Paruresis, also known as pee shyness, shy kidney, bashful bladder, or shy bladder syndrome is a type of social anxiety disorder, that can affect both men and women, in which the sufferer is unable to urinate in the (real or imaginary) presence of others, such as in a public restroom. The analogous condition that affects bowel movement is called parcopresis.
Many people experience isolated transient manifestations of urinary difficulty in particularly undesirable situations, and this is sometimes described as “stage fright”. However, that is to be distinguished from paruresis. Paruresis goes beyond simple shyness, embarrassment, or desire for privacy in that it is much more severe and may cause unnecessary inconvenience, because the inability to urinate, although psychological in origin, is physical in its effect, and not under the control of the sufferer.
Although most sufferers report that they developed the condition in their teenage years, it can strike at any age. Also, because of the differing levels of severity from one person to another, some people’s first experience of the problem is when, for the first time, they “lock up” attempting to produce a sample for a drugs test. Severe cases of this disorder can have highly restricting effects on a person’s life. Severe sufferers may not be willing to travel far from their home. Others cannot urinate even in their own home if someone else can be heard to be there.
More information about bladder problems and complications: