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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