Human biology is interesting. Every system seems to be connected to another and every part of the body seems to have an independent function. It is very easy to marvel at the intricacies of the body even when you are neither a doctor or surgeon. Some of the things that seem disgusting are actually very beneficial for the body.

Consider urine. It stinks but we cannot do without urinating. Urine is excreted for the benefit of our bodies. Yet there are people who live in utter fear of urine or urinating. The irrational and extreme fear of urine is among the types of phobia that exist.

Definition of Urophobia

Both ‘uro’ and ‘phobia’ are originally Greek words which mean urine and fear respectively. It, therefore, follows that Urophobia is the fear of urine or urinating. The other names that are used to refer to Urophobia include Paruresis or Bashful Bladder Syndrome. Urophobia is a type of specific phobia.

People who have Urophobia often feel as if someone is watching them or listening to them while they are urinating. As a result, urinating becomes pretty uncomfortable. People with extreme Urophobia cannot even use a public toilet because of this fear.

Urophobia negatively impacts the Urophobic’s ability to participate in a daily routine. Even when this individual goes on their daily routine whilst avoiding urinating, they are likely to develop physical problems affecting their urological system.

What is shy bladder syndrome?

Shy bladder syndrome is a phobia where a person cannot urinate in the real or imaginary presence of others. This could be in a public restroom, someone else’s bathroom or their bathroom if there are other people around. In shy bladder syndrome, the muscles that control urine from the bladder freeze up and the sufferer simply cannot pee.

How common is shy bladder syndrome?

According to statistics, shy bladder syndrome is common in men than in women. In the American population, 7% of people are suffering from shy bladder symptom. This is about 20 million people.

Does anxiety affect urination?

Anxiety does affect the frequency of urination. Unfortunately, anxiety is usually an endless cycle. Once a person has health issues, the worries fuel anxiety further which leads to more urination problems. Anxiety usually increases a person’s urge to urinate due to the activation of the flight or fight response in the brain. People with phobias have more anxiety and are often more affected by this kind of urination problem.

Causes of Urophobia

Like every type of phobia, Urophobia is a result of a traumatic event. A person may have forgotten this event but there is definitely a catalyst that triggered the onset of the fear. In most cases, Urophobia is associated with a fear of public toilets, therefore, there is a likelihood that a person experienced a traumatic event in a public toilet that triggered Urophobia. A lot can happen in a public toilet and this can cause trauma.

Another cause of trauma can be childhood bullying in the toilet or pranks which were seen as innocent but had devastating effects on the individual being pranked. Something as simple as a comparison of anatomy during pre-adolescence could also be a trigger for Urophobia.

There are many traumatic events that could cause Urophobia. Regardless of the cause, Urophobia causes an individual to be anxious and experience emotional turmoil which completely disrupts their normal life.

Symptoms of Urophobia

The symptoms of Urophobia are of different magnitudes in different people depending on their degree of fear. However, some common symptoms of Urophobia include:

  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety which can lead to anxiety or panic attacks
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to speak or think coherently
  • Full blown anxiety attack

How to overcome Urophobia?

Overcoming Urophobia first starts with treatment. There are various treatment options that a patient can explore including:

  • Hypnotherapy: hypnotherapy helps the patient to reprogram their subconscious aspects that may be part of the fear. When these ‘programs’ are ‘debugged’, the symptoms of Urophobia usually reduce. Hypnotherapy works fast but not everybody is comfortable with someone else playing with their mind
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: people’s behaviors are usually a result of preconceived perceptions and beliefs about that kind of behavior which are not usually true in some cases. For example, a person who develops Urophobia because they don’t want people to hear them probably have a negative idea that there are consequences of people hearing which is not true. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps a patient debunk any myths held about urinating that may be making them uncomfortable and replacing these thoughts with more positive and realistic thoughts.
  • Counseling:  It is important because it helps a patient deal with any underlying trauma that has resulted in Urophobia. During counseling sessions, a patient talks about their past experiences that may have caused emotional turmoil for example childhood bullying or pranks went wrong. Talking and dealing with such past trauma helps the patient to overcome the triggering event so as to move on. Sometimes, the triggering event may be something the patient has forgotten about yet it still has defined the individual’s reaction towards urine and urinating
  • Medication: sometimes a doctor may prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of Urophobia especially when they are very severe. However, these medications should not be relied on because they have side effects and they are addictive. Last but not least, they do not treat the phobia itself but only the symptoms which are not helpful in the long run.

After you get yourself into a treatment program, you should find moral support from friends and family. Since Urophobia makes your life quite difficult, you can use all the help you can get.

Last but not least, you must be committed to the journey and be ready to let go of what needs to go. It is going to take time and a lot of effort for you to get over Urophobia and you need to keep yourself focused on the end goal.

Urophobia can make any individual miserable. It becomes impossible to live a normal life. Therefore, every Urophobia must take bold steps in order to overcome fear. Otherwise, they will be living an unhappy life.