Internet self-diagnosis and illegal drug-shopping is the new "going to the doctor"

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preparation-h-internet-self-diagnosis.jpgYeah, it’s probably cancer. Or maybe just indigestion. Or a stomach ulcer. Or a bruise from sleeping funny.

You must’ve done it – put the symptoms of some sort of medical complaint into Google, then had a look at what other sufferers of the same inexplicable dull ache just beneath the ribs think their problem might be in the various discussion forums that pop up.

In the last two years I’ve convinced myself I’ve had liver failure, a cyst on my neck, broken ribs and a phantom pregnancy through Googling various aches and pains. Turns out I was just living on toast and lager and everything was cured by simply eating a banana every once in a while.

And self-diagnosing via the web like this is incredibly popular – a poll commissioned for UKTV show Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses found that over a third of Britons regularly whack their symptoms into Google to see what might be wrong – especially if it’s something a bit awkward to do with the, you know, bottom areas.

Plus, thanks to the web, more of us are ordering exotic prescription medication from overseas where you don’t need prescriptions for certain drugs – or people there will happily fake you one for a premium – once we’ve found out what’s wrong with us by talking to some teenager in a chat room.

Madness. But at least it’s taking some of the strain off the NHS.

(Via Reuters)

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Gary Cutlack