The first thing that a pee-phobia sufferer should learn is that he isn’t alone. As the fear of urinating in public places develops for a patient, he tends to consider that he’s the only one having this problem. The result is that paruresis becomes permanent and the quality of life is severely affected. If you suffer from the ‘shy bladder’ or ‘bashful bladder’ syndrome, avoidant paruresis, psychogenic urinary retention or popularly called ‘pee-phobia’, please read on for some great tips for curing it.
What is Paruresis?
Although pee-phobia is know under a wide array of names, it signifies one and the same thing and that’s the inability of urinating in public places, or when other people are around. The sufferer can only wee in the safe harbor represented by his home bathroom and in severe cases not even there if his having guests around and feels ‘threatened’ – without having any real reason, of course.
Paruresis can manifest itself at any age and is predominant in boys and men, although girls and women can also be affected.
Paruresis causes are always psychological. Sufferers don’t have any physical problem with their urinary tract, as urine is able to pass normally. The problem is triggered nervously and anxiety contributes to the involuntary closing of the urinary sphincter. Thus paruretics are unable to urinate although their bladder is full.
Anxiety is triggered by a series of factors and can be different from individual to individual which include:
– embarrassing social incidents like: being approached by a bullie at the school’s restroom while peeing; or being unable to wee in a cup in front of a doctor (getting embarrassed and developing anxiety towards urinating in the presence of others).
– genetic factors: it seems that children that have a parent with pee-phobia are more likely to develop the bashful bladder syndrome themselves.
Shy Bladder Symptoms
The most common symptoms experience by people suffering from psychogenic urinary retention include:
– the urge of total privacy while using the restroom
– not being able to urinate while in public toilets (including workplace, restaurants, pubs, trains, airplanes, boats and so on.)
– impossible to urinate while visiting their friends’ homes
– feeling anxiety even in their home bathroom if other guests are in the house
All these symptoms are caused by the self induced fear of getting in an embarrassing situation if other people are around and get the chance of hearing how their urine hits the toilet water or are to close and are able to smell the urine.
As a result paruretics end-up feeling anxious about having to visit the bathroom. In more cases they start restricting the intake of fluids in order to reduce the times they need to visit the restroom and even go as far as avoiding travel and refusing to attend to important events. This will slowly but surly ruin their social life.
If you experience some of the symptoms described above you should first visit an urologist for the diagnose. The doctor will check that there is nothing wrong physically with your ability to pee. If your urinary tract is fine paruresis is to blame for the inability to wee.
From this point there are two treatment options. You can ask for the help of the doctor to overcome your problem or you can try to do it yourself with the help of your family. However, it’s imperious to underline that there is no general treatment and cures vary depending on individual circumstances. What works for someone couldn’t do the trick for you and so on.
Let’s take a look at both options:
Your doctor can recommend you to visit a psychologist that can apply a series of therapies including relaxation techniques, psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy and graduated exposure therapy (which is the most efficient and detailed in the unconventional cures section).
Medication can be also prescribed in cases of severe anxiety and depression.
A third an final treatment option, if all other options fail, is self-catheterisation. The patient is taught by the urologist how to drain the urine from his bladder by introducing a catheter in his urinary tract.
As with the case of conventional treatments the sufferer first has to acknowledge his problem and understand that there is nothing physically wrong with him. He needs to mentally overcome his fear. A few unconventional tips for curing pee-phobia are:
1. Go for a few drinks: attempting to urinate in public restrooms like pubs or nightclubs after drinking a few glasses. Alcohol helps overcoming most inhibitions. Why wouldn’t it cure your fear of peeing in the presence of others? Once you manage this, you can deeply reflect on the subject when sober and motivate yourself to overcome your fear even when alcohol is not around.
2. Sea Stealth: one more great place for trying to urinate in public and lose the shy bladder syndrome is during summer holidays. Detach yourself a little from the group while swimming in the sea or the ocean. Make sure that water is chest-level deep. The sea is a perfect insulator for your anxiety. Nobody else will be able to see, smell or hear your urine, while you can stand relaxed and look all others on the beach. Such an experience will scatter all your fears about peeing.
3. Get Inventive: You can use a few tricks for disguising your peeing session. For example, avoid urinals and wee at a normal lavatory. This way you will be able to flush while peeing and thus conceal the sound of your urine hitting the toilet. You shouldn’t have to worry about smell either. So, no reason at all to feel anxious! Good luck!