London: When women experience an unexplained medical crisis, they tend to go online to find cure quickly rather than wait for a doctor’s appointment.
However, researchers have found that 25 percent British women has misdiagnosed themselves on the internet – then bought the wrong product to try to cure their illness.
According to the Daily Mail, ‘Dr Google’ is now the first port of call for women with health concerns, but it rarely provides an accurate diagnosis, the experts say.
In fact, searching for symptoms online and self-medicating has led one in ten women to endure unpleasant side effects as a consequence of their misdiagnosis.
And nearly half of women have diagnosed themselves online, then bought a treatment on the high street without checking with pharmacists if it is the correct product.
The tendency to trust the internet over medical professionals or friends and family was highlighted in a survey of 1,000 women. A fifth had at some time wrongly suspected they had a serious disease.
The most common false alarm came over breast cancer, while many women had incorrectly diagnosed themselves as having thrush, high blood pressure or asthma.
The symptoms most likely to trigger women to consult Dr Google included sleep problems, headaches, depression and anxiety.
Three quarters of those surveyed insisted that there were some health issues that they weren’t comfortable talking to friends and family about.
Half of women always tried to tackle embarrassing medical problems themselves before seeking help from others.
Over a quarter said that they dreaded talking to doctors about such problems.
Because of waiting times, about a third visited the doctor only as a last resort.
The research, commissioned by feminine health brand Balance Activ, revealed that many women spent ‘days’ worrying about symptoms before speaking to anyone, while a third had spent at least two weeks sweating over an ailment.
“There is an increasing trend towards using the internet to diagnose any irregularities or worries we have about our bodies,” Balance Activ spokesman Penny McCormick said.
“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, 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,” McCormick added.