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Conditions

Paruresis

Shy bladder can be a nightmare!

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Have you ever been bursting for a wee, but found that you couldn’t go because other people were present? Well, don’t worry, you might be left dying for the toilet, but Paruresis (or ‘Bashful Bladder’ as it’s otherwise known) won’t kill you. This social anxiety disorder affects around 4 million men and women in the UK and can impact heavily on their daily lives. The most common manifestation of the condition is men who cannot urinate at a urinal and instead find themselves standing next to unzipped, exposed and free-flowing men, as if just a casual observer. Women can also find it difficult to urinate in a cubicle if there are people near by. The condition is caused by a neurological shutdown of the sphincter valves that when open allow urine to flow, but it is completely involuntary. However, several physical and cognitive therapy techniques have been devised to help people cope with this problem.

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I am 75 I have a problem since 10 years old. Nobody knew about it. Never worked in an office. Had my own business. So I found many places where to urinate. There is a much bigger story to tell.





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This is also a problem for girls too. Im 21 and female. Since I was around 12 ive not felt comfortable in public toilets. My main concern is someone hearing me peeing and thinking im not normal... Which is silly really because everyone pees... Not everyone feels as anxious about it as we do. Its hard at College or volunteering because i think people wonder why it takes me so long. I tend to have to wait for someone to flush the chain or use the hand dryer...





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I am now 44 and I first got this problem when I was 13 - I can remember the incident in a PE changing room very clearly, and for me that was the start. There were other things happening in my life at the time which looking back, probably contributed to anxiety, including the very physical comparable differences that start to appear in boys as they reach puberty at different times - I was a later one, but probably average, it's just that the ones who developed first were more prominent. The problem existed from then on but was never really a "problem" per se, as I didn't go out a great deal when I was a teenager, though did have a lot of friends. April 6th 1989 was a cruel day for me. Not long after my 18th birthday, I was in a cubicle in school, no one in there, and I could not go. Within a week it had become so bad that I was going home from school to pee, then returning. The entirety of my university life was controlled and dictated by the condition, with the exception of around 6 months during my second year when it subsided significantly. I'd had some CBT the previous summer, in addition (and ironically ) to a class trip abroad, and getting a girlfriend - this was what life was like for everyone, wasn't it? But by the following Easter it was back with a vengeance. It subsided again for most of my 20s, especially during a teacher training year, where I had to cope with "real world" external stresses, which, again preoccupied me to such an extent the issue retreated into the background. I still had it, but it was reasonably under control. Then since I turned 40 the problem seems to have got worse again. I am continually angry at myself, if I do go into a public toilet I feel so envious of those men who can just walk up to the urinal and go. It has got to a stage where the only place I can go easily is when I am at home on my own, with no time or people pressures. The problem has affected every aspect of my life, yet I manage to hide it by using a huge range of strategies and "excuses" and escape routes. Long haul air travel gives me the greatest fears, and although I love travel and would dearly love to see more of the world, and with friends or girlfriends, I have retreated from those opportunities. I hold out hope that one day I'll wake up and it will all be ok. But I know that is a pipe dream. How can something that on the face of it is so simple, be so complex and debilitating? I have had many suicidal thoughts off the back of this, because I feel like I am living my life in black and white, not in colour. If I do manage to go in what I deem a stressful situation I convince myself it is a one off, a fluke, and could in no way be the start of a new pattern - almost like my sub-conscious doesn't want to let go of it.





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I have had this unfortunate condition for a number of years now and it's driving me crazy!! I have a good social life where I like to go out with friends etc but it always puts a burden on my life whenever I need to urinate in a public toilet where it's crowed. I would not wish this upon my worst enemy because you can not enjoy life to its full potential, I know it's in the mind but I just wish there was a cure!! I have just recently got back from a holiday and holding it for a long time on a plane is not healthy and it makes me so anxious, if anyone knows how to deal with this awful condition then please get in touch asap because I really do need help before it takes over my life! Thanks Charlie





