How to Relax a Shy Bladder

Have you ever found yourself standing or sitting at a toilet, thinking “Oh God not again. Why can’t I just go!” You feel the teasing urge that something is coming out, thinking about waterfalls and running faucets in an effort to stimulate the event, but to no avail. You wait for some time as a last hope, but eventually give up.

Many of us have possibly experienced the above scenario, and whilst I am not in a position to diagnose anything if it happens to your fairly persistently over a period of time, you may have shy bladder.

Shy bladder, also known as paruresis, bashful bladder or psychogenic urinary retention, is a condition where you have trouble urinating in the presence of others, like in public restrooms. If severe enough, you only have luck urinating alone at home.

It may have be preventing you from truly enjoying your life, especially if it causes you to find excuses from going on long trips, if it interferes with your social life or if it is a source of guilt or shame.

But shy bladder is something that can be overcome. It truly is a mind over matter thing, not so much a bladder issue as it is an anxiety issue. So here are some ways to help you to overcome this condition:

Go easy on the caffeine

We all have our favorite caffeinated beverage that we wouldn’t give up for the world, but we all also know that too much of anything is bad. It may be that you have a really busy day or just happen to be very tired that day, in which case a nice boost wouldn’t hurt, but making a habit of over-consuming caffeine can be harmful. Not only will it fill up your bladder (if the caffeine is consumed in its typical liquid form) but it will increase your nervousness and anxiety, making shy bladder that much more difficult to cope with. Reducing your caffeinated beverages, limiting your caffeine to one to two cups per day, and increasing your water intake should help.


This is a big one, because if you can make a habit or build a routine of some sort of physical activity, then your all around pain tolerance increases, physical, mental and social, and you will be able to remove your anxiety and your shy bladder. Keep in mind that consistency trumps intensity, so going to the gym for half an hour every day is better than going once a month for three hours. Just get a routine started, at least visiting the gym everyday, and then gradually increasing the intensity over time with significantly help you in overcoming shy bladder.


Your mind is constantly on the move throughout your busy day. Always thinking, analyzing, consuming, creating, it never gets a break. Well your shy bladder may be a result of built up anxiety and it’s your brains way of saying “You’re not going to pee unless I get a break”. Well by God give it a break! A great way is through meditation. It’s as simple as closing your eyes, embracing your current emotional state, focusing all you attention on one point and removing any thoughts from your mind. There is a plethora of guides on meditation if you want to look further into it.


This is the one you probably don’t want to hear but its the best way to overcome any sort of anxiety. The adage ‘practice makes perfect’ is one of those compelling universal truths that we can’t avoid. And it’s one of the methods that psychiatrists use to treat anxiety in patients, also known as cognitive behavioral treatment. The method involves breaking down the action into smaller, more manageable parts and having the patient experience each part, building up a tolerance to handle the broader anxiety. So whenever you are at the mall, try and use the restroom, whenever you are at work, wait for lunch time and then go to the bathroom. Go at a time when others will also most likely be using the restroom.

Pour Warm Water Over Yourself

Have you ever taken a warm to hot shower and it caused you to urinate? This may sound weird at first but if it helps you to break through the barrier then it is worth a try. If you are in a public restroom, grab a wad of paper towels or toilet paper. You can use the excuse that you will clean the toilet seat if anyone asks, but I doubt anyone is that curious. Take the hot water wad into one of the stalls with you and while you are sitting there, squeeze the water out over your region. This should relax you and allow the floodgates to open up enough to get the result you were looking for.

Like I said, I am no doctor to diagnose anything, but regardless of the consultation you receive from a doctor, it is you that will need to put the effort forth, and the above methods are great way to find your long awaited relief.

And one other thing to consider is hypnosis – it’s fast, cheap, discrete and remarkably effective.