A latest analysis of social media data has claimed that uncertainty and confusion around the symptoms of common Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) is causing people to mistake them for other conditions.
As per the new research from TestCard, in some cases the confusion leads to worries over cancer, diabetes, dementia and ovarian cysts.
The data that analysed around 28,000 posts about UTIs from 16,000 women saw mass confusion around the symptoms of a UTI. In 6% of all posts fear of a more serious condition being the root of the symptoms was identified.
The analysis further showed ‘fear’ was expressed in almost a third of all posts (31%) on UTIs.
According to TestCard’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andrew Vallance-Owen, “This data analysis demonstrates that there are a lot of concerned people out there who experience often painful and uncomfortable symptoms, but are unsure what’s causing them. It’s natural to go online and ask others what they think it could be to try and self-diagnose – but this approach should be treated with real caution.”
He added: “It could be a common UTI causing the symptoms people are experiencing, and the beauty of TestCard is that it provides people with a potentially faster route to the right treatment with results they can send straight to their doctor. So TestCard supports people with an, easy-to-use and private solution which can give an answer to their questions quickly.”
As per the data, worried British women are taking to social media and forums and using them as though they were an “out-of-hours diagnosis service”, asking questions and describing their symptoms online as soon as they become aware of them and looking for reassurance and advice.
The major reasons of this fear were; pain, confusion over symptoms and lack of certainty about diagnosis, with people confused about whether it was a UTI, or another serious medical condition that they were suffering from.
Painful symptoms were the trigger for almost 27% of posts about a UTI, and people who suspected they had a UTI also asked for advice on GPs and testing access, with almost one fifth of posts (5500) identifying they were waiting for test results.
People were also asking questions online about UTIs on behalf of family. Almost one in ten posts (9%) referenced their mother or daughter in UTI discussion. UTIs are common in elderly people and some symptoms like mental confusion can often be mistaken for dementia.
(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)
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