Is bathroom stage fright bad for your health?

By Dr. Roshini Raj
Updated December 29, 2015
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I get bathroom stage fright when I try to go number two at work. Is it bad to hold it until I get home?

Sorry, but it is. Putting off a trip to the bathroom can lead to a buildup of gas and dry, hard stool, which can cause bloating and cramps. And it may become difficult, even painful, to pass the stool later on. (In other words, you'll get constipated.) Unless you can arrive home quickly, you should move your bowels when you have the urge.

You're not alone in feeling self-conscious about doing your business in public, but remember that most people don't think twice about the smells and sounds others make in the bathroom. (News flash: That's what it's there for!) Take some deep breaths to relax and, if possible, let the faucet run while you go to help you feel less bashful.

If you really can't stop stressing about pooing at the office, I would encourage you to start waking up earlier to have your breakfast and coffee—then sit on the toilet for a bit. That way, you'll be able to get into the routine of going in the privacy of your own home.

Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is associate professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.