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What is a Nervous Bladder?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A nervous bladder is a condition where the individual senses the need to urinate, but is unable to completely empty the bladder. Nervous bladders can be attributed to factors such as anxiety and other emotional issues as well as have a physical origin. In all cases, the experience of having this condition can create a great deal of distress and also interfere with the ability to enjoy daily activities.

In terms of emotional issues, a nervous bladder may cause an individual to constantly be on the lookout for the nearest public restroom. If one is in close proximity, the urge to go may remain under control. However, if there is no assurance that a restroom is nearby and available, the feeling of having to go immediately may increase to the point the individual experiences something akin to a panic attack. Even if a bathroom is located, the individual may have trouble urinating to the point of feeling that the bladder is completely emptied.

A variation on the nervous bladder is an inability to use a public restroom. Sometimes referred to as a shy bladder, the individual may have a phobia of using public facilities. The phobia may revolve around fears concerning hygiene, or simply be a fear of being seen urinating in a setting where strangers may be present. Both the fears of being without or being unable to use a public restroom can be treated effectively with counseling.

There are, however, physical components that may also come into play. If there is some type of blockage present, the flow of urine will be weaker and may cause the individual to strain in an effort to gain relief. Often, the effort does not result in a feeling of being completely relieved and the individual may soon feel the urge to return to the bathroom. When someone has trouble using the bathroom even in a private home, there is a good chance that there is some type of physical issue that must be addressed.

Anyone who experiences this condition should consult a physician immediately. The doctor can determine if there is a physical component and administer the proper treatment, which may include prescription medication or other treatments that stimulate proper function. If there is no physical reason for the nervous bladder, the physician may refer the patient to a counselor for therapy sessions to help correct the situation.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By StreamFinder — On Jul 31, 2010

Is a nervous bladder ever connected to an inflammatory bladder?

By pharmchick78 — On Jul 31, 2010

Did you know there is an equivalent of the nervous bladder -- the nervous bowel?

It works almost the exact same way -- a person feels the need to defecate, but is unable to do so.

A lot of people have some form of nervous bowel when they are going to someone else's home -- women especially seem to be more nervous about defecating in a strange toilet.

In some cases, a nervous bowel is associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In those cases, the situation is connected with other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, excessive gas, and a feeling of tenesmus, or incomplete bowel movements, even after defecation.

Although there is no one known cause for this condition, it is thought to be associated with the connection between the nervous and digestive systems, which regulates the contractions of the intestines, as irregular contractions are often involved.

In the US, women are thought to suffer from this condition four times more often than men.

By googlefanz — On Jul 31, 2010

I never knew this was an actual condition, I just thought that some people experienced it and others didn't.

It's such a relief to know that there are nervous bladder treatments out there!

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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