Women are misdiagnosing themselves on the internet .
photo by T.Dilger
One in four British women has misdiagnosed themselves on the internet, a study revealed yesterday. Researchers have found that Dr Google is now the first port of call for women with genuine health concerns, who are almost twice as likely to check online before consulting a doctor or even talking to Mum. A trend towards trusting the internet over friends, family and medical professionals meant half of the 1,000 women studied would first try to treat an ailment themselves rather than risk embarrassment or the inconvenience of waiting times for GP appointments.
But searching their symptoms online and self-medicating has led a tenth of the country’s women to endure unpleasant side effects as a result of their misdiagnosis. The research, which was commissioned by feminine health brand Balance Activ, found a quarter of British women will trust the internet for advice on treatments if they find their symptoms embarrassing. Penny McCormick, spokesperson for Balance Activ said yesterday: ”There is an increasing trend towards using the internet to diagnose any irregularities or worries we have about our bodies. ”The web gives us a wealth of information that can be useful in reducing our worries until we’re able to gain proper advice from a medical authority if it’s needed, but the results show how easy it is to make mistakes when diagnosing ourselves. ”It’s important we learn which information to trust online and that we’re able to make the distinction between what can be self-diagnosed and easily treated, and what definitely requires the help of a medical professional. What can seem like a relatively harmless but embarrassing symptom could develop into something more serious so it is important for women to ensure they are asking the right questions and treating certain conditions effectively in the first instance.”
The report also found despite having diagnosed themselves online and decided on a high street treatment, 45 per cent never they are buying the right thing with a pharmacist or counter staff. The agonising wait for answers is what drives thirty per cent of women to look for help online, which is a growing factor of the ‘instant’ life we all live in these days, while one in ten hesitate to tell friends or family of any health problems because they don’t want the issue to be ‘made into a fuss’.
Tellingly, three-quarters of the 1,000 women surveyed from all ages and all walks of life, said there are certain health issues they aren’t comfortable talking to friends and family about. Indeed, women are more likely to trust their own diagnosis when embarrassed by their symptoms – half of the study would always try to deal with the problem themselves before seeking help from others. Over a quarter of respondents dread talking to doctors about anything they are embarrassed about. Most women had spent a few days worrying over symptoms before speaking to anyone. Because of waiting times, thirty per cent only visit the doctor as a last resort, while half of the women studied said they would always try all they can to cure themselves and only seek medical advice if the problem didn’t go away.
So ladies, if you are worried about any health problems, embarrassed by a certain symptom, or feel like you just don’t have time to visit your GP, find time. It is so important for us all to stay healthy, and be dianosed correctly, at anytime that we find our health any less that 100%, and of course recieve the correct treatment.