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I have been nursing my father for the last four years. During this time he opened up about this condition. He is 88 years of age and has had paruresis since the age of 14. Of course this means that he has hidden the condition for 70 yrs. Only now do I understand the level of anxiety associated with this problem. His worse fear of going into Hospital has now come to fruition and of course they have had to Catheterise him. Even with this in place he is driven by this complex anxiety disorder and I am saddened to witness the effect it has upon him. Since finding out I have made it my mission to discuss this problem openly. Dad gave me permission to do so in the hope that it may help someone else to come to terms with what is an horrendous condition. During his recent illness I have confronted every medical Professional, ie, Doctors, Consultants etc. with the name Paruresis not one to date as ever even heard of this condition. I of course urge them to look it up. There is no doubt that the condition itself is so secretive to the individual sufferer that many Doctors are never made aware of it. Sadly my Dad is now dying. Had he told me years ago about this problem I would have moved heaven and earth to help him. My advise would be firstly confide in a close and considerate friend or family member. A problem shared is a problem halved. While this in itself will not cure Paruresis it would clearly be a step in diluting the embarrassment felt by you as a sufferer. If you have read this forum you now realise you are not the only person suffering from this debilitating condition. Do not listen to ill informed or indifferent members of the medical community who have no idea what this condition consists of. Bypass all such individuals and seek out someone who knows and cares. When Dad plucked up the courage at 14 yrs to tell his Doctor he was told he would "grow out of it." I suspect through all my dealings with the medical community this attitude still prevails. I say this not to put you off but to empower you to seek out the correct individual or organisation that could help. Everything I have witnessed and discussed with Dad confirms that this disorder is heavily anxiety based. Therefore it is my humble belief that no one is born with this condition. Some incident during childhood or later has left its mark. CBT therapy must play a part in improving the symptoms but again seek out a sympathetic and skilled individual. I have a friend who is a Psycologist. He looked bemused and embarrassed when I asked him what Paruresis was. Don't get me wrong I am not critical of the medical fraternity the nature of the beast means there is little discussion or sharing of information about this relatively unknown condition, hence my determination for you to seek out the right person(s) to assist. Do not give in! As you get older your inability to deal with this problem will increase dramatically. Dads ability to cope and disguise the condition declined with increasing age related problems. He was forced into a corner of his own making that eventually led to him having a nervous breakdown. He was a very fit strong individual and sadly his last few years have been difficult to say the least. I hate this disorder with a passion! The way it affected Dads daily life was unbearable for him at times. I hope that my deliberations drive you forward to seek a cure or at least some improvement in your condition.

I came across this site as part of my research. I am a hypnotherapist and also use eye movement therapies to help anxiety related issues. I am currently helping a client with shy bladder, he has already been to his GP and there is nothing physically wrong. So far we have done two sessions and the client is noticing a difference in the condition. This type of therapy may not be an answer to everybody with this condition but it is generally good with anxiety related issues.





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I have had this problem since I was a teenager. I'm now 48. It has ruined my life, my relationship and my career. I haven't worked for 14 years now and have no social life. I began to get so anxious about going out that I started getting panic attacks and eventually couldn't go out or have anyone come to the house. I also wouldn't drink any liquids for hours before I needed to go out, which wasn't good. Fortunately, things have improved somewhat from that low point, but anxiety is still a problem at times. Initially even peeing at home or at someone else's house when other family or friends were around was a real problem. I couldn't bear to make a peeing noise as I felt it was so embarrassing! That seems not to be too much of a problem now, thankfully! And from not even being able to enter a public toilet to start with, I did finally manage to use the cubicles, but like everyone says, the slightest noise of someone else in the toilet and I couldn't go. Over the last few years, after a huge amount of effort using exposure therapy, I have managed to improve my situation whereby I can pee in a cubicle, if there is more than one and it isn't busy. If there is only one cubicle and it is busy, then it is still a nightmare. I have now even managed to pee at the urinal a few times, but only when I was sure nobody would come in! I guess it is a start, so I should be pleased with myself, but there is a long way to go and I get very frustrated and depressed. Anywhere busy, such as bars and clubs, cinema etc. is still a major problem. And even going on holiday too. Trying to take your mind off trying to pee by distracting yourself is a help. Have a picture or photo of something from home in your mind which you can call upon and focus on. It also helps block out awareness and noise from anyone else in the toilet. Having someone with you, who knows your problem is a huge help. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find anybody, as it is too embarrassing to tell anyone about it and ask for help! Having seem some improvement, I hope that if I persevere, there will be a point at which it will then all become a thing of the past. Good luck everyone! Don't give up hope, keep up the exposure therapy and try the focus technique. If I finally manage to overcome it, then I will let you know!





