Fear of Poop: Coprophobia, Parcopresis & Managing Symptoms

Explore the fear of poop, its causes, impacts, treatment options, and self-help strategies for managing coprophobia and parcopresis symptoms.


Picture this: you’re out and about, enjoying your day when suddenly the fear of poop strikes. It’s an uncomfortable topic for many, but it’s essential to understand and address.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of coprophobia (fear of feces) and parcopresis (shy bowel), exploring their differences and how they affect daily life. We will also discuss potential causes behind these phobias, such as traumatic events or societal pressures on women regarding defecation.

Further, we’ll look into treatments such as CBT and SSRIs for those suffering from coprophobia or parcopresis. Additionally, self-help strategies will be provided to manage parcopresis effectively by identifying personal triggers causing anxiety about pooping and practical tips for coping with fear when using public restrooms.

We won’t stop there; we’ll also delve into the consequences of untreated fecal phobias on both physical health risks and emotional well-being. Finally, special attention will be given to children who may experience coprophobia – discussing potential causes and offering valuable advice for parents in addressing their child’s fear of poop.

This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on a lesser-known yet impactful issue that affects countless individuals’ lives worldwide. So let’s break down barriers together by understanding our fears better!

Table of Contents:

Understanding Coprophobia and Parcopresis: The Fears That Can Hold You Back

Let’s talk about poop.

No, really – it’s important.

Coprophobia, or the fear of feces, is a real anxiety disorder that can significantly impact daily life.

Parcopresis, also known as shy bowel syndrome, is another type of social phobia related to passing stool in public settings.

But what causes these fears?

  • Past traumatic experiences: A negative event involving defecation may lead to long-lasting anxiety.
  • Societal stigma: Women may feel particularly pressured not to use public restrooms for bowel movements due to societal expectations and judgment.
Defecation Phobia

Defining Coprophobia and Parcopresis

Coprophobia refers specifically to an irrational fear of fecal matter itself. The mere idea of it, contact with it or even the sight of excrement can cause intense dread in those afflicted by coprophobia.

Causes Behind These Fears

Anxiety disorders like coprophobia often stem from multiple factors such as genetics, brain chemistry imbalances (like low serotonin levels), and environmental influences like upbringing or past trauma.

The Impact on Daily Life

Let’s face it, coprophobia and parcopresis can be a real bummer. Imagine missing out on social events or vacations because of your fear of poop. It’s not just about avoiding public restrooms; these phobias can lead to physical consequences too.

Avoidance Behaviors Associated with Fecal Phobias

Coprophobic individuals might avoid using the bathroom in unfamiliar places or even at work. The fear of being judged while defecating is real, especially for women who often feel societal pressure to maintain an air of perfection.

Physical Consequences of Holding Back Bowel Movements

Holding back bowel movements isn’t just uncomfortable – it can also cause muscle tension and make passing stool more difficult. Anxiety signs, for example heightened pulse and perspiring, may further intensify the issue when attempting to utilize a public lavatory.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Connection?

  • FYI: Some studies suggest that there might be a link between fecal phobias and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • This means that managing anxiety related to pooping could potentially help relieve IBS symptoms.

So, what can you do to conquer your fear of feces and reclaim your life?

Keep reading for treatment options and self-help strategies that could make a world of difference.

Treatment Options for Fear of Feces

Let’s delve into the potential remedies, shall we?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a popular and effective approach to tackle coprophobia. This evidence-based treatment helps individuals recognize and change their thought patterns surrounding poop-related anxieties.

On the other hand, exposure therapy gradually exposes people to situations they fear, like using public restrooms or encountering feces. This technique can assist in decreasing worry signs by improving assurance in the individual’s capacity to confront these scenarios. It’s essential to work with a trained professional when undergoing exposure therapy.

  • Note: If you’re looking for medication options, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) might be your go-to choice. A study published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal found that SSRIs are often considered first-line treatments for most disorders including social anxieties like coprophobia.
Anxiety about pooping

To relieve anxiety and depression associated with this phobia, consider joining support groups such as those offered by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). In addition to professional help, don’t forget to practice self-care and relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation.

For optimal treatment, it is essential to consult a mental health expert who can recommend the best course of action for your individual case. Together, you’ll conquer this fear.

Self-Help Strategies for Managing Phobias Related to Poop

Let’s dive into some practical self-help strategies that can help you manage your parcopresis.

Step #1: Acknowledge the problem and accept that it’s a part of your life, but don’t let it define you.

Step #2: Identify personal triggers by paying attention to situations or environments where your fear is heightened.

Step #3: Challenge negative beliefs surrounding poop and defecation. Educate yourself on the normalcy of bowel movements.

