Embarrassed women choose Google over doctor's visit
Opening up to a stranger about an intimate or embarrassing problem is never going to be fun. Apparently that's what a lot of young women think, as a new survey has found many are using the internet to diagnose medical problems, as the thought of talking to a doctor is too mortifying.
The research was conducted by the Ovarian Cancer Action charity, with one in six of the young women spoken to admitting they have even cancelled a scheduled appointment because they couldn't face feeling embarrassed. Older people aren't left red faced so easily and so are more likely to be honest with their doctor, it's claimed.
One of the big areas of concern is sexual health, as it's what younger people feel too nervous to speak about properly. However, this can have a dramatic impact on women, as it may stop some dangerous illnesses being diagnosed quickly.
"The reluctance to see a doctor for gynaecological issues is really worrying and, while many of us have turned to the internet for help, googling symptoms is not a substitute for proper medical attention," the charity's chief executive Katherine Taylor explained.
"Illnesses such as ovarian cancer - which kills a woman every two hours in the UK – is much easier to treat if it's diagnosed early, so it's incredibly important that women feel empowered to talk about their health and feel comfortable visiting healthcare professionals."
The message is that you will know your body best, so if you feel something isn't right, you should make an appointment with your doctor. On top of that, the organisation wants to ensure ladies aren't fobbed off, with the suggestion that sometimes doctors aren't familiar with certain conditions. So if you feel dissatisfied with the advice you're given, keep raising your concerns. Should you feel nervous about doing that, there is nothing to stop you arranging to see another professional.
1,000 women were interviewed for the research, with those aged between 18 and 24 four times less likely to see a doctor for sexual health reasons than women in the 55 to 64 age bracket.
In fact, two out of three of the younger group admitted they couldn't ever imagine saying the word 'vagina' while at a surgery, as it'd be too embarrassing. On top of that, 48 per cent explained they didn't want to head to the doctor if they thought they'd need to be examined, and 57 per cent said they'd use Google for advice instead.
Although it's fine to go down that route if you want to, take anything you read online with a pinch of salt. It's easy to jump to the worst case scenario when checking health issues online, especially as every case is different.