Symptoms of Toilet Anxiety

Individuals with toilet anxiety are likely to experience anxious thoughts about using the toilet, as well as difficulties in urinating or defecating. These symptoms are generally worse in non-private settings, where the individual perceives that others can hear or see him/her using the toilet.

Individuals with toilet anxiety tend to experience an increase in symptoms when there are more people present and in closer proximity (e.g., a busy public bathroom with a queue of people waiting to use the facilities). Level of anxiety may also depend on the privacy of the facilities, for example, using a urinal may cause more anxiety than using a cubicle. Some people even report difficulty using the toilet in their own home, especially if they have guests over.

Individuals with toilet anxiety may use a number of strategies to try to cope with these symptoms, such as:

  • Reducing fluid intake in order to avoid using a public toilet
  • Seeking public toilets that offer greater privacy
  • Choosing to use cubicles over urinals
  • Avoiding social activities, holidays, parties, dating, sporting events, and other occasions where the toilet situation may cause anxiety

The difficulties associated with toilet anxiety can have a significant impact on quality of life. Not only do sufferers notice that it impacts upon their social activity, but it also has consequences for their work. Anxiety around toilet usage can influence the type of work environment that an individual is comfortable in, may affect whether they are willing to travel for work, and can also impact upon roles that require workplace drug testing. Toilet anxiety can also cause considerable shame among sufferers, and the majority do not seek assessment or treatment.

Disclaimer: This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

© Copyright Dr Simon Knowles 2018