Paruresis is a form of social anxiety disorder in which the sufferer (paruretic) finds themselves unable to urinate in either the real or the imaginary presence of others. This applies to places such as in a public restroom, work toilets etc. Even if there’s merely a possibility of someone entering the restroom this too can have a detrimental impact. It’s not a sexist condition – shy bladder can change the lives of everyone. There are, however, different effects of shy bladder in women and men.
When you think about it like that one may expect shy bladder syndrome to be more common in men and for men to have a tendency to be more pee-shy than women. In fact, you may wonder if it can effect women at all or if the condition is exclusively limited to men? After all, women have the luxury and privacy of a closed cubicle. Men, on the other hand have to endure a public urinal without partitions or dividing walls.
There’s been little in the way of definitive studies but the Australian Journal of General Practice suggest that “Paruresis tends to be more prevalent in males (75–92%) than females (8.1–44.6%)”. Pretty vague figures we think you’ll agree.
The truth of the matter is that paruresis IS more common in men. However it is not as uncommon in women as you may first think. Often the symptoms are more intense in women too. So, paruresis in women is not uncommon.
Causes Of Shy Bladder In Women And Men
As we’ve discussed in previous features, being a form of anxiety, there’s nothing physically wrong with the bodily functions. The problem lies in the mind.
At some time in your life an event or events have happened to trigger the condition off. It may not manifest itself immediately but, instead, gradually evolves into a serious problem. These initial triggers are often traced back you teasing, bullying, peer pressure to “perform” and such like.
Every specific case is slightly different to the next of course but these initial trigger events are usually the same in nature for both men and women. There’s no difference in the causes between the sexes.
Shy Bladder – The Challenges For Men
For men there’s different levels of the condition. In some it only has an effect in busy restrooms which are compact and with little choice of where to stand and with a very strong possibility of someone standing immediately to both sides. For others it may cause a real problem even in the quiet, familiar restrooms which provide a high degree of privacy and little chance of anyone else being around.
Where male paruretics are concerned there is always a back up and that is they are able to use a cubicle (or queue for one if not immediately available). For many this, in effect, masks the problem and the increased privacy means they can easily start a flow.
Both sexes find it difficult to talk about any shy bladder problem. There’s still a stigma that need breaking down – but that’s a different feature! We do however find a lot more men seeking confidential help for the condition and hence looking for a self-help cure that enables them to resolve the issue without anyone else knowing. It must be a macho thing but we fully understand.
Shy Bladder In Women – It’s Different
When it comes to shy bladder in women things are a little different. The back up option of the private cubicles for men is actually the only option for women! Any women who finds themselves unable to pee when in a private cubicle has nowhere else to go!
This would explain why it appears the condition is more common in men. It’s actually not. Instead it only manifests itself in women by the time they are unable to start a flow in a cubicle whereas for men it shows itself much earlier.
Restroom behavior is also completely different for women. Whilst men usually go alone, in social environments it’s very often that women will go to the bathroom in groups. It’s almost a social event which includes gossip, chat (often between cubicles), mirrors and makeup.
No paruretic likes to feel pressured or rushed. The pressure for men is often not a long queue but there’s usually a self-set maximum time they should spend at a urinal. For women the queues are often much longer and for them the time pressure is on the time spent in total in the restroom.
When it comes to the noise of urinating. For men this is less of an issue but many women find themselves very sensitive to the possibility of being heard when urinating.
Shy Bladder – Let’s Talk About It!
Whilst we still don’t hear many discussions about paruresis (surprising given how common it is), when it does appear featured in the media it’s almost always focused on men with the condition. Thinking about it … even we are guilty of that on the pages of this website! Note to self – create more of a balance!
You may want to read our article on shy bladder social action.
Shy Bladder Treatment
For a woman with paruresis often the only option to fully resolve the problems of a shy bladder is to self-catheterize. This involves inserting a thin, flexible tube into the urethral opening in order to release the urine. This is pretty extreme but possible. It is however very uncomfortable, it also leads to increased risks of infection and merely masks the anxiety and doesn’t cure the condition.
We encourage all paruretics, men and women, to seek treatment that will cure shy bladder and not just find a way round it. There’s always a way and plenty of options exist. Check out our Shy Bladder Treatment Reviews.
My Recommendations For Treatment
For me there were a couple of self help programs that really did help: