Ideally, we would always be able to do our business in a pristine, luxurious, sound-proof bathroom complete with aromatherapy, soft Cottonelle® Brand Toilet Paper and Cottonelle® Flushable Wipes for a refreshing clean. But the reality is, when the urge hits, we often have to use a public washroom that leaves little to be desired. And for many people, this can be a serious source of anxiety.
‘Paruresis’ is the official term for a shy bladder and ‘Parcopresis’ is the term for a shy bowel. It’s believed that anywhere from 6.5% to over 32% of people suffer from these conditions*, often grouped together under the terms Toilet Anxiety or Toilet Phobia. Unfortunately, there isn’t much official data about Toilet Anxiety or the fear of using public washrooms, because it’s one of the least talked about conditions, but Toilet Phobia is defined as “a person [who] feel[s] scared about using a public restroom, about being too far away from a toilet, about not being able to use the bathroom when they need to, or about the toilet being unclean.”
People suffering from more extreme cases of Toilet Anxiety may find that it effects their professional, social and romantic relationships because it’s difficult to use a bathroom in public places, at work, at other people’s homes or when friends and family are visiting.
One 2016 study found a link between anxiety about pooping and social anxiety. This is because people with anxiety about pooping are likely to use avoidance techniques and believe that there will be negative social consequences related to pooping in a public setting.
For those suffering from severe Toilet Anxiety, speaking to a medical professional is recommended. But for those who feel anxious but still able to use a public restroom when they have to, we have some suggestions that may help ease your mind (and your sphincter).
If you’re feeling nervous about making noise, leave the tap running or turn on the shower. Can’t reach the tap from your stall? No problem! There are apps you can download to help. Apps like HushPoopy or Baby-Sleepmatic include sounds like a shower, a hair dryer, a fan and more to help cover up any unwanted sounds.
If you’re worried about unwanted smells, bring along your own air freshener. Products like Poo-Pourri come in small sizes that can fit in the pocket of your bag or purse.
If you’re still anxious about sounds, try floating a few lengths of toilet paper in the bowl before you go. You can also try flushing the toilet as soon as you poop. It’ll reduce any unwanted smells and the flushing noise helps create a great cover.
If you like being a little more prepared, try creating your own ‘Pooping in Public’ emergency kit. Stock it with soft and absorbent Cottonelle® Ultra ComfortCare® Toilet Paper, Cottonelle® Flushable Wipes, air neutralizer spray, hand sanitizer, anti-diarrhea medication and even an extra pair of undies.
You found an underused washroom hidden in the mall? Or there’s a nice restaurant on your way to work with private restroom stalls? Make a note of the washrooms where you feel comfortable, so you know where to go.
As food moves through your intestinal tract, liquids are absorbed into your body. The solids form poop, which is toxic. The longer you hold your poop, the more toxins your body is absorbing, which can ultimately affect your skin and your weight.
Also, when you hold your bowel movement too long, it becomes dry and hard. Pushing it out becomes difficult and can cause anal tearing and bleeding. And holding your urine can cause painful urinary tract infections. In other words, it’s healthier for you to keep things moving, even if it has to be in a public restroom.
In their works on washroom behaviour, Josh Richmond and Dr. Anish Sheth touch on something they call ‘poo-phoria’. Dr. Sheth describes it as "The distention of the rectum that occurs with the passing of a large mass of stool causes the vagus nerve to fire. The net effect of this is a drop in your heart rate and blood pressure . . . When mild, the light-headedness can lend a sense of sublime relaxation (the 'high')." In other words, pooping can give you a slight natural high. What could be better?
Experts believe that pooping anxiety is a type of social anxiety, often leading people to avoid situations and leaving their home. Please remember, if you’re experiencing serious anxiety about having to use a public washroom, speaking to your doctor, to a medical professional or to a licenced therapist is always advised.
First, Remove more at once with Cottonelle Cleaning Ripples Texture ®
Then, use Cottonelle Flushable Wipes for a refreshing clean throughout the day