One in four women have bought the wrong medication after misdiagnosing themselves on the internet and one in ten has suffered unpleasant side effects as a result, research suggests.
Half of women have diagnosed themselves online and bought a treatment without checking with phar-macists if it is the correct product. A similar proportion said they would seek to treat medical problems themselves before consulting doctors.
One in ten women said they hesitated to discuss health problems with family because they did not want “a fuss”, while a third said the wait for answers from a doctor led them to look online for guidance. A quarter said they “dread” speaking to doctors.
A third said they had spent at least two weeks with a medical problem before speaking to a doctor, while one in twenty had spent more than a year enduring symptoms before seeking medical help.
The symptoms most likely to prompt women to diagnose themselves are problems sleeping, headaches and depression, while muscle pain, itching and fatigue regularly cause women to consult Dr Google.
A fifth of women had at some time suspected they had a serious disease – the most common false alarm came over breast cancer, while many women had wrongly diagnosed themselves as having thrush, high blood pressure or asthma.
The survey of 1,000 women was conducted by Balance Activ, the women’s health brand.