Many woman prefer 'Dr. Google' to doctor

April 19, 2012 at 1:03 AM
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LONDON, April 19 (UPI) -- Twenty-five percent of British women have misdiagnosed themselves on the Internet -- often because they are embarrassed to talk to a doctor, researchers say.

The research involving 1,000 women, commissioned by feminine health company Balance Activ, found one-quarter of British women will trust the Internet for advice on treatments if they find their symptoms embarrassing.

"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," Penny McCormick, spokeswoman for Balance Activ, said in a statement.

The study found Bacterial Vaginosis was being misdiagnosed by two out of three women. If left untreated Bacterial Vaginosis has been linked to serious health implications including an increased risk in contracting sexually transmitted diseases, infertility and miscarriage if present during pregnancy, McCormick said.

Thirty percent of the women used "Dr. Google" instead of a medical doctor because of the agonizing wait for answers from a medical doctor, while 10 percent hesitated to tell friends or family of health problems because they didn't want the issue to be "made into a fuss."

A fifth of the women had at some time suspected they had a serious disease -- the most common false alarm came over breast cancer, while many women had wrongly diagnosed themselves as having thrush, high blood pressure or asthma.

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