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Doctors Share Their Patients' Worst Cases Of 'So, I Googled My Symptoms...'

Stay Away from the damn WEBMD!!

Doctors Share Their Patients' Worst Cases Of 'So, I Googled My Symptoms...'

Staying healthy can be a daunting task. None of us wants bad news but we have to keep checking in with the body to make sure it's still functioning. Trying to figure out the best way to stay alive can be anxiety inducing. Not every headache and joint pain is cancer but.... sometimes it's something worse. Try to err on the side of caution, see a doctor, WebMD may be right once in a blue moon but it's not what you should rely on.

Redditor u/Oof_Padoof wanted to hear about all the best reasons why none of us should self diagnose through the world wide web and just get to the doctor by asking... Doctors of Reddit, what is your worst case of "I googled my symptoms?"



Had a patient come in and tell us she is having vision issues that are new. Ok lets have a look........ oh, looks like you placed a contact over a contact...... 27 times. Darkdemonmachete

That was a horrible experience.

I had a UTI, because I had the symptoms and Googled it. Day of doctor appointment, it was just a regular check up. But I asked for a UTI test since I explained how I was feeling. Convo went like this:

"could it be possible to request a UTI testing? I've been feeling the symptoms of burning when I pee and some discomfort-"

"how do you feel now? Any pain?"

"well no not at the -"

"well if you did have a UTI the symptoms wouldn't go away you are fine"

2 or so days later I get a full blown kidney infection from a, who would have guessed, a UTI. sent out a complaint, forget that doctor. I always ask for a test if I am suspicious of anything and I have them document it if they say no from now on. That was a horrible experience. chile-con-limon

This confuses the heck out of me.


This confuses the heck out of me. When I go to a doctor they specifically ask if I've done research about whatever, like they expect it. Awkward position cause if I have researched I feel like an idiot using Dr Google and having medical student syndrome, if I haven't researched I get the distinct impression nice disappointed the doc. FluroJacket

Back Issues... 

Not a doctor, but my friend once said a guy came with a backache and wanted to get operated coz he thought he had kidney failure. The_RageHound

The Leg Feels... 

Ever since we studied multiple sclerosis in Neuro, I'm convinced I have it, despite my only symptom being parestesis (funny feelz) in my legs at night. Interferonno2fan

Deja Vu...


Not a doctor, but throughout my childhood and teen years I had these weird episodes where I would suddenly have really bad Deja Vu and get very nauseous. For the next few hours afterward I would feel like I was in a fog and my memory would be shit. Eventually I googled my symptoms and learned they might be minor epileptic seizures.

I went to a doctor and he laughed it off and told me it was probably just having panic attacks related to the normal emotions of being a teenager. I was so sure he was wrong that I opted to go get an EEG - turns out I have a mild form of epilepsy and google was totally right. mambo_number_69

You seem Heavier...

Not a doctor, but the brother of the patient... and "worst" being on the money. My older sister diagnosed herself as having symptoms of systematic heart failure. Her new primary doctor agreed and gave her some basic guidelines of what to do, and had her visit her cardiologist. The cardiologist pooh-poohed her, saying there was probably nothing to worry about and scheduled a test in a few days just to be on the safe side.

One of the things her primary had her looking out for was sudden weight gain, and when she woke up two days later suddenly 6 pounds heavier, we went straight to the emergency room, who ran tests, including an echocardiogram. Her injection fraction was 12, and they immediately sent her to the biggest hospital in the area, where they ended up saving her life from congestive heart failure. She had had at least two silent heart attacks due to the amount of damage they found. lostjaggi

Easy Fix. 

Not a doctor but I was having horrible debilitating headaches for awhile, googled my symptoms and they ranged from stress to brain cancer. Ended up being sinusitis. hangryguy

Not the Nipple...


I had an insect bite basically next to my nipple. It was itching like crazy, and my usual bite cream said not to be used on nipples, so I decided to Google what else I could do to relieve it. Found out that apparently no one else has ever had an insect bite on their nipple, but that what looks like an insect bite on or right next to your nipple is almost certainly inflammatory breast cancer. Phoned up my GP (we used to be neighbors so I kind of knew him) and was in a right state because I thought I had this incredibly aggressive form of breast cancer. He listened to me for a minute, asked a couple of questions and then said, "It's an insect bite. Come back to me if it's still there in three weeks. Oh, and try deodorant on it."

