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Parcopresis, also termed psychogenic fecal retention, is the inability to defecate without a certain level of privacy. The level of privacy involved varies from sufferer to sufferer. The condition has also been termed shy bowel. This is to be distinguished from the embarrassment that many people experience with defecation in that it produces a physical inability, albeit of psychological origin.

Parcopresis is not a medically recognized condition.[1]


Parcopresis can be described as "an inability to defecate when other people are perceived or likely to be around (e.g. in the same public toilet, house or building)". This inability limits the sufferer to being able to defecate only in a limited number of 'safe' places thus restricting their lifestyle. The level of restriction varies depending on the severity of each sufferer's condition but in extreme cases it can force people to give up their jobs, avoid holidays they would love to take, and generally dictate and limit most aspects of their lives.

It affects both men and women, of all ages and backgrounds. It is not clear how many people suffer with the condition, and level of severity is a key factor as some people may not find it affects their lives, while others find their lives are dictated by its demands.


One form of treatment is Cognitive behavioral therapy which promotes desensitization methods.[citation needed][dubious ]

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