Noophoto/ShutterstockHave you ever been hanging out at a friend’s house and tried going to the bathroom—but tense up and can’t, since you know they’re right outside and can maybe hear you? Or, have you been asked by a friend to wait outside the bathroom at a public place because they have a shy bladder? If this happens to you or your friend, don’t worry. You’re not just making it all up— it’s actually a real medical condition. Here’s what else your bladder secretly wants to tell you.
The official name is paruresis, but it’s commonly called shy or bashful bladder. Essentially, for those who have this condition, going to the restroom causes your sphincter muscles to lock up. The sphincter muscles control the flow of urine from your bladder, so when they lock up it makes it impossible to pee.
Paruresis has nothing to do with the well-being of your urinary system; it’s actually a social anxiety disorder. It can happen in public restrooms, at a friend’s house, and even in your own home if you know that others are around. Have the opposite problem and can’t stop peeing? Here are some medical reasons why that might be happening.
If you suffer from a shy bladder, you’re definitely not alone. About 20 million Americans have this problem and almost 90 percent of them are men. So make sure you locate that individual bathroom while you’re out in public. Or, maybe just use the restroom before you leave your house. (But make sure that you’re not forcing yourself to go to the bathroom “just in case.” It can be bad for your health.)