Step #4: When using public restrooms, carry an air purifier or line the inside of toilet bowls with paper to ease anxiety. If possible, choose single-stall restrooms for added privacy.

  • Create a pre-bathroom routine such as deep breathing exercises or positive affirmations to help relieve anxiety symptoms before entering a public restroom.
  • Incorporate stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, or exercise into your daily routine to help manage overall anxiety levels.
  • Talk openly about your fears with trusted friends or family members who can offer support and understanding in difficult moments.

Consider seeking professional help, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, or relaxation techniques, to relieve anxiety and manage symptoms related to shy bowel, irritable bowel syndrome, or depression association.

Remember: Coping with fecal phobias takes time and patience. Maintain constancy in utilizing these approaches, and don’t be scared to look for expert assistance if necessary.

Coprophobia in Children: Recognizing and Addressing the Fear

Let’s focus on the children in this discussion.

Coprophobia can affect children too, causing them distress when it comes to defecation or even just seeing or touching fecal matter.

So, what are some signs of coprophobia in kids?

  • Sign #1: Extreme worry about using public restrooms or having accidents at school.
  • Sign #2: Overly cautious behavior during potty training sessions.
  • Sign #3: Avoidance of situations where they might encounter poop (e.g., changing a sibling’s diaper).

The root cause? It could be anything from overly cautious parents during potty training to hearing scary stories highlighting dangers associated with touching feces.

Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fears

You’re not alone – there are ways to help your child overcome their fear of poop.

  1. Revisit Potty Training Techniques: Ensure you’re providing positive reinforcement and creating a comfortable environment for your child while learning this essential skill.
  2. Talk About It: Open communication is key. Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns regarding their fears. Normalize the topic by discussing how everyone poops, including animals.
  3. Educate Them: Teach them about good hygiene practices like washing hands after using the restroom, and explain that feces are a natural part of life.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If your child’s fear is causing significant distress or impacting their daily life, consider consulting with a mental health professional who specializes in treating phobias.

By addressing coprophobia early on, you can help prevent it from becoming a long-term issue for your child.

Real-Life Cases of Fecal Phobias

Let’s explore some concrete instances.

UK model Emmerald Barwise made headlines when she fainted during a photo shoot after not using the bathroom for two weeks due to her fecal phobia.

Talk about dedication.

In another case, a 19-year-old barista experienced a burst appendix after refusing to pass gas around her boyfriend for two years. Ouch.

These cases highlight the importance of addressing coprophobia as it can lead to serious physical complications if left untreated.

Fear of Feces

Shy bowel, often considered first-line treatments for most disorders including social anxieties like coprophobia, can be helpful in managing these fears and their impact on personal relationships and careers.

  • Action Item #1: Seek professional help if you suspect that you or someone close might have coprophobia. Don’t let this fear control your life.
  • Action Item #2: Be understanding and supportive towards those who struggle with fecal phobias. It’s not easy living with such anxiety every day.
  • Action Item #3: Educate yourself about treatment options available so that you can make informed decisions about your mental health.

Remember, the key to overcoming coprophobia is prompt intervention and a willingness to face one’s fears head-on.

FAQs in Relation to Fear of Poop

What is fear of poop called?

Fear of poop is known as Coprophobia, which is an irrational and persistent phobia related to feces. It can manifest in various ways, such as avoiding public restrooms or experiencing extreme anxiety when encountering fecal matter. Learn more about Coprophobia here.

Do I have Coprophobia?

If you experience intense fear, anxiety, or panic when confronted with the thought or presence of feces, you may have coprophobia. However, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Find out more about diagnosing phobias here.

What is poo phobia in kids?

Poo phobia in children refers to an excessive fear surrounding defecation that often leads to constipation and withholding behavior. This could be due to past painful experiences during bowel movements or general anxiety around using the toilet. Discover strategies for helping children overcome toilet anxiety here.

What is bowel anxiety?

Bowel anxiety, a type of parcopresis, refers to the inability or difficulty passing stool due to psychological factors, such as fear of using public restrooms or anxiety about the act itself. It can lead to physical discomfort and negatively impact daily life. Learn more about parcopresis here.


In conclusion, coprophobia and parcopresis are serious conditions that can greatly impact an individual’s daily life. Traumatic events and societal pressures on women regarding defecation are common causes of fear of poop. However, there are treatment options available such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to manage these phobias.

Self-help strategies such as identifying personal triggers and practical tips for coping with fear when using public restrooms can also be effective in managing parcopresis. It is important to address fecal phobias as untreated cases can lead to physical health risks and emotional tolls on individuals suffering from the fear of poop.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a fear of poop, seek help from a mental health professional or visit HealthSpot for more information on available resources.