Department of Health

Shy bladder

Shy bladder syndrome is also known as paruresis. Shy bladder syndrome is a social phobia, ranked second to public speaking. Both men and women are affected by the condition, in which they experience a form of anxiety that restricts them from urinating in a public place or in the presence of others.

Symptoms of shy bladder syndrome include:

  • Internal negative comments, such as 'I can't do it...'
  • Restricting fluid intake so as to reduce the need to urinate
  • The fear of other people hearing the urine hit the water in the toilet bowl
  • The fear of other people smelling the urine
  • The inability to urinate in public toilets or at other people's homes
  • The inability to urinate in your own home when there are guests around, and
  • The need to be alone when urinating.

Further Information

For further information about this topic, please contact your doctor or the Paruresis Association of Austalia (PAA):

Support Group Leader - Melbourne
Email: George -