'I can't pee in public' FAQs

Ever been standing at a public urinal and found you couldn't go? You're not the only one. It even has a name - Paruresis.
Paruresis, shy bladder syndrome
What is it?

Paruresis is a social anxiety disorder which makes the individual physically incapable of passing urine in certain situations.

It is usually about a lack of a certain level of privacy. The individual has no voluntary control over the matter; it is the nervous system that cuts off the ability to urinate.

Also known as 'shy bladder syndrome' paruresis affects many men.

But why can't I pee?

There are probably three types of blokes with paruresis (let us know if you're any different):

  • those who can't piss in a urinal but can use a cubicle
  • those who have difficulty in a cubicle, but are usually OK at home
  • those who have difficulty even at home when other people are around.
Is there a cure?

You can also go to your GP and they can offer therapies such as CBT to help. It is a good starting point as sometimes when you have difficulty peeing it is a sign of a problem with your prostate.

There are also workshops which although do not cure can offer a good starting point to overcoming the problem. You can find workshops and discussion boards with guys with the same problem on the UK Paruresis Trust website.

Read Ian and David's personal stories


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Date published 02/04/14
Date of last review 02/04/14
Date of next review 02/04/17


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