Here is one picture of how shy bladder can shape your life:
After a first unpleasant experience, you expect to have trouble voiding when you enter a bathroom. Trying to force yourself to void doesn't work. Then worrying about it makes it even harder to void. You make some changes like:
- voiding as much as possible when at home
- drinking less fluid
- finding empty public bathrooms
- cutting back your social life so you don't have to use bathrooms away from home
People with shy bladder use avoidance behavior, which lessens the fear around problems voiding. But this only makes the pattern of fear stronger. Some deny feeling any worry in public bathrooms and insist that they merely have trouble starting to void. But others have signs of anxiety like a rapid heartbeat, sweating, faintness and shaking.
Since this topic is rarely talked about openly, many believe they are the only ones suffering from it. They feel ashamed, and become expert at hiding it from their friends, spouses and even their health care providers. The sense of shame and depression can be a lot to handle.