IPA – International Paruresis Association

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You Are Not Alone. There Is Help For You!

IPA – International Paruresis Association

“This organization has changed my life.” – D.H., Detroit
1996  –  Celebrating 27 Years  –  2023


You may have a social phobia: Not being able to relieve yourself in the presence of others is called Shy Bladder (Paruresis). It is a legitimate medical condition affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those suffering from this phobia often live uncomfortable, severely restricted lives.

“The more we run from a problem, the more we’re actually running into it. ” Pico Iyer, essayist 


Graduated exposure therapy to the feared experience is an effective treatment that can dramatically improve the quality of life for most Paruresis sufferers. Improvements include being able to urinate in physical proximity to others and being able to enjoy a social life away from home. Relationships get better, work life improves, and travel (including on airplanes) is possible again.


  • Connect to a world-class Paruresis expert.
  • Enroll in a live or virtual workshop
  • Access the Paruresis community discussion boards
  • Find a shy bladder support group
  • Become a member by making a donation to access more resources.

IPA – International Paruresis Association

Shy Bladder, Bashful Bladder, Pee Shy

Making It All Make Sense


Recent studies show that about 21 million Americans (220 million worldwide) may suffer from this social anxiety disorder. We’re here to HELP. You’re in the RIGHT PLACE.

This site is provided as a resource for people who find it difficult or impossible to urinate in the presence of others, either in their own homes or in public facilities. It is also designed for people who have difficulty under the stress of time pressure, when being observed, when others are close by and might hear them, and/or when traveling on moving vehicles.

Shy Bladder Center

Avoidant Paruresis is not something you have to live with by yourself, overcome alone, or be embarrassed about. We’re here to SHARE your problems and your successes.

The Secret Social Phobia: Shy Bladder Syndrome (Paruresis)

The definitive book on shy bladder syndrome. By S. Soifer, G. Zgourides, J. Himle, & N. O’Brien (IPA, Inc. 2020)

“Do Public Restrooms Make You Nervous?
You are Not Alone!”
Steven Soifer, TedX University of Mississippi Talk, March 6, 2019

“Why Can’t I Pee in Public Bathrooms?”
SciShow YouTube Video – 7/16/2019

“51: Dr. Steven Soifer, Shy Bladder Syndrome (Paruresis) & Better Public Restrooms”
Apple Podcast – People I Know Show Episode 51 – 10/11/2019

How We Can Help You

Support Groups & Workshops

Support Groups

Find a Pee Partner. We currently have a list of over 80 U.S. and international support groups. Support groups typically meet monthly for practice sessions and/or to share stories and experiences. Click on the link below to find a support group in your area.


– A workshop is a safe, structured program to help you begin to recover from paruresis. Much of what happens involves relearning how to urinate in the presence of others. Many people report that they were nervous before the workshop and quite reluctant to sign up, but after the first few hours wondered why they hadn’t sought help for their Paruresis earlier.

How You Can Help

Join, Volunteer & Donate

Become a Member

-The International Paruresis Association, Inc. (IPA) is a nonprofit organization formed in 1996 to help those afflicted with and affected by this social phobia. Operated by a small group of professionals and primarily staffed by volunteers, we have already helped thousands of men and women realize a difference in their lives though our workshops, newsletters, websites, counseling sessions, research and outreach.


– The International Paruresis Association seeks and welcomes volunteers! Fill out the Contact the IPA form and let us know your areas of interest. In particular, we are seeking sufferers with expertise in employment law, grant writing, and advocacy. Urologists, psychiatrists, and substance abuse professionals, we need you, too. Women and people from historically underrepresented communities are especially invited to participate. If you simply have a heart to help others, let us know!


The IPA needs help in the form of donations. Can you contribute? Maybe you’ve said to yourself in the past: “I’d pay any amount (maybe $10,000?!) if someone could help me with this condition”…. Well, now some people have come forward to help you, and they are not asking for what you may have previously been willing to pay. Your donation of $100.00 or more adds you to the IPA membership rolls and goes directly to pay for mailings, information packets, administrative help, and other costs. Will you help?


“The IPA sponsors Workshops and Support Groups worldwide. Paruresis.com contains numerous resources including articles, general information, facts, frequently asked questions, treatment information, research results, news and press, advocacies, and how to get involved by joining, donating or volunteering. In order to find out more, click on the Resources link in the navigation menu..”