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The concept of Shy Bladder when regulated for DOT drug test might seem unfamiliar to many, but for those who experience can be a distressing and inhibiting condition.

According to the International Paruresis Association, it is estimated that approximately 7% of the population in the United States alone experience some degree of difficulty in urinating in public in the presence of others. This translates to around 20 million people in the US alone.

This highlights the issue experienced by the employees when going through a urine drug test which makes them unable to provide a urine test sample for a drug test.

In this article, we will talk about:

What is Shy Bladder Syndrome?

What causes Shy bladder?

What are DOT guidelines about Shy Bladder?

How to get over a shy bladder?

What is Shy Bladder Syndrome?

Shy bladder, also known as paruresis or bashful bladder syndrome, is a condition in which a person experiences difficulty urinating in the presence of others, in public restrooms or during the drug test. It is a form of social anxiety that is triggered by the fear of being judged or observed. People with shy bladder may feel the need to urinate, but when they attempt to do so, their sphincter muscles that control the outflow of urine tighten and they are unable to release the urine.

What causes Shy bladder?

Several factors are believed to contribute to the development of shy bladder, including:

  • Psychological factors, such as anxiety and stress
  • Physiological factors, such as an overactive bladder or other medical conditions
  • Trauma, including experiences of sexual abuse or assault
  • Cultural factors
  • Learned behavior, where individuals become conditioned to only being able to urinate in certain environments or under certain conditions.

What are DOT guidelines about Shy Bladder?

One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to DOT urine drug tests is: What happens when an employee fails to provide sufficient urine samples for the drug test?

According to DOT Rule 49 CFR § 40.193(b) When faced with the challenge of producing an adequate urine sample for a drug test, the "shy bladder" procedures will be initiated by the collector.

This entails your presence at the collection site, where you will be encouraged to consume 40 ounces of fluids over a three-hour period in an attempt to provide a sufficient urine specimen. If, after three hours, you are still unable to produce the required amount of urine, the collector must inform your employer's Designated Employer Representative (DER) about the situation, indicating that a specimen could not be provided.

How to get over a shy bladder?

Some common treatments for shy bladder syndrome that healthcare providers may recommend:

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

PMR is a technique that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to achieve deep relaxation. Before the drug test, find a quiet space and practice PMR for a few minutes. This can help reduce overall anxiety and tension, making it easier for you to urinate during the test.

Breathing Exercises

Utilizing controlled breathing techniques can help calm your nervous system and reduce anxiety. By focusing on your breath, you can divert your attention away from your anxiety and toward the task at hand. Practice deep inhalations and slow exhalations, maintaining a steady rhythm.

Bladder training: Training the bladder to hold urine for longer periods and to urinate on a schedule to help reduce the urge to urinate in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations.

Final Words

Shy Bladder, while distressing for many, is a recognized condition with clear procedures outlined by the Department of Transportation (DOT) during drug testing. By understanding its causes and implementing coping strategies, employees can better navigate these situations.

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