Can’t Pee in Public? You May Have Paruresis

When someone can’t pee in public due to fear it is called paruresis

One of the most common phobias, people who suffer from paruresis have a paralyzing fear of going to the bathroom in front of others. They are struck by a kind of stage fright or performance anxiety that makes it nearly impossible for them to squeeze a single drop unless they have complete and total privacy.  It doesn’t even matter if they have bathroom stall to themselves, sufferers can rarely relieve themselves because they believe others are listening and judging them.

Although not well known by the public, more than 21 million Americans struggle with shy bladder syndrome on a regular basis. Most are embarrassed by their inability to use public restrooms, which is why the disorder is not common knowledge. Often labeled a social disorder, there is growing evidence that the true cause of paruresis may be psychological.

Like many mental issues, the condition ranges in severity and is often situational.  For example, a man that suffers from paruresis may be able to relieve himself at a bank of urinals if the nearest person is several urinals away. But if that person is right next to him, he may not be able to go no matter how hard he tries.


Leave a Reply