Parcopresis - bashful bowel syndrome

A quick surf on the web allows you to discover something very strange about phobias. Some of them are a whole lot more fashionable than others. Celebrities are queuing up to confess to a fear of spiders (Johnny Depp) or thunder-storms (Madonna). But parcopresis – otherwise known as bashful bowel syndrome – not so much!

And herein lies a problem. An inability to open one’s bowels - unless alone in your own home - is massively debilitating. Holidays, social interactions and relationships are lost. Ability to work can be utterly sabotaged. It is a kind of shameful imprisonment – and yet nobody else must know.

Fortunately, people are at last beginning to discuss this distressing condition. So we are beginning to find answers. Both hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) have been suggested. Both seem to be beneficial - at least anecdotally.

Perhaps the effectiveness of hypnotherapy is not so surprising. Parcopresis seems to inhabit a space between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and social anxiety syndrome (SAD). And both these conditions are known to respond well to hypnotherapy. Indeed hypnotherapy has been recommended for chronic IBS by NICE (the UK medicines regulatory body) since 2008.

So patients can be reassured that help is at hand. Perhaps the key to relief is the courage to step forward for help. Knowing that this condition has a name is a useful first step. And remember - you may not be famous – but you are most definitely not alone.

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