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Natasha is a doctor. She's not someone who is overly sentimental. As a forensic pathologist, she has seen thousands of decaying corpses of people who were brutally murdered. She has seen all kinds of evil done to innocent persons. She has to be the "rock" when her family endures a crisis. 

And she breaks out in tears every time she goes to the bathroom.

Just socially, I observed this several times. She would excuse herself, it was obvious she had gone to the bathroom, and she would have tears in her eyes and a few times she even sobbed as she said "Now where were we?" Finally, I asked what was going on. She explained that it was a parasympathetic nervous reaction.

The parasympathetic nervous system is one of the three parts of the autonomic nervous system. You could think of the autonomic nervous system as the "automatic" nervous system. These nerves control your heart rate. They control how fst food passes through your digestive tract. They control your sphincters.

If you cry when you pee or poop, essentially your brain is sending a message to your tear ducts as well as your bladder or bowel that it's time to release contents. There are several reasons you can have this issue.

My friend caught meningitis when she was in college. She's had this problem ever since. It also occurs in people who have had polio.

In really, really rare cases, there can be a psychological reason someone cries when they use the toilet. This usually relates to an unresolved traumatic event that occurred in a toilet. It's a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treating the PTSD will treat the crying spells.

Some people cry at inappropriate times, but especially when they first come in contact with people or they leave contact with people. This can be a symptom of pseudobulbar affective disorder.

Pseudobulbar affective disorder was first described by Charles Darwin nearly 140 years ago. It's a condition in which the brain "short circuits" so that the parts of the brain that control emotion are disconnected from the parts of the brain that express emotion. One result could be that you cry when you go to the bathroom. However, in pseudobulbar affective disorder, there would be many other occasions when tears or laughter emerge in in appropriate situations, or when the intensity of laughing or crying is inappropriate for the stimulus. 

This isn't something the individual can control. It is always due to a brain injury. Unlike depression or dementia, episodes last just a few seconds to a few minutes. Like over activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, episodes of pseudobulbar affective disorder don't have any relationship to thoughts or emotions. Someone who has this disorder may laugh when they are sad and cry when they are happy. From the perspective of the person to whom they are happening, they're just there. Some relatively safe and inexpensive medications may help control, but there is nothing the individual who has the disease can do to stop episodes of pseudobulbar affective disorder. 

Fortunately there are things one can do to stop the expression of tears in parasympathetic nerve disorders. You won't regain control over your tears overnight, but with practice, you can make the problem less frequent.

What can everyone else do if you cry when you pee or poop? Just as you can learn to "hold it" to retain feces or urine until you get to the bathroom, you can sometimes consciously tell yourself you're just not going to cry, and you won't, that is, until you stop thinking about it. Don't try to do mental gymnastics to avoid crying. Just remember that you have this issue, and practice using your conscious mind to overrule your parasympathetic nervous system. Eventually, this will work.

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