What Is Trypophobia?

Updated on July 1, 2017
social thoughts profile image

I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I've been a Goth since age fourteen, and a Pagan since age fifteen.

Swiss Cheese
Swiss Cheese | Source

Trypophobia is defined as an irrational fear of multiple holes placed closely next to each other. One of the most understandable examples is a beehive; however, anyone who Googles the phobia will find themselves bombarded with images of lotus pods that have been photoshopped into body parts. As with other phobias, when those affected with Trypophobia view triggering objects or images, they may feel a need to itch themselves, they may feel sick, or they may run from it. Nonetheless, one may wonder why anyone would be afraid of holes; especially, those they know were photoshopped.

There are a few theories:

Have you heard of Trypophobia?

See results


Those afraid of holes in the skin are often afraid of infection. Some of the images created online turn the lotus seed pod into a wound. They change the plant's color to match the skin-tone, as well as add redness for swelling and/or blood. Our human vulnerability to infections makes it easy to sympathize with these images, since it's an everyday reality. After all, breaks in the skin can be a threat to our health, and survival.


Insects and small animals like to burrow in the ground, trees, and so on; therefore, it is no surprise that the sight of holes would cause concern. The mystery of whether or not a living thing lies within those holes is what gives one the creeps. Then, again, even if the creatures are not in the holes, at the moment, they could be nearby. Identifying these signs is a natural instinct for survival; therefore, analysis of these situations is not insane.


Many poisonous insects and animals have spots of diverse sizes on their bodies; therefore, there is a theory that evolution has taught us to instinctively fear these irregular patterns. Examples of poisonous animals with these spots are the dart frog and the Timber rattlesnake. In evolutionary theory, the survivors learned how to identify danger before they became victims. Today, the families of these groups know what to avoid.


Trypophobia sufferers fear some foods with holes. Perhaps, the reason is the same for why skin with holes and/or nature with holes would make someone uneasy. They may fear an infestation, and/or an impurity within; unfortunately, this makes it very difficult as many foods naturally have holes in them; especially, bread-based foods and cheeses.


Trypophobia has yet to be officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association; however, after research, scientists Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins are in favor of declaring it a real phobia. They agree that it stems from an evolutionary survival skill rather than senselessness.

Do you think Trypophobia should be recognized as a real phobia?

See results

All phobias are about irrational fears. This article may help others understand this uniquely reasonable one. Hopefully, it hasn't made readers believe they have it. It is understandable that after learning about this phobia some question if it personally affects them. If this is the case, there are a number of options to free oneself from this disturbing condition.

© 2014 social thoughts


Submit a Comment

  • social thoughts profile image

    social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey


    Thank you for reading and sharing. I am so sorry to hear that. :( Hopefully over time people will come to accept it as a phobia and be more supportive.

  • profile image

    Lailab14 2 years ago

    I have it and it's terrible. It should definitely be considered a real phobia.

  • social thoughts profile image

    social thoughts 3 years ago from New Jersey


    Thank you. I haven't met anyone with it, yet. So, that must have been an interesting way to learn about it. I hope the article does help people. :)

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

    I never heard of trypophobia until 2 years when a hubber told me they suffered from it. I can't imagine. Of course it's a real phobia if some one is disturbed by it. I'm sure those who have this phobia will feel less alone when they stumble across this article.

  • social thoughts profile image

    social thoughts 3 years ago from New Jersey

    billybuc, I agree with you that as long as it affects people, it is real. Thank you for reading!

  • social thoughts profile image

    social thoughts 3 years ago from New Jersey

    dragonfly, Thank you for your comment. I hope it didn't disturb you too much. It took me a few days to get over it, myself!

  • profile image

    dragonflycolor 3 years ago

    I don't have trypophobia, but looking at all these holes and the images people use to photoshop with is disturbing enough. I can't look at multiple holes ever again! Interesting hub!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I've never heard of it. Is it a real phobia? As long as someone suffers from it, then it is real. :) Thanks for the education.