Why you shouldn’t Google your symptoms

Discover the real reasons you should never Google your symptoms.

Sick hypochondriac woman google searches her symptons

Anyone who has ever Googled their symptoms will know the self-diagnosis spiral – first you have a sniffle, then a cough, and now Google tells you it’s a rare form of cancer with a side of lupus.

The main reason to stop Googling your symptoms is your own mental health – visiting Doctor Google too often could turn you into a hypochondriac. But apart from not scaring yourself silly, there are some other practical reasons to avoid typing in your symptoms.

False diagnosis
There have been reported cases of patients experiencing a single symptom, Googling it, convincing themselves they have a particular condition and then causing themselves to experience other symptoms of the condition psychosomatically (where through sheer belief the brain causes you to physically experience symptoms caused by no more than your own imagination). They really are experiencing these other symptoms, but they don’t have the disease, and this can lead to a very confusing situation for your doctor, and the possibility of misdiagnosis.

Misinformation
The internet is full of unreliable information. When anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection can get published, it can be difficult to sort the reliable sources from the hacks. Doctors rely on the latest peer-reviewed data to make their diagnosis of your condition, and they have enough background knowledge to sort the wheat from the chaff. While alternative medicine likely has something to teach western medicine, it’s a good idea to take that blog you read with a grain of salt and pair the two to get the best result, rather than relying solely on moon-charged crystals to heal your newly diagnosed diabetes.

Too much information
Doctors are trained to put together your symptoms, medical history and the rarity of a disease to come up with a far more accurate diagnosis than you could ever hope to achieve on your own. There is a reason it takes six years (minimum) of study to become a doctor, and that’s without specialising. The sheer volume of information you would have to read through, comprehend and connect in order to properly diagnose yourself is so great that you are likely to miss something vital, which could put your health in danger.

While Google can be an invaluable resource for trying to diagnose a health issue, it's still best make an appointment with a trained medical professional when you have a genuine health concern.

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    COMMENTS

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    The pom
    13th Apr 2017
    11:26am
    I am sure doctors hate being told that the patient has looked it up on the internet. If I have a symptom which I feel is sufficient to require medical attention my first port of call is my doctor. I am lucky that I still have the same doctor for the last 30 years so he knows me and I trust him. He has I am sure saved my life twice when he has diagnosed Pneumonia and put me on a relevant course very quickly. As I have had a triple bypass over 27 years ago and at 84 am still active and able to ride a bike I reckon he has done a good enough job.
    buby
    12th May 2017
    8:29pm
    Wow Geez Pom whats his name, you are the lucky one.
    Cause most of my life i've manage to get one fool after another.
    And now in my old age, I found a young doctor, who actually found what was wrong with me when the other doctors wouldn't tell me or couldn't read the x ray and was able to tell me in English. After much massaging, and pain, and acupunture, all i needed was a simple operation to fix my torn ligament, hopefully after a few years, and more damage along the way, i may still be able to get it fixed and be able to look after myself without becoming a paraplegic!
    The system is truly Stuffed.
    Also late i had to have blood taken, and the woman couldn't speak english, she understood what i said, but couldn't repeat the spelling of my name, yes definitely chinese. Its definitely gone to POT.
    quirke
    13th Apr 2017
    12:17pm
    Being the mother of a Doctor, and knowing just how much study and stress it took for my child to achieve their goal, I find it offensive when people quote Dr Google, even at my age I know that lots of information that is posted on line is not true, and goodness me we don't even know where it might have originated. I too have a wonderful GP, I understand not all have this privilege, but goodness me give the medical practitioner some credit, one can always question what one is being told, but don't dictate, a little bit of good manners is what is needed.
    buby
    12th May 2017
    8:33pm
    Well i don't really take all google tells me, but i take notes, as i know many symptoms can be the same for many ailments.
    but Certainly NOT all doctors are great. OUR home grown ones i believe are the best, and it be nice to send the foreigners back home where they belong, for i'm sick of being tested by some of them as to whether my mental health is right. I should question some of their motives, some of them are very weird! I'd rather check in with Dr. Google as somebody put it here :)
    Star Trekker
    13th Apr 2017
    12:20pm
    Without the Internet, my daughter would still be waiting for a diagnosis from her GP. With her multiple symptoms the doctors were unwilling to put a label on it. The GP unwillingly wrote a referral to see a Geneticist. Finally after seeing the Clinical Geneticist, they gave us the answer that I had already found on the Internet. Still fighting to get satisfaction from a GP. It seems that rare conditions are not important enough for them and that we are wasting their time.
    Incognito
    13th Apr 2017
    1:26pm
    Probably because they cannot find a pill for it. Doctors cannot cure anything, they are not even taught nutrition, will never suggest anything but further testing and medication. They are scared of Dr Google because many people are becoming informed for example medical cannabis is saving lives and it has taking the internet to spread the news of how good it is for children who have being having seizures etc. Israel are way ahead with this.
    Star Trekker
    13th Apr 2017
    1:48pm
    My daughter needs medication for all the sub-syndromes that are attached to her diagnosis. She cannot even get regular pain relief without begging.
    Erf
    14th Apr 2017
    3:26am
    Oh the irony of it all...an article explaining why we shouldn't Google for Health symptoms yet on the same page an article explaining that there are 5 herbs for beating anxiety which is featured for the express purpose of trying to sell us some pills without prescription!!. .Shame yourlifechoices!!! A definite lack of consistency!!
    buby
    12th May 2017
    8:35pm
    Seems life has become that way in many instances Erf.
    LIfe our pollies too they are losing the consistencies too lol
    Erf
    14th Apr 2017
    3:26am
    Oh the irony of it all...an article explaining why we shouldn't Google for Health symptoms yet on the same page an article explaining that there are 5 herbs for beating anxiety which is featured for the express purpose of trying to sell us some pills without prescription!!. .Shame yourlifechoices!!! A definite lack of consistency!!
    buby
    12th May 2017
    8:38pm
    Anyway me thinks doctors these days like to give you any drug they can to help, but mostly i know they get a cut from what they give you. I've had so much rubbish given to me, and its hurt my kidneys, and heart, so not really been helpful at all.
    Now just recently advertised on teli. Look at all those anti inflammatories, they can cause you big problems. So whose giving Us these nasty drugs and do they give a bugger!!!mmmm
    Incognito
    12th May 2017
    9:42pm
    Yep that's pretty much what they do just give you drugs, they make good bonuses, thanks to big pharma. Even pain killers will rot your guts, and long term use makes the pain actually worse. Try magnesium oil or arnica great natural choices to put on you externally for pain especially joints. You can take magnesium supplements for inflammation or eat foods high in magnesium will help too.
    buby
    16th May 2017
    5:57am
    yes i do something similiar musicveg, and thats probably what helps me to a degree, i also take chia seeds, which seems to be shaping up to a good anti inflammatory. i found in Safeways, it costs 11 dollars a bag, and in aldi its 6 dollars something. Anew superfood. but you take some foods for too long and the body gets used to it, and then not much happens again. Obviously our food is rubbish in this day and age or we wouldn't need the supplements!
    PlanB
    16th May 2017
    8:38am
    Yes the food we buy these days is absolute rubbish tastes nothing like it should and once did and heaven knows if by the time we get it, it even has ANY goodness left in it, no wonder there is so much sickness -- natural is always better.

    However, sometimes we have NO choice about taking pain meds, sadly.


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