Paruresis, aka “shy bladder” syndrome, is a phobia marked by trouble urinating, or urinary hesitancy, in the presence of others. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you experience an irrational fear of something.
The phobia component of shy bladder syndrome is the fear of landing in a situation where you won’t have the necessary privacy to urinate. Thus, paruresis urination anxiety literally interferes with your quality of life.
With paruresis, you’ll likely avoid public restrooms and the like. So when you’re out and about in social environments, your shy bladder causes urinary retention.
Some experience urination anxiety symptoms, including:
Paruretics may avoid circumstances that cause urinary hesitancy and retention. As such, it reduces their anxiety associated with the inability to urinate, but reinforces the phobia.
Urinary hesitancy and retention can be caused by other health issues, such as:
- enlarged prostate
- neurologic disorders
- urinary tract infection
- certain cold remedies, nasal decongestants, antidepressants, anticholinergics
Since shy bladder syndrome is not typically revealed, many paruretics feel a sense of shame, humiliation, isolation and may suffer depression.
Some with urination anxiety have found success with self-catheterization or SSRIs to help with their peeing shyness causing retention and hesitation.