The deodorant calmed it right down, and it had gone by about five days afterwards. The_Sown_Rose


Not really related to this topic, but I am a medical student.. and recently got stye in my eye. Stye is usually self- diagnosable but I called up my cousin who is a doctor just to confirm... Anyways, when I was telling this incident to one of my friends, he started scolding me saying as a medical professional, I should set the example of going to the doctor and getting proper medicines and treatment and all I could say was, "dude, I'm becoming a doc, I know how doctors are" Doctors especially when they know you're a medical student tend to over diagnose or pretend as if we have "medical student syndrome". But anyways, got the meds and my eye's healing 😁. jamiejohn21

Serious answer:

I try to ask my patients if they have googled their symptoms. It gives me a lot of information about what they are worried about. I then try to stay humble about their findings, and try to not be a jerk about that. Trust is not built by telling people they are stupid. However, it is hard to keep a straight face when a 50-year old male walks in and says "I think I have caught the Down's syndrome", or when a young women thought she had testicular cancer. Santy924

Oh Jack. Is that you?


I had a grade school kid tell me he had a brain tumor. Turns out he put a dried bean in his ear and forgot about it.

Edit: Okay, wow. Well, to answer a few questions, the kid was 9 or 10, so no stupider than your average 9 or 10 year old. He didn't really have a reason why, but they'd been using beans for some counting thing in math at school. I don't know what kind of bean it was- small and red. It came out with tweezers. This was years ago and he has probably forgotten all about it, unless his mom reminds him periodically (I would.) jcb42x


Paramedic student here. Last week we had a call for an imminent delivery. Pt started having abdominal pain that would last a little bit and stop. And about 2-3 min later would start again. She googled her symptoms and everything she found was saying she was in labor. She called her husband and he told her to call 911. We walked in as the baby was crowning. She had no idea she was pregnant. jesus-christ-of-ems

"Do you even know what gestational means?"

Not a doctor, but I had a coworker come into the office with this one. He was having nausea, fatigue, frequent urination and decided to WebMD that crap. We're chatting in the office one day and he says something like "Yeah, I've been feeling like poop lately, and it sounds like gestational diabetes but I can't find any cases of men getting it." I just slowly lowered my head into my hand and asked him "Do you even know what gestational means?" He did not. dalgeekdalgeek

The Crackle...


Not a doctor but when my fiance said he was having chest pains and when he breathed, it crackled, I googled and all of the symptoms lead to serious illnesses such a collapsed lung. Thought nothing of it, diagnosed it ourselves as an allergy and didn't go to a doctor till later in the day. It was in fact a fully deflated collapsed lung. charli1409

Feel the Crave....

Not a doctor but worked at a hospital for a while. One of our doctors came back to the nurses station laughing because someone was fully convinced they were diabetic because they were "craving" water and webmd said that makes them diabetic. Turns out they are just human and require it to live. kiesertomasi


Actually am a doctor, but this story is from medical school:

I had a patient who correctly diagnosed herself with mastitis, although she was very worried that she had inflammatory carcinoma of the breasts. To be fair, they can look similar.

Another time, I had a patient correctly diagnose a lump in her breast as a fibroadenoma. I was very impressed. Reddit

So Many Groin Issues...


This is in the occupational health field and we had a young gentleman come in who was pretty sure he had a groin hernia according to his Google search. He said he'd been lifting produce crates and experienced sharp, overwhelming pain in his groin. The doctor came back out after seeing him and was clearly fighting laughter by the time he got to the desk. Turns out the kid had Chlamydia which had caused things to become swollen and just happened to get symptomatic while he was at work. OmnoraMayday

Don't Leave. 

In 2013 i was feeling awful. Shaking, puking/dry heaving, shaking, excruciating and debilitating pain. Went to the ER had blood work done that I never knew what it said and the doctor told me it was a gallbladder attack, gave me pain meds and sent me home. Three days later I was even worse. Couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, the only relief I felt was when I was in scalding hot bath.

I finally went back to the ER and they did more blood work and told me my gallbladder was septic and my pancreatic enzymes were 6500 and rising (they should have only been 100-150) and I was dying. I was admitted and when they did my gallbladder removal, my gallbladder was solid black and had 80 stones and a tar like substance from sepsis. Come to find out the first time I went to the ER my enzymes were 2000, I should never have been allowed to leave the hospital.AngelFears1676

Brain Matters.....

Not a doctor but I deal with migraines. I would not be surprised if someone experienced a migraine for the first time, googled their symptoms while they still had the clarity to do so, and went to the ER thinking they are having a stroke. spaghatta111