On the pages of this website you’ll find a multitude of proven treatment options for shy bladder but I recognise that many sufferers out there prefer to keep things to themselves. This is why I’ve written this feature on how to treat paruresis and overcome shy bladder syndrome yourself.
Paruresis – Are Your Sure?
First things first … you need to ask yourself the question; “are you certain it’s Paruresis?”.
Paruresis or shy bladder syndrome is not a medical condition: it’s a psychological issue that’s preventing you from urinating when in the real or imaginary presence of others. That said it’s important to know that there is always a possiblility of an underlying medical condition. For that reason I always recommend you consult a medical professional. If you know it to be Paruresis then read on to find out what you can do to treat your shy bladder.
Shy Bladder – It’s All In The Mind!
As I’ve just stated, shy bladder syndrome is a psychological condition that’s actually been officially classified as a form of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD for short). Basically, to put this in its simpest terms, somewhere along your lifeline the brains automatic response has become corrupted. Think back to younger years: did you have any problem when you needed to pee back then? The answer will always be no! You weren’t born with this condition and in your earlier years when you needed to pee you brain just said “find a place and away you go”! But somewhere along the line something has triggered the brain to associate peeing in public restrooms with the perception of danger. It has stopped this rational automated response and replaced it with “danger – someone might come in! You’re going to be judged! Yt’s not safe, I will NOT let you pee!”
Think back to see if you can work out just what this original trigger was. It may be easy to remember something like an occasion of bathroom related teasing, bullying, abuse or some other embarrassing occurance. Chances are that it may not be easy to put your finger on the particular event that started it off. That’s because shy bladder syndromes develops like a snowball, building up gradually over time.
The first time it happens it’s of little significance but the next time you go for a pee the previous episode is recalled and the problem get’s very slightly increased and the next time it increases just a little more … you get the picture! You go from feeling a little uncomfortable when someones right up next to you to not being able to start a flow, even in an empty restroom, for fear that someone might just come in.
Change The Mind – Cure The Problem
So, the way to treat paruresis and overcome shy bladder syndrome yourself is really very simple … well … the theory is! Change the auto-response of the subconscious mind and the shyness will disolve.
When I say change the minds auto-response it’s actually more like re-setting it back to the way it was before the onset of shy bladder syndrome. In effect this means removing the irrational fears which are subconsciously controlling your actions in a public restroom to uncover the rational state of mind.
Let’s face it – what are you actually worried about when you’re in a public restroom? Is it the fear of being judged, ridiculed, laughed at? Is that a rational fear? Does any of that really happen? Of course it doesn’t – it’s all irrational fear. So, if you can get your mind to accept this Paruresis will be gone.
I know I’ve made it sound so simple. The theory is but the practical aspect of re-programming the mind is not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time and, just as paruresis develops gradually so does the cure. We’re basically reversing the process and building confidence each time you use a public restroom.
Why Treat Paruresis And Overcome Shy Bladder Syndrome Yourself
Shy bladder syndrome is a form of Social Anxiety Disorder and, whilst there are many different options, the most recognised treatment is some form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I’m not going to go into detail about CBT but you can read more about it in our feature entitled Know About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s basically a talking therapy which is designed to change the way you react to thoughts. Hypnotherapy for shy bladder is another recognised treatment different approach to CBT but the same outcome.
However these proven and recognised methods involve face to face therapy and that’s not going to be for everyone for a couple of reasons:
- Cost: thereapy doesn’t come cheap and it’s not usually a quick fix. It takes multiple face to face sessions so it’s going to be cost inhibiting for many.
- Stigma: Whilst therapy has been destigmatized (if that’s even a word) of late there’s still many out there who struggle to accept it. This is especially relevant and compounded when it comes to shy bladder syndrome. Let’s face it – to many it’s regarded as an embarrassing condition which they want to keep to themselves. Many paruretics even hide it from loved ones and those closest to them. They don’t want anyone to know so how on earthe are they going o face therapy?
Shy bladder syndrome is common – much more common than you’d ever realise (estimated to affect around 7% of the worlds population at some stage and to some degree). But it’s hardly talked about, written about or promoted. It’s a hidden anxiety disorder and so it’s understandable that sufferers may find it hard to open up about it and want to treat the condition themselves without anyone knowing.
This Worked For Me
I went the self-help treatment option myself. There were two particular programs I followed which I used simultaneously:
How To Treat Paruresis And Overcome Shy Bladder Syndrome Yourself
You now know that the effective treatment of shy bladder syndrome involves changing the way the subconcious thoughts control your actions. Something in your mind is coming up with a thought that restroom represent “danger” and, in turn, these thoughts control the action of clamping up and not being able to start a flow. So in order to effectively treat paruresis and overcome shy bladder syndrome yourself you’re going to need to change this and relax the mind. And whilst face to face therapy is always going to help you can do this yourself. It’s going to take time and commitment but you CAN do it.
