Does Bashful Bladder Only Affect Men?
No. Paruresis affects both men and women although it tends to affect men more. This is because of privacy issues … women don’t have a row of open urinals to contend with!
When you think about it, shy bladder probably affects people in just 3 ways:
- Difficulty in peeing in a public urinal but fine in a public restroom cubicle.
- Can’t start a stream in a public toilet cubicle but no problems at home.
- Difficulty when people are around at all times … even the home environment.
So, that means that women can only be affected by 2 of the above 3 symptoms.
In addition, it’s also probably true (again for the reasons above) that there is a reduced awareness of the condition amongst women.
How Is Shy Bladder Syndrome Diagnosed?
In a position where you find it hard to start a flow? It’s important to first check it out with a medical professional before you do anything else. Whilst, as stated previously, paruresis is a form of social anxiety you should ensure there’s no underlying medical condition behind the symptoms. Whilst not too common there are certain issues (often relating to the kidneys, bladder or prostate), that need to be checked first by a urologist.
If there’s no medical condition then it’s a question of trying to establish the root trigger that started the paruresis ball rolling. This is often easier said than done!
What Causes Paruresis or Shy Bladder Syndrome?
This is the big question and the answer is going to be different every case! It’s specific to each individual paruretic.
It’s a social anxiety – a kind of phobia. As such some thing, or some event, at some historical stage triggered the sub-conscious mind into programming itself to prevent the easy flow of urine when others are present or if there is a chance of others being around.
Typical triggers can occur at any stage of life. That said, they are most often associated with childhood or adolescence. It could have been as simple as criticism or pressure during potty training. Maybe it was some form of teasing or bullying in a school bathroom or public restroom. Alternatively it may have been triggered as a result of time pressure surrounding a urine test. It was some specific time when the person was ridiculed, judged or made to feel embarrassed about something relating to the way they pee or the time it took. Something historical is causing the mind to clamp shut the urethral sphincters. Establishing the root cause will make it easier to effectively re-program the mind to function normally.
Think back to recall an event that may just have been the start.
Can It Or Does It Get Worse?
Yes – most definitely. Paruresis will normally worsen if left untreated.
The mind is a complicated thing that recalls historical events which in turn can trigger a natural (but irrational) reflex in the body.
The first time you’re affected by shy bladder or have trouble peeing can be the start of that snowball rolling downhill and getting bigger and bigger. Next time you go to the toilet in similar circumstances your mind will pipe up “hey … remember last time you couldn’t start a flow cos someone was next to you?” and your body will shut off the flow. Next time you’re on your way to the restroom it could be you get this reminder before you even reach the restroom. It can further develop into thoughts like “so … you’ve been invited out on a hot date … but what if you need to pee?” In quite a number of cases paruretics don’t go out because of the condition!
It can affect life to that degree so it needs treatment as quickly as possible to stop it taking over your life.
Is There A Cure For Shy Bladder Syndrome?
Paruresis, as we’ve stated several times, is NOT a medical condition but a Social Anxiety Disorder. It can be fairly complex too. There’s no magic pill. No miracle drug that’s going to cure it. However, in answer to the question, we state a resounding YES … there IS a cure.
The cure itself lies in re-setting the mind. To make it automatically react in a rational manner and not to shut down the flow of urine when presented with certain situations. It’s a simple as that!
There’s various ways to do this. It’s not an overnight cure but, we can assure you that, with a little patience and full commitment, you can be cured.
Is Avoidant Paruresis Something Different?
Not really. It’s the same condition but this name refers to the fact the the paruretic avoids exposure to certain environments because of the condition. An avoidant Paruretic will therefore avoid situations that make it difficult or impossible for them to be able to pee. This may mean not attending social events, not going out with friends or, in extreme circumstances, rejecting a job offer because of urinary drugs tests. Read more about Avoidant Paruresis >
What Is The Treatment For Paruresis?
Treatment is based around fixing the mind to respond rationally when presented with a situation which currently causes anxiety. There are several proven and recognised ways in which we can do this:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy For Paruresis:
CBT (as it’s better known): A highly recognised type of psychotherapy. The process examines a person’s thoughts, beliefs and attitudes in relation to paruresis and looks at how they affect their emotions and behaviours. Sounds complicated but it isn’t! It’s basically looking at how the sub-conscious reacts right now and then teaching the mind to act in a different way automatically. Put simply it modifies and corrects dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. It’s recognised as one of the most effective ways of treating all kinds of social anxiety.
Read more about Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy For Paruresis >>>.
Graduated Exposure For Shy Bladder Syndrome:
Graduated Exposure Therapy: Basically about practising and gaining confidence. It’s a process in which the paruretic is gradually introduced to using public restrooms in circumstances which gradually get more and more challenging. Gaining confidence in each situation before progressing to the next even more challenging environment. This is often much easier with the support of a trained therapist or an understanding friend known as a “pee buddy”.
Read more about Graduated Exposure For Shy Bladder Syndrome >>>.
Breath Hold Technique For Bashful Bladder:
Proceed with caution! Always discuss with a medical professional before taking this route. This technique is proven to work but better results have been reported from paruretics who are OK with urinating when others are around – but only when they can get a flow started and that’s where they often have a problem.
The process, as the name suggests, involves holding your breath for as long as you can and need to in order to allow your muscles to relax. Thus resulting in a urinary sphincter so relaxed it will allow you to pee. Holding your breath results in an increase in carbon dioxide in the bloodstream which has been reported to help reduce many forms of anxiety and create a more relaxed bodily state.
Read more about Breathe Hold Technique For Bashful Bladder >>>.
Water Cure For Paruresis:
Often talked about but this is a technique that we’ll tell you about but do not endorse. Basically, water cure works on the principle that if you really need to pee then your body will let it go … no matter where you are. This treatment therefore involves drinking more water to the point where you simply HAVE to go. Whether it works or it’s simply a myth it comes with its dangers.
Read more about Water Cure For Paruresis >>>.
Self Hypnosis For Shy Bladder:
Hypnosis For Shy Bladder – an underrated treatment we feel! Hypnosis can teach you to re-train your subconscious mind to easily urinate when in the presence of others. We suggest you try out a self hypnosis treatment which can be much more cost effective than expensive sessions with a professionally trained hypnotherapist. It will also enable you to do it at your own pace and at convenient times. There are specific self hypnosis programs for shy bladder syndrome.
Read more about Self Hypnosis For Shy Bladder >>>.
Drugs To Help Against Pee Shyness:
Whilst a simple pill is not going to cure paruresis there are certain types of medication that your physician may prescribe in order to help. There are basically four types of medications which can help. But only in certain situations and when prescribed professionally:
- Medication to relieve anxiety.
- Muscle relaxants which target the bladder muscles.
- Medication to reduce urinary retention.
Under no circumstances should any such medication be administered without medical supervision.
Paruresis Support Groups:
A problem shared is a problem halved as the saying goes! And that’s pretty true we feel. It’s always good to open up to others in a similar situation to you, or someone who’s already been through what you’re going through right now. Find support and advice, practise different techniques and share stories with others who understand.
Believe it or not there are more than 80 such support groups across the US, a full network in the UK and all over the world.
Find out more about Paruresis Support Groups >>>.
Paruresis Treatment Programs:
There are a number of comprehensive treatment programs which cover all treatments, establish the optimum treatments that prove effective in individual cases and that really do work.
We have two which we particularly recommend – read more about our recommended Paruresis Treatment Programs >>>.