Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: Shy bladder syndrome

On call

Shy bladder syndrome

Q. I hope you can help me understand a troubling and embarrassing problem. I often find it difficult, sometimes even impossible, to pass my urine in a public men's room. I'm 41 years old, and I'm very healthy. I have no problem urinating at home, and I rarely get up at night. But last week I couldn't even urinate at a friend's house, and I had to go home early just to use the bathroom. What can you suggest?

A. Although your problem doesn't get much attention, it's far from rare. In fact, it's earned a medical name, paruresis, and a popular translation, the "shy bladder syndrome."

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