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About Toilet Anxiety

Toilet anxiety, or toilet phobia, is a term used to describe a number of issues related to using the toilet. It is a type of anxiety disorder in which the sufferer may experience concerns and fears related to being able to urinate or defecate, using a public toilet, being too far from a toilet, having an accident in public, other people being able to hear or see you use the toilet, the cleanliness of public toilets, and/or being confined in a small space.

Age of onset

The onset of toilet anxiety is often in adolescence.


Reports on the prevalence of toilet anxiety suggest that between 6.5-32% of the population may be affected to some degree.

Some research has shown that toilet anxiety is more prevalent in males than in females, however further research is required to be certain of this.

Alternative names

Alternative names may be used for specific aspects of toilet anxiety.

Fears or difficulties related to urination may be referred to as psychogenic urinary retention, paruresis, shy bladder syndrome, or bashful bladder syndrome.

Fears or difficulties related to defecation may be referred to as psychogenic faecal retention, parcopresis, or shy bowel syndrome.

Fears related to being too far away from a toilet may be referred to as toilet proximity anxiety disorder.

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© Copyright Dr Simon Knowles 2018