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Gastroenterology Blog

Self-Diagnosis with Dr Google

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 @ 3:22 PM

In the information age that we live in, it is easy to take the path of least resistance and avoid inconvenience when an ailment starts to cause concern and physical impairment.  Our desire for instant gratification can frequently be met with the quick Google search for a diagnosis fitting all of our symptoms.  Limitless outcomes can come from the results- self-delusion on the actual severity of physical conditions, over-reaction to the potential conditions, attempts at self-treatment, and potentially informing your physician of your new “condition” without any testing or physician assessments completed.

self_diagnosis_of_gastro_problems_in_BRThe slippery slope here is that self-diagnosis with Dr Google CANNOT replace the education and experience of a skilled physician.  When looking at the systems of the human body, particularly the abdominal area and organs, a much more complex picture of what could potentially be causing symptoms comes to light. Doctors learn a little more in medical school than a patient can learn in a few Google searches. So, based on where and how the pain presents or on evaluation of the symptoms, physicians are better suited to working up a comprehensive list of potential conditions and the organs that may be involved.

Things To Consider

Now, let us look at some concepts that a novice, “self-diagnoser” will likely not factor into their diagnosis:

1. There are several organs in the trunk / abdomen of the human body:

  • Digestive/Gastroenterological- liver, stomach, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine

 

  • Renal – kidney

 

  • Urologic- ureter, bladder, urethra, prostate

 

  • Gynecologic- uterus, ovaries, tubes

 

  • Vascular- aorta, major blood vessels supplying the organs

 

  • Neurologic- nerve- related

 

  • Orthopedic- spine, hips, etc.

 

2. There are several symptoms that could be attributable to numerous diseases and conditions.  Pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, feeling full, bloating, abdominal distension, and swelling are all symptoms that could be indicative of one of many gastroenterological issues.

3. There are various diseases that might affect a particular organ, and each organ could be affected by several GI disorders.

What Do These Facts Mean?

We have many diseases (hundreds or thousands) that can only express themselves through a few limited symptoms (multiple dozens, maybe a hundred at the most).  So if abdominal pain is the issue, for example, the possible culprits range from at least 10-20 causes, from about 3-6 organs (at a minimum).  It is THE JOB of a PHYSICIAN to whittle down the possible causes to just one.  Dr Google is not able to get the same end result.

It is the primary goal of your doctor, paired with some testing, years of medical knowledge, and experience treating countless cases like yours, to get to the end result of a diagnosis so that treatment can begin. 

Over-Reaction in Self-Diagnosis

So, how do you know? Often, we assume the worst case scenario before we even visit our doctor, thanks to Google.   As soon as you search for “abdominal pain,” the result is pancreatic cancer in the search results.  BAM ! THAT’S WHAT YOU HAVE!

Some people actually do come across their conditions via self- diagnosis, but most patients are equally worried, confused, and anxious about ALL THE WRONG THINGS.  Any simple pain, especially if temporary and not severe, may not be of serious concern.  Legitimate issues of concern have a way of surfacing, sooner or later. If you have a serious condition, you cannot ignore it, not for long at least. If you have serious symptoms, they need to be evaluated, or in the very least discussed with a health care provider.  Don’t make assumptions, because outcomes vary wildly.

Schedule a Talk With Your Doctor

appointment_for_stomach_pain_in_Baton_RougeOccasionally after long discussions about pain and symptoms or how irritable bowel syndrome or constipation may be causing their symptoms, patients will ask, “So, it’s not cancer?”  If your doctor knows what your concern is, they can directly speak to that point.  Many physicians find that the most difficult part of dealing with patients problems is that they are fearful to come out with their REAL concerns.

Dr Reddy, one of the board certified gastroenterologists practicing at Gastroenterology Associates, says, “I have several patients ask me if their symptoms are from pancreatic cancer- that seems to be the king of all concerns. It doesn’t happen to everyone, and it is not something you screen for.  All you can do is eat healthy, exercise, see the doctor when needed, follow health care instructions, and stop self-diagnosing on the internet.”

The experience and knowledge of the team of doctors at Gastroenterology Associates cannot be matched by any other practice in the Capital Region.  Since 1977, they have been providing the most advanced procedures and treatment programs with the utmost care and accuracy.  If a set of problems or symptoms has been causing concern, don’t wait until it gets worse or attempt to mask the issue, schedule an appointment with one of the best gastro doctors in Baton Rouge.  Click the link below or call the scheduling center at 225.927.1190.

Schedule A Consultation Gastroenterology Associates

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Common Stomach Problems