
- Bashful bladder

Signs & symptoms

- Difficulty initiating or maintaining urination in the presence of others.
- Increased anxiety or stress when attempting to urinate in public restrooms or crowded places.
- Avoidance of situations that may require urination in public, leading to physical discomfort or bladder problems.
- Negative impact on social, occupational, or educational functioning.


Paruresis is typically diagnosed based on reported symptoms and the exclusion of other potential medical conditions that could cause similar symptoms. A healthcare professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, may conduct an evaluation or assessment to determine the presence and severity of paruresis.


Treatment approaches for paruresis generally involve psychological interventions and may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapy focuses on identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs associated with urinating in public, as well as gradually exposing the individual to situations that trigger anxiety.
- Gradual desensitization: This technique involves progressively exposing the person to increasingly challenging situations related to urination in a controlled and supportive environment.
- Relaxation techniques: Learning relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation, can help reduce anxiety in triggering situations.
- Medication: In some cases, anti-anxiety medications or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed to manage symptoms, particularly if other treatments have been ineffective.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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