Distressing Realities

We’ve probably all experienced occasional feelings of discomfort over using a public restroom. It may be due to the cleanliness—or lack thereof—of the restroom itself. Or the sense that the space is too quiet, too near the company water cooler, or too lacking in privacy. Some individuals may experience an inexplicable, uncontrollable panic when it comes to relieving themselves anywhere but their own powder room at home. While it may seem silly, this phobia can be very real and negatively affect a person’s health. Here are several reasons one may experience a toilet phobia, and tips for overcoming the anxiety, discomfort, and ill health effects of such a phobia.

10. Bashful Bowel Syndrome

Bashful Bowel Syndrome

Parcopresis, also known as bashful bowel syndrome, is an anxiety disorder in which an individual is unable to have a bowel movement in a public restroom. Persons suffering from this condition feel enormous distress over performing this natural function in a setting where they may be overheard. They may feel inexplicable shame over this normal bodily function with its noises and smells. Furthermore, they may not understand why they feel such anxiety and guilt. Fear of being trapped in the confined spaces of a restroom stall may also contribute to the anxiety of this disorder.

9. Bashful Bladder

Bashful Bladder

Bashful bladder, or paruresis, is a disorder in which a person is unable to urinate in a public restroom. Similar to bashful bowel syndrome, the sufferer may experience anxiety over performing normal bodily functions. This person generally prefers to relieve the bladder in the privacy and comfort of home. He or she may wish to relieve themselves in the public restrooms at work, in restaurants, or while out shopping. However, such individuals may find themselves unable to relax enough to go. The International Paruresis Association is an organization dedicated to helping those who suffer from parusesis find ways to overcome this phobia.


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