Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
A strange rash on the side of your face, a brutal headache, or stabbing stomach pains are nerve-wracking symptoms, especially when they occur out of the nowhere. Thankfully, the next time that happens, you don’t have to panic.
Instead of trying to diagnose yourself with WebMD, why not get instant help from an expert on a medical forum? Put your mind at ease, and post your concerns on one of these helpful health forums.
Is It Safe to Get Medical Advice on the Internet?
Getting medical advice from smartphone apps and health forums might sound a bit unreliable. After all, the doctors on these forums might not even have the experience or credentials that you think. You can’t visit these doctors’ office, so you just have to take their word for their expertise.
Looking for your symptoms online or chatting with a doctor in a forum doesn’t hurt. It might actually prompt you to see a doctor in-person. When someone, doctor or not, tells you to go see a doctor in an online health forum, you’ll probably think twice about your health.
Just keep in mind that you should never use online medical advice as a substitute for an exam done by your actual physician.
Doctor’s Lounge provides articles, academic journal papers, and medical news for health professionals. Its focus on the research and academic side of medicine makes it a great place for patients to find information on their own.
The forum has separate categories for different conditions. It includes just about every chronic disease and illness, ranging from diabetes to cancer. Once you register on the forum, click on the New Topic button at the top of the page to post your own questions. You’ll eventually receive an answer from the volunteers supporting the medical forums.
Since these forums are popular, someone else could’ve asked about the exact same symptom or medical condition. Make sure to search the forum before posting your question.
Health24 was originally established by Dr. Danie Pauw and was later sold to Media24 in 2000. According to the editorial page, all content on the site is medically reviewed.
The layout of the site encourages you to search through the 350,000 answered questions on the site. If you don’t see an answer to your particular health question, submit your question on the bottom of the home page. Before long, you should find your question answered on the site, under the relevant section for it.
The site also features dedicated areas for issues like psychology, ADHD, and also provides you with advice to help you lose weight. In each area, you’ll find answers provided by specific experts who are dedicated to the questions in those categories—you’ll see their background and expertise clearly displayed at the top of the page.
Have an issue that you just want to throw out there and quickly get an answer for? Head to the Health Forums or Ask a Doctor forum on eHealth, choose a health condition category, and type your question into the Post a Topic field.
Just keep in mind that your question gets posted publicly, so watch how much personal information and medical details you provide. With that said, you should consider viewing other questions similar to your own—you may learn a lot from the expert answers!
Curious whether “real” experts exist on eHealth? You can find a list of professionals on the right side of the Ask a Doctor tab. They all have medical degrees, with their specialties displayed under their names. This makes eHealth a great alternative to Dr. Google, and provides much more accurate information.
Not only does Patient.info provide dozens of medical articles written by professionals, but it also gives you the chance to voice your own concerns on its health discussion forum. Patient.info sorts groups alphabetically and features almost any condition you can think of.
Although the doctors themselves aren’t active in the forums, you’ll still find reliable information from other patients and expert articles. You can also browse different medicines, learn more about medical tests, and even use its symptom checker.
If you live in England and decide that you need to ask a doctor about your symptoms, you can use Patient Access. This service allows you to chat face-to-face with a doctor online, and even order prescriptions.
Search for your question on MedHelp or post your concerns if you can’t find an answer. To get started, find a community that matches your health concern. MedHelp gives those who suffer from chronic illnesses, cancer, mental disorders, and other diseases a chance to discuss their symptoms with other patients.
Like Patient.info, you won’t find doctors on this forum. However, these users have dealt with the same illness for long enough that it makes them experts in their own right. The other members may not have medical degrees, but they can still give you support and advice.
MedHelp has plenty of staff members policing the site—they remove anything inaccurate or misleading to avoid any confusion. For even more resources, you can find a series of articles if you select a topic under the Information tab, and then click Articles.
6. MD Talks
MD Talks looks a bit old-school, but it contains a huge volume of information. Clicking on Ask a Doctor for Free in the left navigation bar gets you to the form where you can pose your question.
MD Talks guarantees that all its experts have been trained at a medical school on its About Us page. The forum started back in 2008, as a smaller private forum for family and friends. It later expanded into the free, public site that you see today.
Receive Instant Support With Health Forums
Unfortunately, the Internet gets a bad rap when it comes to getting medical advice. Rest assured, it doesn’t always have amateurs sharing bad medical opinions. Use one of these top health forums, and you can get some excellent health advice from people who know their stuff.
Once again, a health discussion forum should never replace diagnosis and treatment by your own doctor, but it can still keep you informed about the status of your health.
If you have a health condition, you might find it hard to keep track of your medicines. Make sure to download one of these medicine reminder apps to stay on top of your pill schedule.
For help finding other types of forums and even message boards, take a look at these forum search engines. And if you want to create your own forum, take a look at the best forum creator tools available.