Paruresis | Documentary Idea

by David
(West Bend, WI, US)

Paruresis is a social phobia which affects up to 7% of the population. Sometimes called Shy Bladder, this condition is really not about shyness but is instead about a paralyzing fear of failure in a social situation, in this case a public restroom, and those with the condition are unable to urinate in a public setting regardless of how great the need.

Onset of the condition is most often during childhood or adolescence, and while it affects both genders, there is a significantly higher occurrence in males.

The direct cause is not always identifiable, but many sufferers can trace its origin to incidents of bullying at school, and most sufferers have feelings of embarrassment and shame which cause them to keep the condition secret from anyone who might provide support or assistance.

Self-esteem issues resulting from having the condition and needing to hide it cause children with Paruruesis to avoid making friends and participating in activities, and the daily self-dehydration that they endure as a coping device raises serious health questions which have not been addressed because of the tendency of the mental and physical health community in general to treat this as inconsequential disorder.

Help is available for adults through the International Paruresis Association, but there is no organized support system for children with Paruruesis, and therefore they continue to hide their conditions, and the damage which results from years of self-hate mounts.

A documentary which sheds light on this disorder and informs the school guidance and health professionals of the existence of Paruresis has yet to be made, but would help a segment of our youth who have no hope of ever getting help.

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May 22, 2021
Wondering what progress you have made with your documentary
by: Nate Shoemaker

Like the title says, I'm curious to see how far you have gotten on your project. I think it's absolutely wonderful that you want to make a documentary that will bring more awareness and hopefully less social stigma to this condition. I have had paruresis since I was around 10 and I'm 41 now. It wasn't until I stumbled upon a library book when I was around 19 that I even knew this is something that other people have and there is a name for it!! It seems so hard to believe that in a society and era where almost any lifestyle choice is accepted by mainstream society and there is so much awareness around bullying and mental health, that paruresis is still so much in the closet! I could ramble on and go into my own personal story but I'm afraid I might be near the 1000 character limit. If you would like to chat or talk about your project, please email me at
Thanks for reading, Nate

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