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Searching the Internet for Medical Information

woman-on-internetThe Internet can be a wonderful place. With a few clicks you can instantly pull up tons of information on just about any issue. You can connect with others, find communities, and instantly answer questions you may have. Unfortunately, the Internet is filled with misinformation, especially when it comes to medical concerns.

If you do an internet search for Endometriosis, for example, you will discover very different and oftentimes conflicting information from site to site. One website will tell you a hysterectomy is the best answer, another will tell you the exact opposite. It is important to read the source of the information and determine who is offering the information, when they wrote it, and what their goal is. Some websites use scare tactics to promote a product; it could be a book or a vitamin they’re trying to get you to buy. Some websites may give you partial information and ask you to join their website in order to finish reading the article. Other websites appear to be professional but are not published by anyone in the medical field. Exercise caution when looking online. Always ask questions and use judgment before jumping to any conclusions about your own medical concerns.

Online support groups are gaining popularity throughout the web; they can be a great way to feel heard and have your feelings validated. If you visit one of these communities please use caution: many of the women who visit these sites do not have a proper diagnosis, are getting their information from inexperienced doctors, and are unknowingly spreading misinformation to other women. Many times the few worst-case-scenarios get a lot of attention whereas the thousands of successful cases are unmentioned. If you choose an online support group, use caution.

If you read something scary online, ask questions before you assume it’s true. And remember, Dr. Davis is always willing to answer your questions and listen to your concerns.

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