Shy Bladder Syndrome
It is common to hear about individuals who experience an overactive bladder. We see commercials and even personally know of people who suffer from shy bladder syndrome and frequently wake up in the middle of night, pull the car over during road trips and step out during long movies in order to rush to the restroom.
However, approximately 7% of the U.S. population-that’s 21 million people-suffer from what’s known as paruresis, or “Shy bladder syndrome”, according to the “International Paruresis Association.”
What Does Shy Bladder Syndrome Mean?
When it comes time to use a public restroom, you are unable to whiz. “What’s actually happening is that you can’t relax your pelvic floor enough to open up the bladder neck and go,” says Men’s Health’s urology advisor, Larry Lipshultz, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine.
Shy bladder syndrome is on a spectrum for some, it just takes longer to go, for others, they need to hear the sound of flowing water in order to go, and for others, zipping up and trying again later when the bathroom is empty is the only option. At the extreme end of the spectrum, however, some people can not even leave their homes because they know they won’t be able to urinate in public when they have to go. The International Paruresis Association even considers it a type of social anxiety disorder.
In some extreme cases, there are a few risks to having the condition. “If you won’t use a restroom at work and hold your urine for many hours at a time, then you could be at risk for an overstretched bladder and could ultimately lose normal function and capacity,” Dr. Lipshultz says.
There is some evidence that certain medications may help, such as Uroxatral-used to treat enlarged prostate-or anxiety medications like “Xanax.” Pelvic floor physical therapy could also help you retrain your mind-plumbing connection. Fret not, there are plenty of solutions available for this type of stage fright in related to shy bladder syndrome!