How many of us use the internet as a symptom checker when we suspect we may have an illness or an infection? I know I have! It seems to be becoming more and more common, and encouraged (I’m thinking NHS direct here) to check out our symptoms online rather than see a medical professional, especially when it comes to some of those rather embarrassing problems.
I do see the benefits, particularly in terms of saving NHS resources, for people to access advice and guidance for some minor conditions online or over the phone. However it is worrying that you could potentially be missing something more serious or misdiagnosing a particular condition.
For women, one of the most misdiagnosed infections is Bacterial Vaginosis or BV. Most women tend to assume its Thrush and then treat it with the wrong products. BV is actually one of the most common vaginal infections, I had certainly never heard of it before. BV can be triggered due to an imbalance in the pH levels in the vagina which then alters the bacterial balance (source). It can get quite nasty if left untreated so it’s important that you get it checked out. You can find out more about the symptoms here, but if you’re unsure don’t be embarrassed and see your GP!
I know some women that are still worried about going for things like smear tests etc, but it really is so so important to get regular check ups. I just remember that the Doctors and Nurses would have seen plenty of people’s bodies and certainly aren’t going to be bothered about seeing mine!
I think shows like Channel 4’s ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ have been excellent in raising awareness of different illnesses and helping people to feel less reluctant in getting them checked out.
Are you shy about ‘embarrassing’ conditions like this? Have you used ‘Dr Google’ before?