If you have difficulty forcing yourself to poop in a public bathroom, you may be experiencing a little-studied psychiatric disorder, known as shy bowel (parcopresis).
Parcopresis refers to a difficulty or inability to defecate while around other people.
Parcopresis differs from constipation, which is the inability to poop anywhere, not just in public places.
It also differs from obsessive compulsive disorder, which is sometimes earmarked by cleaning compulsions and fear of bodily waste.
Due to its sensitive nature, there is no reliable data about the number of people who have parcopresis.
Someone living with shy bowel may have more challenging life experiences compared to someone who doesn’t have shy bowel, or who typically dislikes the use of public restrooms.
People with shy bowel often force themselves to “hold it in,” rather than use a public toilet.
You may be unable to use the bathroom at work or in someone else’s home, even if uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms result.
But there are treatments for shy bowel. In this article we’ll go over your options, and provide tips for overcoming your fears.