Here’s a few things you can try:
Accept It’s Irrational
Take time out, maybe thing back to what might have triggered the onset of paruresis in your specific case. Think about how it make you feel. Write down the thoughts you have relating to your anxiety. This could be when you have a social event to attend – do you ever think about what happens when you need to pee? Does it affect your decision to attend or not? Think about how you feel when you know you have to take a pee. How do you feel when you walk towards the restroom. Are you hoping it’s going to be empty? Do you hope there’s a cubical free? Think about how you feel when you’re in there. Are you nervous? Do you try to hide? Are you trying to find space and privacy? Do you panic to try and get a flow started quickly before anyone comes in?
Write all your thoughts down then take this a step further. You know how you feel but ask yourself one simple question … WHY do I feel this way? Work out what you’re worried about. Is it people watching you? Perhaps it’s people judging you? Maybe it’s people laughing at you? Just what is it you’re worried about???
Now you have a list of you thoughts and feelings. Read them, read them again, study them … is there anything that is raional about these thoughts and feelings?
The answer will be a resounding NO. And so the first thing you can do is accept the fact that your condition is completely irrational. There really is no need to feel that way.
Accepting this is the first step.
Breathe In, Breathe Out
So, no you’ve accepted the irrational nature of the thoughts and feelings it’s time to start working on relaxing the mind. This is where breathing can really help. Deep breathing is proven to help all forms of anxiety. It works by delivering an instruction to the nervous system to relax and to calm both the mind and the body. It’s an exercise that will help and one that you can do yourself whenever you need it and no one need know.
Simply take in a slow, deep breathe though the nose, Count slowly to four as your breathing in. Feel it fill your lungs entirely, feel your abdomin inflate like a baloon. Then exhale through the mouth. Do it slowly counting to four again. Make sure you exhale and empty the lungs completely.
You may find it helpful to think about how confident you are and how you can easily pee as you take each breath in and release all the irational thoughts and feelings you’ve listed as you exhale.
Do this around 10 times whenever you need to – it could be on the way to the restroom, when you know you have to go or even before you step up to the urinal etc. You’ll be amazed how much this helps.
Take It Steady
There is another popular treatment called Graduated Exposure Therapy. This, as the name suggests, involved building your confidence by gradually puting yourself in situations of incrasing challenge.
So, now you know your anxiety is brought on by irrational fears and actions, now you know how you can relax and calm the mind and body start to challenge yourself gradually.
Start by putting yourself in a situation when you know you’ll be able to pee. This could be a quiet restroom or an area of a restroom you feel comfortable in. Breath in the positivity and confidence and release the irrational thoughts. Step up and start a flow and lock it into your conscious memory. Think how it feels, How confident your are. Think how it feels natural. What were you ever worried about!
Do this again and again. Each time remembering the irrational nature of your anxiety. Doing the breathing exercises but recalling how easy it was the last time you went, how confident you felt how natural it was. Then, very gradually start to build up to slightly more challenging environments. Still taking the same steps but maybe going to a restroom that’s slightly busier or an area that’s slightly less private etc.
Keep doing this very gradually. Each time putting yourself in a very slightly more difficult environment. Take a step back if you fail at any stage and build up again.
Each time your confidence is improving. Remember the feelings and use them to your advantage and you’ll be amazed how this will help. Just as your condition of shy bladder syndrome built up like a snowball so will your journey to shy bladder freedom. Each time you’re building confidence ever so slightly – until you’re at the point when the fears are gone.
Help Is Out There
This feature is about how to treat paruresis and overcome shy bladder syndrome yourself but that doesn’t mean you cant get external help and support.
If you’re not going the therapy route because of cost then remember that help doesn’t need to cost the earth. And if you’re not going the therapy route because you want to keep it to yourself and not tell anyone then you can still get help that is completely discrete.
Because shy bladder syndrome is so common there are a number of books on the subject which can really help. And we don’t mean you need to have a library on your book case for al to see! These days electronic books are so easy, usually cost less than physical books and are completely discrete. We’ve listed a few of the better ones in our shy bladder book reviews or you could simply do a quick Amazon search – you’ll be amazed how many books on teh subject are out there.
Then there are a number of highly effective and totally discrete self-help programs. There’s two we specifically suggest you check out (links to both are below:
The Paruresis Treatment Program costs $67 but is incredibly comprehensive. Better still it’s an electronic download so it’s completely private and discrete. We’ve written a Paruresis Treatment System Review so you can find out all the details but it’s incredibly comprehensive and one of the best programs we’ve come across.
Last, but certainly not least, we suggest you consider a self-hypnotherapy program called Overcome Shy Bladder. It’s a short audio download which you can access anywhere, anytime, on any audio device or va an App. At less that $15 it’s highly affordable and incredily cost effective and can support you on everystep of your journey to being paruresi free. Read our Overcome Shy Bladder review.