Most people seem to search their symptoms online, especially when the concern is too “embarrassing” to speak to a GP.
And so online health and wellbeing retailer StressNoMore decided to analyse just how many people are googling how to treat common health problems that people may find slightly taboo to speak about.
It seems that Milton Keynes is one of the more inquisitive cities in the country, coming in 2nd place in the study (161 monthly online searches per 100,000 people).
The biggest health problem Milton Keynes residents are too shy to speak to their GP about is “How to treat thrush”, a common yeast infection. This is also the most-asked question across the nation, being searched by over 33,000 people in the UK every month.
Thrush, despite usually being harmless, is still a taboo subject. It’s also wrongly thought of as a women’s problem and is caused by poor hygiene. In reality, it can affect anyone at any point in their lives and the NHS recommends you visit your GP or sexual health clinic to rule out other more serious infections.
Two questions - “How to remove warts” and “How to treat acne” come in joint second place in Milton Keynes.
Warts are small lumps on the skin caused by a viral infection and are spread through skin-to-skin contact or contaminated surfaces, similar to verrucas. Warts are commonly found on the feet, hands, knees and fingers and cause no harm, but they can be seen as embarrassing or unsightly by some. Nationally, “How to treat warts” is the third-most asked question to Dr. Google, searched by almost 15,000 people every month.
“How to treat acne” is also a common health problem Googled in Milton Keynes and in the wider UK – being searched by an average of 18,000 people each month nationwide. Acne is a common skin condition causing spots, redness and irritation on the face, back and chest and mostly affects teenagers and young adults.
While it cannot be cured, mild acne can be treated with a range of self-help techniques and skincare products, but for more severe cases, antibiotics and stronger creams may be prescribed. But as acne can lower a person’s self-esteem, it can be difficult to talk to someone about it.
In joint third place is “How to treat piles” and “What causes constipation” in Milton Keynes – two health concerns which are often interconnected. Across the whole of the UK, people search for piles treatments on Google over 12,000 times a month and the causes of constipation almost 10,000 times.
Piles can be painful, but pharmacists will be able to provide creams and painkillers to relieve discomfort. Lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, proper hygiene and exercise can also help treat and prevent piles reoccurring.
Constipation (being unable to go to the toilet) affects most people at some point in their lives and can be uncomfortable or painful at times. It can be a side-effect of eating a poor diet, being stressed, not doing enough exercise and can be caused by certain types of medicines too. If you suffer from long-term constipation, visit your GP.
Stephanie Taylor, Founder of StressNoMore commented on the findings: “The sheer number of people in the UK Googling these health concerns every month just goes to show how common they are so there’s no need to be embarrassed. Most issues have quick fixes and doing something about it can get you back to feeling your best, faster.
“While Googling health concerns is an important step in understanding your health status, Google doesn’t know you as an individual or your medical history. If you have a health concern and are unsure what to do, always consult your GP or another health professional. Remember, nothing is too embarrassing to share.”
It is also important to note that research shows Google is wrong a third of the time.