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Drug Test Cups: The Enemy Of Those With a Shy Bladder



If you suffer from paruresis (or “shy bladder”) the thought of having to perform a drug test in order to get the job you want can be a daunting proposition. How will you be able to give a urine sample under such pressured conditions?

The bad news is that some employers mandate drug test before they will hire someone, and oftentimes these tests require the subject being tested to urinate into drug test cups, usually in the presence of the tester. When you have a shy bladder, you may not be able to pass urine in those conditions, which can be construed as a refusal to give a sample and, as a result, a failing grade on the test.

So, what’s the good news? There are several things that can be done in these situations. The first course of action is to consult your physician. Ask him to write a note to your prospective employer explaining the problem so that, hopefully, concessions can be made for you on the day of the test. Perhaps you will be afforded more time to provide a sample, or additional privacy.

If you know about the test well in advance, there are some conditioning and desensitization techniques you can use to manage your shy bladder. If you have a spouse or close friend you can ask for help in the matter, have him or her stay close by the bathroom while you urinate on a regular basis, perhaps in the next room. Then, as your comfort level increases, have her stand on the other side of the bathroom door. Then ask to stay in the room while you urinate. The goal of this exercise is to condition your bladder to pass urine even if someone else is nearby. Be aware, however, that even if you take these steps in your home in advance of the test, there is still a chance that your bladder will be shy on the day of the test. As a backup, it’s always best to get a doctor’s note and to discuss possible accommodations that can be made. Perhaps your employer will even allow you to have your urine tested at a doctor’s office or laboratory or to undergo a drug test that does not involve urinating, such as a saliva sample.

You could also explore the possibility of using a catheter for the test. By inserting the catheter, your bladder will have no choice but to pass the urine without having to relax its muscles. Talk to your doctor about this possibility.

Giving a urine sample for a drug test isn’t pleasant for anyone, least of all those who suffer from paruresis. Remember, though, that you do have medical rights and your employer has a legal responsibility to make certain accommodations for your condition. You cannot be discriminated against on the basis of a medical condition.