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Thank you for being so honest you could pretty much write the same for me I am 41 and lived my life pretty much the same way people do not realise how much this effects your life work social relations etc hopefully people will read this and realise there not alone good luck everyone

Paruresis has ruined my life. I've been to the doctors for the last decade (I'm 22), yet I've accomplished nothing. Ive actually started to think that they may be selling my urine samples, I've had so many. Each person that suffers with paruresis will understand that everyday is a battle, which you'll inevitably fail to do what should come naturally. As others have mentioned, when you've access to hot water (not boiling for obvious reasons) it can be a relief and a quick fix, yet no where near a cure. I've tried the 'drinking lots of water method' which only exasperates the condition. I can probably count the number times I've succeeded to urine publicly. I cannot urine with the urinal. Unless the toilet is totally empty, on some occasions I can urinate in a cubicle. Sometimes I find it hard to urinate In my own house. I've cancelled holidays, quit college, and I'm barely coping at work. If I had no financial commitments, I'd quit work. I have to drive home relieve myself on my break, which means that I need to drink as little as possible to get through the day. I'd like to get healthy, it's near impossible. I've spent most my life trying to find a way to cure myself. Telling myself that I'm overthinking. Telling myself,'to get a grip'. Nothing has worked for me. I go out on the weekends drinking. I have to get my friends to come with me somewhere quiet to urinate, which is obviously embarrassing but the only way that I'll agree to go on a night out. I'm lucky to have such supportive friends. I've been for a bladder cystoscopy, which was horrible. I was in pain for 2 weeks. Results were clear. They gave me tablets for an overactive bladder, which has reduced the urgency. This has obviously not cured the paruresis. I want to be able to live a life where I have control over my bladder not a life that is controlled by my bladder. I'm not sure what I'll do next? I'll be really disappointed with myself if I have to be cathetised but it seams like the only option. I've asked for help but the doctors are too slow and useless. I feel like I'd have more luck winning the lottery than meeting a GP that doesn't think the answer to every problem is about 65 packs of antibiotics.





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hello i now think after about 12 years of problems in urinating or longer. that this is also the problem i have. im in the military and every day is a struggle especially compulsory drugs tests. i have never known myself too be able too urinate at a urinal with others being present. when i was 25 i consulted to a doctor. about this since then i have under gone days in and out of hospitals having cameras put down my penis and uretha into my bladder. i had a cytsoscopy earlier in the year and was also checked for bladder stones last year.i was prescribed tambulosin and something else that stopped me from the urge of needing a wee. both of which did not work. im now 26 and have recently been on this page reading up assuming now that this is what i have. and quite relieved as i thought it was prostate cancer at an earlier point. the doctors have not helped at all.

Hey, yes it's hard but it's something we gotta to deal with. The best advice I can give is to keep positive And to rule out all options. Im starting to think that I may actually have an over active bladder. This makes you feel as if you need to urinate before you bladder has filled enough to urinate. To combat this, I've tried drinking a regular amount and timing when I feel the urge to when I can actually urinate. This has helped a bit but I still need to speak to a specialist to properly control this condition. Hope you find some answers soon!

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I have been suffering from Shy bladder since high school. I am 48 years old. I discovered when taking a warm bath I had the urge to pee. What I then tried was to use warm water, not hot, warm enough for the skin to bare and pour it over the tip of penis. The sensation enabled me to pee in many stressful moments. The only problem is that warm water is not always available in public toilets, but I hope my suggestion will be helpful if you are struggling to pee and warm water is close by. Ladies I don't know if this will help you.





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I am 26 and have had this problem since i was in secondary school, somewhere that i must of used the toilet a few times in 5 years. Until recently i didn't know that this was even a recognized thing, i definitely should of looked it up sooner. Hearing all these different stories is actually quite a relief and just knowing your not alone is probably half the battle. I always thought it was such a strange thing and the thought of telling someone was never really an option, as daunting as it seemed at first i have been able to speak about it recently but only with people very close to me and even then it can start to feel a bit uneasy. This has had quite an impact on my lifestyle and at times a conscious burden to say the least. The one thing i really hate is that whilst studying at college i am not drinking enough fluids and this results in mild headaches most days, i used to convince myself i will surely be able to go if i drink enough but this still only ends in failure and being very uncomfortable for the rest of the day till i return home. How our bodies deal with this kind of dehydration is beyond me but i don't feel as healthy as i would like to because of it. My experience is very similar to all other comments in the way that i can only really urinate in toilets when there is no one around and if anyone is lingering outside it can affect it, but even this isn't always the answer and i can easily feel uncomfortable when no one is around. When there is loud noise present or people having multiple conversations (a common Festival toilet moment) sometimes i can succeed in doing so but even this is rare. At first i avoided festival toilets but i did get used to them and i am sure im not the only one to experience this but alcohol (When you are more on the side of drunk) can get rid of these neurological activities. At times it can be quite a lifeline but sadly not the answer to Paruresis.





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I once heard years ago that reciting the 'once times tables' while attempting to urinate works for shy bladder. If shy bladder strikes by the time I get to 'six ones are six' the flow starts.





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