What the Yuck?!

Can I Get Over My Fears of Using Unfamiliar Bathrooms?

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Q:I have a phobia about going number two anywhere but my own bathroom. How can I get over this?

A: Your anxiety is really common, and something you can overcome. First, remember: We all produce bowel movements and the accompanying sounds and, yes, smells. No ones paying attention to you in a public restroom—theyre all preoccupied! To get a little more comfortable in there, listen to your iPod to relax, and try using the stall farthest from the door. Deep breathing can also help curb your anxiety. But if your fear prevents you from going regularly (which can cause constipation and abdominal pain), consult a therapist. Youll feel much better—mentally and physically.
Roshini Rajapaksa, MD
Last Updated: December 10, 2010

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