Whether you have a stomachache, muscle pain or even itchy skin, it is easier than ever to treat yourself with over the counter medications and herbal remedies. Many previously prescribed drugs are now even approved for over the counter use, giving you more power over your own healthcare. However, there is a drawback when it comes to self-diagnosis and treatment – sometimes you can get it wrong.
There are certain health conditions that can present themselves as something else. This means you can make mistakes, often exacerbating your health problem before breaking down and going to the doctor. Here are several common health problems that often lead to the wrong self-diagnosis plus some indications that can lead you in the right treatment direction:
1. Urinary Tract Infection – When you have bladder pain, a sense of urgency and the need to go to the bathroom constantly, a bladder infection is the first logical leap in diagnosing yourself. Even doctors likely will make that connection first and prescribe antibiotics to clear it up. However, what if it actually interstitial cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis presents many of the same symptoms as a urinary tract infection and is often called painful bladder syndrome. If you take a course or two of antibiotics and find no relief from your pain, your doctor may have to test a urine sample for signs of bacteria. When there are none present, your next step is an appointment with a specialist like an urologist.
2. Yeast Infection – Many women who experience burning, itching and even a rash around the vulva and vagina, the first diagnosis that comes to mind is a yeast infection. Caused by a fungus, a yeast infection is treated by insertable anti-fungal medications for the vagina and even creams to soothe the itching pain. Unfortunately, you may find out within a few days that the anti-fungal medication does not work if you actually have bacterial vaginosis, a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia or even simple allergic reactions to a change in hygiene products, soaps or laundry detergent.
If you do not get relief within a day or two of an antifungal medication, or your symptoms recur, you need to visit with your doctor to get a definitive diagnosis. Conditions like chlamydia, if left unchecked for too long, can spread infection and inflammation to the abdominal area and even the fallopian tubes.
3. Sinus Headache – It can be quite easy come to the conclusion that you have a sinus headache. If you have facial pain with watery eyes and a runny nose, it is understandable to think that your sinuses are inflamed, causing a headache. However, migraines also can present the same symptoms. A sinus infection may present greenish mucus, fever and even bad breathe. With a migraine though, one side of your head or face may throb and your pain can get worse with physical exertion. Nausea and light and sound sensitivity can also accompany the headache. If you exhibit these symptoms, you likely have a migraine rather than a sinus headache.