What Is Paruresis?

By amara
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Paruresis is commonly referred to as shy bladder syndrome. This disorder presents as a fear or inability to use the bathroom when other people are present. Generally considered an anxiety disorder, paruresis can have a significant and detrimental effect on those who suffer from the disorder. Despite the problem affecting nearly 20 million people in the United States alone, sufferers tend to feel isolated in social situations. The unease patients feel can lead to overcompensation, with many choosing to avoid travel, parties, work gatherings.

As you can probably tell, shy bladder syndrome can severely limit a person’s personal and professional relationships. The unfortunate truth of this disorder is that it is actually highly treatable, but too many sufferers refrain from discussing their condition out of embarrassment or shame. Therefore, to alleviate some of the negative connotations, it is necessary to take a deep-dive into paruresis FAQs.

1. What Are the Causes of Paruresis?

Unlike other medical conditions, shy bladder syndrome is not caused by infection or disease. Instead, it is classified as a social phobia with ties to anxiety and fear. However, the causes are more psychological than physical. True, the disorder presents physically with patients finding it difficult or impossible to use the bathroom in public, but the physical is brought about by the psychological. Doctors have linked paruresis to three possible contributors: genetic predisposition to anxiety, physiological history and environmental factors.

While two of the above factors — physiology and environment — seem to suggest medical conditions, but they are more representative of psychological trauma. For example, a patient who has experienced medical conditions that led to difficulty urinating may continue to struggle even after the condition has cleared up. Also, while environmental factors tend to relate to pollutants, in reference to shy bladder syndrome, it is more about psychological trauma associated with using the restroom.


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