We’re all guilty of symptom-searching on Google, especially when the concern is too “embarrassing” to speak to a GP. Covid-19 has also meant we’re also now more likely than ever to skip the doctors, with GP appointments down 30 percent.
But Here at StressNoMore, we believe no health concern is too embarrassing or small to share with others.
To find out what people may have on their minds but feel too uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about, the clever data analysts at StressNoMore have collected Google Search data from the past year to find out average search volumes for the 10 most common health concerns.
And the results are in!
The Most Common ‘Embarrassing’ Health Questions for Different Conditions (according to Google)
‘thrush how to treat’ 31,100 monthly searches
Answer: Thrush is treated by antifungal medicine. This may be a tablet you take orally, a tablet you insert into your vagina or a cream to stop irritation.
Although very common, luckily, thrush clears up within a week. Should you have a weakened immune system, it is worth seeking the correct treatment from your GP.
‘acne how to treat’ 18,100 monthly searches
Answer: Treatment really depends on the severity. If it’s severe, you can get prescription medicine from your GP.
However, acne is a part of life for most of us (especially during teenage years) and if mild it will go away on its own should you make sure the area is kept clean.
‘how warts are removed’ 14,800 monthly searches
Answer: Warts can happen but unlike acne, it is important to talk to your doctor about them. They have the potential to bleed when bumped and spread to other areas of the body, or to others if left untreated.
After speaking with your doctor, they will find out what removal treatment is right for you. This can range from burning the wart, cutting the wart or lasering the wart to name a few.
‘piles how to treat’ 12,100 monthly searches
Answer: Piles can be painful, but pharmacists will be able to provide creams to relieve discomfort. Ice packs and over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, will also bring relief.
Lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, proper hygiene and exercise can also help treat and prevent piles in the future. If you get piles persistently, then seek the advice of your GP so they can rule out any underlying causes.
‘what causes constipation’ 9,900 monthly searches
Answer: Affecting people of all ages, we are surprised to not see this ‘embarrassing’ issue higher. Perhaps the growing realisation of how common it is, makes people more comfortable to speak to others about it rather than Dr. Google.
There are loads of causes for constipation, the most common are: diet, lack of exercise, stress and side effects from medicines. Long term constipation may cause poo building up in your rectum, so seek consultation from a doctor if constipations is persistent.
‘what causes night sweats’ 5,400 monthly searches
Answer: If sharing a bed with a partner, night sweats can sometimes be ‘embarrassing’. But they shouldn’t be! On average there are 5,400 monthly searches about this in the UK alone.
When trying to understand the causes, it is worth speaking to your GP if they are accompanied by other symptoms or are happening on a regular basis, which is making you feel uneasy. But more often than not, they can be explained by: anxiety, medicines, low blood sugar, alcohol or drug use, hyperhidrosis (which is harmless) or menopause.
‘how to stop farting' 2,900 monthly searches
Answer: Similar to ‘what causes constipation’, this is another question we were surprised not to see higher. But like constipation, the diminishing taboo around farting in modern day society may mean people are more comfortable to speak to others over Dr. Google.
You can’t completely stop farting and why would you want to considering it can be healthy. But to avoid public embarrassment, there are things you can do to minimise it: eat slowly, ignore sugary/starchy/dairy food and drink, quit smoking and increase physical activity.
In rare occasions, excessive bad smelling farts may be the sign of serious conditions such as IBS or celiac disease meaning it is worth speaking to your doctor if you are concerned.
‘how to get rid of bad breath’ 2,900 monthly searches
Answer: Bad breath is something that normally doesn’t need medical attention and can be treated entirely at home. Keep your mouth and tongue clean by: brushing twice a day, use a tongue scraper, get regular dental check-ups, eat sugar-free mints or gum and use mouthwash.
There are also somethings you should avoid if you are looking to prevent bad breath in the future: smoking, sugary foods and overbrushing to the point of bleeding.
‘how much hair loss is normal’ 590 monthly searches
Answer: Everyone sheds hair throughout the day. But it is common to freak out as to whether your shedding is normal or you are losing your hair.
According to research, normal hair shedding can be from 50 to 100 strands a day. But even you are losing your hair, try not to worry too much as there are options and styles to suit!
If you are worried about your hair loss and it has come on rapidly, speak to your doctor to rule out any serious complications.
‘peeing when coughing’ 480 monthly searches
Answer: Urinary incontinence is something we are experts on. And while it can be embarrassing, this shows it’s more common than you think.
Actions such as coughing put stress on your pelvic floor and if yours is particularly weak you may be unable to control urine leakage. Your doctor will be able to determine your type of incontinence, which will guide your treatment decisions. A good strategy to do at home is to strengthen your pelvic floor, see these pelvic floor exercise options for help.
Which Cities Are Googling These ‘Embarrassing’ Health Questions the Most?
So, there you have it, these are the most common ‘embarrassing’ health questions searched by people in the UK for 10 of the most common ‘embarrassing’ health conditions. Hopefully though, if you do run into one of these issues at some point in your life, you can relax as you realise just how common they are.
In fact, is there any reason to be embarrassed at all? With this data, we’d say no.
A sample list was collected for all ‘embarrassing health conditions’ from articles listed on the first page of Google.
We submitted all these ‘embarrassing health conditions’ into Google Keyword Planner and received the average monthly searches in the UK for each condition. From this we were able to find the most common embarrassing health conditions as a starting point.
Using AnswerThePublic, we then found popular questions that relate to each condition. These questions were then input into Google Keyword Planner to receive the number of monthly searches, meaning we could find each health conditions ‘most common question’.
By adjusting the search settings on Google Keyword Planner, we could also find which cities were Googling which questions. We analysed this for the top 50 most populated cities according to recent research.