Cyberchondria: The Risks of Using the Internet to Self-Diagnose

Cyberchondria: The Risks of Using the Internet to Self-Diagnose

  Wednesday, March 28, 2018   Comments (0)
You have an abdominal pain that's new, abnormal bleeding at an odd time of the month, or you're experiencing breast tenderness even though you know you're not pregnant. What do you do? If you are like 80 percent of women, you will not call the doctor first; you will pull up the ever-ready medical advice Google has to offer.
It is becoming so common for people to self-diagnose using sites like WebMD and Healthline, that professionals have given the act of obsessing over relative internet conditions linked to an individual's symptoms a name: Cyberchondria. It feels convenient to have medical advice on just about any female condition you can imagine right at your fingertips, but it's not always best to trust what the internet has to offer where medical advice is concerned. There are risks involved with cyberchondria, and these are risks you should know as a woman.

The Internet Offers Skewed Results—At Best

You have abnormal bleeding, do a quick search of your symptoms, and the next thing you know, you have a full list of websites that tell you without a doubt that you have cervical cancer. In real life, abnormal bleeding is associated with all kinds of different problems throughout the stages of womanhood. This is the perfect example of skewed results that can set you off in a terrifying spiral of fear.
The fact is, there is more content out there about the serious stuff than just the typical medical conditions, and it is for good reason. If a website wants to garner more visitors, it's going to talk a lot about things that are most interesting, which tends to lean more toward the more serious conditions. Therefore, that list of explaining conditions you see when you type your symptoms into a search bar on Google is not going to be a lot of help.

Cyberchondria Can Have You Forking Over Money for Unnecessary Testing

One of the first things you will do if the internet tells you that you have some major condition is call your doctor, make an appointment, and ask for testing. Because the best OBGYN in Houston will take your concerns seriously, they will sometimes order the tests you want to ease your mind because, well, you asked. Sure, it's always better to be safe than sorry, but your preconceived diagnosis could be causing you to pay for expensive medical testing that is completely unnecessary.
Trusting the internet to tell you what is wrong with you if you have a female issue is about as effective as accepting a diagnosis from a group of random strangers who know nothing about you, your medical history, or your overall condition. If you have checked symptoms online and have concerns, contact us at Plaza OB/GYN for more information.

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