For people who suffer from BBS, especially men, it is easier to urinate inside a stall rather than a urinal. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)
A lot of us get a little uncomfortable when relieving ourselves in public toilets. The idea of having to share it with strangers, is not too welcoming. Some more than others, get a little too distressed by it. So much so, that they find it extremely difficult to even urinate inside a public toilet. This social anxiety — which affects more men than women — is known as shy bladder syndrome. It is also referred to as bashful bladder syndrome or BBS.
What is it?
As the name suggests, a shy bladder will make it physically impossible for you to pee in public. When you are anxious, your muscles contract. In order to pee, you need to relax your sphincter muscles. When we were being toilet-trained, we were told to contract our muscles unless we had to pee/poop, which is inside a toilet. As adults, the self consciousness get evoked when we are inside a public toilet, because we keep playing in our the heads the fact that a stranger could walk in anytime.
Some people feel judged inside a public toilet, causing them to become anxious. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)
So, for people who suffer from BBS, especially men, it is easier to urinate inside a stall rather than a urinal, more so when there is someone standing next to them.
The most common triggers include being in the presence of people whom you do not know. Nagging thoughts like what if they can see you, hear you, and judge you? You feel you are putting up an act and everybody else is part of the audience. Also, you may generally feel anxious and upset about something else, which may make your bladder act up.
How to treat it?
Understand that this is neither a serious condition, nor uncommon. Across the world, many people have shy bladders, which eliminate the option of using a public toilet. You can begin by seeking help. Talking to a therapist about this may just be a step in the right direction. Studies suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy can help four out of five BBS sufferers.