Latest thinking on paruresis and parcopresis: A new distinct diagnostic entity?

Aust J Gen Pract. 2019 Apr;48(4):212-215. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-09-18-4700.


Background: Paruresis and parcopresis are psychogenic conditions that involve a difficulty or inability to void or defecate, respectively, in a public setting (eg public restroom). Both conditions are associated with significant psychological distress. As a result of shame, embarrassment and stigma, individuals with these conditions may not actively identify behaviours or symptoms or seek treatment in general practitioner (GP) consultations.

Objective: The objective of this article is to provide a summary of the associated psychopathology and comorbidity, and diagnostic challenges associated with paruresis and parcopresis. Treatment recommendations relating to paruresis and parcopresis are also provided.

Discussion: Paruresis and parcopresis can have a significant impact on an individual's psychological health and overall quality of life. GPs play a part in identifying these conditions, defusing feelings of shame and embarrassment, and enabling access to psychological interventions, which are likely to provide significant benefits to individuals living with paruresis and/or parcopresis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Defecation*
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / complications*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Toilet Facilities
  • Urination*