Updated on 21st December, 2016
Earlier, we had a cough or cold, we would visit a doc or take a tablet we have been prescribed previously. These days, a minor fever and we are all googling the symptoms to know what it could be. Everyone has become a doctor. Everyone has started self-diagnosis. The information explosion online is more or less responsible for this behavior.
I am sure it irks the doctors that their patients are well able to conduct self-diagnosis and talk knowledgeably. Do not get me wrong. It is good to be aware of your body and your need to understand it. But, may be, somewhere down the line, the information is making us more self-reliant and less trusting of our doctors. Saves us from bad ones but when we actually need treatment, it might end up harming us. It would do us good to remember that not all that information is right and pertinent.
Let me just recount instances when I have obsessively self-diagnosed myself.
- Irrationally, I have always been convinced that I have PCOS/PCOD all because of the facial hair. I did visit a gyneac for this!!
- Again at some point of time, I started taking too many fluids and visiting the washroom too many times. My mum was staying with me at that time so she asked me if I have developed diabetes. I suddenly became so conscious that I reduced the intake of fluids!! And, started to search for other symptoms of diabetes.
- I have done this multiple number of times like when I wanted to find out whether rheumatoid arthritis was genetic or when retina detachment was diagnosed in my eyes.
Thankfully, either of the time I did not really land up with the doctor but it is a serious habit which can have long term implications if it becomes an obsession.
When I found out more about retina detachment and talked to my eye doc about it, the only advise she gave was that never read on internet about health conditions. There are just so many parameters which affect the said condition and our own body build plays a very important role in how far a condition can affect us. Not everything you read online is also relevant and true.
How well do you understand your Body?
Instead of actually spending time on reading about things, may be it would do us a lot more good if we connect with our body on an intrinsic level. Yoga is a very good way to do this. Not that I understand my body a lot but taking note of how your body reacts when you eat something, how your body feels when you workout and when your body is not functioning the way it used to.
Almost six months back, something very unusual happened with me. The skin on my forearms started getting tight and very shiny. At the same time, I realized I could not sit on the floor. There was some problem in my hips or my knees and my body was not listening to me. Though, it is a different thing that I failed to connect both the symptoms and ignored the problem thinking it is extreme Vitamin D deficiency.
After a good six months of suffering, I went to the doc and I was flabbergasted with the diagnosis. More about it some other time. But, I would like to end by saying that reading a lot about medical conditions, pregnancies, cancers online can give you a personal perspective but it can never really answer your questions correctly. If you are really interested in self-diagnosis, it is better to go to the doctor and get a professional opinion. So, what do you say?