By Medically reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor


What is Trypophobia?

Trypophobia is a fear or disgust of closely-packed holes. People who have it feel queasy when looking at surfaces that have small holes gathered close together. For example, the head of a lotus seed pod or the body of a strawberry could trigger discomfort in someone with this phobia.

How common is Trypophobia?

Trypophobia is not common. It is not officially recognized. Studies on trypophobia are limited, and the research that is available is split on whether or not it should be considered an official condition. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of Trypophobia?

Symptoms are reportedly triggered when a person sees an object with small clusters of holes or shapes that resemble holes.

When seeing a cluster of holes, people with trypophobia react with disgust or fear. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Goosebumps
  • Feeling repulsed
  • Feeling uncomfortable
  • Visual discomfort such as eyestrain, distortions, or illusions
  • Distress
  • Feeling your skin crawl
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Body shakes

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you or your loved one has any signs or symptoms listed above or you have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes Trypophobia?

Not much is known about trypophobia. But common triggers include things like:

  • Lotus seed pods
  • Honeycombs
  • Strawberries
  • Coral
  • Aluminum metal foam
  • Pomegranates
  • Bubbles
  • Condensation
  • Cantaloupe
  • A cluster of eyes

Animals, including, insects, amphibians, mammals, and other creatures that have spotted skin or fur, can also trigger symptoms of trypophobia.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Trypophobia?

Not much is known about the risk factors linked to trypophobia. One study from 2017 found a possible link between trypophobia and major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). According to the researchers, people with trypophobia were more likely to also experience major depressive disorder or GAD. Another study published in 2016 also noted a link between social anxiety and trypophobia. Please consult with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is Trypophobia diagnosed?

To diagnosis a phobia, your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your symptoms. They’ll also take your medical, psychiatric, and social history. They may also refer to the DSM-5 to help in their diagnosis. Trypophobia is not a diagnosable condition because the phobia is not officially recognized by medical and mental health associations.

How is Trypophobia treated?

There are different ways a phobia can be treated. The most effective form of treatment is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing your response to the object or situation causing your fear.

Another common treatment for a phobia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT combines exposure therapy with other techniques to help you manage your anxiety and keep your thoughts from becoming overwhelming.

Other treatment options that can help you manage your phobia include:

  • General talk therapy with a counselor or psychiatrist
  • Medications such as beta-blockers and sedatives to help reduce anxiety and panic symptoms
  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and yoga
  • Physical activity and exercise to manage anxiety
  • Mindful breathing, observation, listening, and other mindful strategies to help cope with stress

While medications have been tested with other types of anxiety disorders, little is known about their efficacy in trypophobia.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Trypophobia?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Trypophobia:

  • Get enough rest
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Avoid caffeine and other substances that can make anxiety worse
  • Reach out to friends, family, or a support group to connect with other people managing the same issues
  • Face fearful situations head on as often as possible

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: March 23, 2018 | Last Modified: December 8, 2019

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