Shy patients are increasingly using the internet to try to treat themselves rather than pay a visit to their GP, a new study has found.
More than 2,000 Britons were questioned for a poll which was commissioned by UKTV Style.
It found that 48% of people would think twice about visiting a doctor if they developed an embarrassing illness, with medical issues relating to sexually transmitted diseases the most commonly evaded topics.
A total of 41% said they would be reluctant to discuss such an ailment with their GP, while 35% admitted they would be unwilling to discuss anything associated with their bowels.
And the researchers found that 38% of people would evaluate a self-diagnosed condition over the internet, while 12% have bought medication online.
Some 13% of those questioned admitted they have opted for diagnosis by a medical professional through the web without a physical examination.
Dr Laurence Buckman, chair of the British Medical Association's (BMA) GPs committee, said people should be wary about seeking treatment and diagnosis via the web.
He said: "The person on one end may not be a patient and the person on the other end may not be a doctor.