Overcome Toilet Anxiety and stop worrying about needing to go to the toilet: Personal Help with Linda

Anxiety about using Public Toilets

Are you one of those people who feels anxious before going out?

Maybe you think you need to go to the toilet several times before leaving the house as you feel anxious that you might want to go when you are out. You may even avoid long journeys or going on public transport because you fear using public toilets.

Your health is good, and you don’t have any urinary tract or bowel infections.

Perhaps you dislike public toilets because you think they are dirty. Or you may have a more personal reason, such as worrying that people can hear you pee or poo. Some people feel highly embarrassed, but they often fail to know why.

You might fear getting locked in the toilet or worry about who you might meet in the toilet. There are so many worries connected with visiting unfamiliar toilets that the thoughts and feelings can develop into fears and phobias.

This problem might have started as a child but is more likely to have begun as a teenager or young adult.

You think that the solution is avoidance or rituals such as always going to the same familiar places to do your shopping, but that may only help temporarily.

Hi, I’m Linda. Over the years, I have met lots of people with these fears as there often comes a point in peoples’ lives when they want to develop, meet new people and see more places. They realise that they have high anxiety levels and have struggled to speak to anyone about ‘the toilet’ problem before. As a retired nurse, I make these conversations easier because I have experience in discussing personal issues with people from all backgrounds.

In this article, I would like to provide some information about paruresis (fear of weeing) and parcopresis (fear of pooing), in public places.

Free 30 Minute Consultation

Stop toilet anxieties taking over. Contact Linda to arrange your first free consultation.

About Paruresis (Shy Bladder)

About Parcopresis (Poop Anxiety)

Do you struggle to pee in public places? Perhaps you feel embarrassed, anxious or worried about people hearing you go to the toilet.

Paruresis, also called ‘shy bladder’ or ‘bashful bladder’ is an irrational fear of going to the toilet when other people are around. It’s a difficult thing to talk about so the statistics on the number of people that it affects aren’t very clear.

However, one American study suggested that the number of people who have difficulty going to the toilet in public areas is around 7%. Both men and women are affected.

When you know you want to go to the toilet it’s difficult to understand why you can’t go. For most people with this problem, they are suffering from a type of social anxiety.

Anxiety causes the body to release adrenaline as it would do in a ‘fight or flight’ situation. This can prevent urination as the body is more focused on the perceived threat than the actual process of going to the toilet. This can cause the muscles at the entrance to the bladder to constrict so urine isn’t passed.

As some infections and other medical conditions can also cause difficulties urinating you should always see your doctor first so that a medical diagnosis is made.

Paruresis (Shy Bladder)

Parcopresis is also called ‘shy bowel syndrome’. It’s a condition that has been recognised by the medical profession and is also called psychogenic faecal retention as people avoid opening their bowels in public places, resulting in constipation.

It’s obvious but not always considered, that we all need to eliminate waste from our bodies whether the person is royalty, the prime minister or someone who works in an office or a shop. But the number of times that we need to go can vary. Some people have their bowels open (pooping) once a day. Other people may go once a week or three times a day.

People with bowel problems may go many more times in a day or they may be constipated and not go for weeks. As long as your body feels ok with the frequency, and you are healthy it doesn’t matter how many times you go. (However, any sudden changes in bowel movements should be checked out by your doctor).

Yet some people feel different as they have negative thoughts and feelings related to pooping. It may not be the frequency that concerns them, rather it may be everything related to the experience, especially in public places. Excessive anxiety about having your bowels open can have a significant impact on many people. They can fear going out and when they do go out, they might restrict eating and worry about using the toilet.

It’s unclear as to what causes this problem. It is suggested that it may be due to a past trauma but some people don’t have obvious past traumas that trigger the condition.

A 2021 study asked 667 people about their anxiety related to pooping. (See the Gastrointestinal Society Report (2022) at https://badgut.org/wp-content/uploads/Poop-Anxiety-Survey-Results.pdf

In this study, it was found that people disliked using public toilets, friends or family toilets, and in some cases, they felt anxious using their home toilet to poop. The reasons they gave were that it might smell, people could hear them, they might make a mess, they might be in the toilet too long, or the toilet might not flush.

Other bowel conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), not enough toilet paper or washing facilities, and an uncomfortable environment contributed to toilet anxiety.

Bowel disease can make the experiences much worse as there is an added fear of being out of control.

Treatment for toilet anxieties

Treatment aims to improve the problem by helping the person to understand it and reduce the anxiety. Any other contributing conditions, such as OCD, general social anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, will also need help.

Currently, Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy are the treatments most used to help toilet fears and phobias. Some doctors will also prescribe antidepressants and laxatives when avoidance of pooping has led to constipation.

How I Can Help You with Toilet Anxieties

I offer CBT and hypnotherapy, and as I am a retired nurse, I can help you understand how the urinary system and bowel works. My service includes:

  • Psychoeducation to help you understand why and how you think the way you do.
  • Learning how to reduce anxiety, fears and worries when visiting restrooms.
  • Understanding how your body signals that you want to go to the toilet.
  • Reduce the emotional aspects contributing to your anxiety through relaxation and positive suggestions.
  • Stopping the thought cycle through CBT.

Imagine what it would be like to go out and not worry about needing to go to the toilet. If you don’t deal with this problem today, where will you be in later life?

Contact me today for a free consultation and find out how I can help you.

Get help with toilet anxiety

Hypnotherapy Prices

NB All payments to be made online before the session or programme or on the day only if in person in my office.

How to Book

Unlike some therapists, I want to make sure you get the right therapy before you buy.
I offer a free 30-minute consultation so we can get to know each other first.

Hypnotherapy Sessions at My Practice

If you live in or around the Bournemouth area, you may prefer to visit my practice for your hypnotherapy sessions.

I provide a safe, relaxing and calm environment where we can start to overcome your anxiety. The practice is easy to find, and plenty of free parking is available, as well as being on local bus routes.

However, your first free consultation will always be online, and many of my clients find this works better for them.

Online Hypnotherapy

Online hypnotherapy is worth considering, especially if you find it hard to travel or live outside the Bournemouth area.

I have been trained in providing online hypnotherapy and have clients from around the world. Providing you have access to a private internet connection and webcam; there is no reason why this wouldn't work for you.

Online hypnosis has many benefits, which include cost-effectiveness, comfort and practicality.

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