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Shy Britons turn to self-diagnosis

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.

"That's very dangerous."

British Medical Association

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