Women are turning to Google for 'abnormal' health worries

Recent research from Bupa Health Clinics reveals an increase in Google searches about women's health concerns

Research shows a greater need for women’s health awareness

Here Dr Sam Wild answers our most Googled questions

Throughout her career as a GP, Sam has developed a particular interest in women’s health, paediatrics and safeguarding. She is committed to breaking down the stigma around many subjects relating to female health. Through her writing, lectures, podcasts and live Q&A events, she hopes to empower women to get the right information and develop the confidence to deal with their concerns.

Period pain

Searches on Google in the UK have continued to increase for period-related queries:

Painful periods are very common. Most women experience a dull ache or sharp pains during their period, also known as menstrual cramps. Knowing how to minimise your discomfort is important. You can ease cramping in several ways for example, pain relief like ibuprofen, along with a warm bath and lightly massaging your lower abdomen, can lessen the pain. Relaxation techniques like mindfulness or meditation could help to ease your cramps, too.

Although some pelvic pain and cramping is normal with a period, it isn’t always just due to this. Other causes could include endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease or an ectopic pregnancy. That’s why it’s important to try and find out what the cause is.

If you’re struggling with painful periods, it's important not to suffer in silence. Ask your doctor for support and advice if you’re unable to carry out your daily activities or need to take continuous pain relief for your period pain.

Your menstrual cycle

In the past year, a growing number of women in the UK have turned to Google for support with their menstrual cycle:

Over the past two years, an increasing number of women turned to ‘Dr Google’ for their period-related concerns. For some women, their menstrual cycle is regular - which means the same duration at the same time every month. Others may experience irregular periods. Some women’s periods are lighter while others have heavy periods, and it can vary even for the same woman. Some women’s periods are painful, while others are pain-free.

It’s important to know how you spot the signs for any irregularities. A menstrual cycle can range from 21 to 40 days. For most women, the average length of time between periods is 28 days.

Hormonal changes can cause some women to suffer from sickness or nausea during their period. You could try to ease your nausea using natural treatments like ginger or cinnamon (perhaps in tea, or you could add them to your breakfast), and acupressure may help with nausea during your period.

Missed or late periods can happen for many reasons besides pregnancy, including stress, sudden weight loss, doing too much exercise, and the menopause. Your monthly cycle may stop because of a medical condition, such as uncontrolled diabetes, an overactive thyroid, early or premature menopause, or heart disease.

If your period is late and you’re sexually active, there’s a chance you might be pregnant. If your cycle is late and doesn’t come after a few days, you could take a pregnancy test to be sure. See a GP if you’ve missed more than three periods in a row and you’ve had a negative pregnancy test.

Abnormal bleeding

Over the past 12 months, worldwide Google search data has revealed a significant increase in searches relating to abnormal bleeding:

Vaginal discharge

Women continue to turn to Google for their 'abnormal' health worries, including vaginal discharge.

Vaginal discharge isn’t usually anything to worry about it’s natural and healthy to have some discharge. However, there are a few factors that can affect the amount and consistency of your discharge. These include your age, the stage of your menstrual cycle, and whether you take the contraceptive pill.

An unexplained change in your vaginal discharge, along with any other symptoms like itchiness, pelvic pain, and bleeding during sex, can be sign of an infection or something more serious. So it’s important to get any unexplained abnormal changes checked by your doctor.

Almost all women have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is completely normal and helps prevent infection. If you’re concerned about discharge, talk to your midwife or GP.

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Your mental health and menstrual cycle are closely linked together

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Tracking your menstrual cycle is a great way to get to know your body better and learn what’s normal for you.

Women's health support from Bupa

Explore our information on a range of conditions, treatments and procedures relating to women's health.

Female health check

If you don’t have health insurance and you’re looking for further support, you can discuss any female health concerns relating to breast and gynaecological health by booking a Bupa female health assessment today.

To enquire or to book an appointment. call

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Private GP

Book a private appointment with a GP today to discuss smear tests, contraceptive choices, vaginal discharge, and period problems. You can see a Bupa GP face to face in one of our health clinics, or book a remote appointment by phone or video call.

Our Menopause Plan

If you’re worried about the menopause, experiencing symptoms or looking for menopause treatment, our Menopause Plan lets you talk to a GP who has been specially trained in the menopause.

Endometriosis support

We’ve gathered together information about how to deal with your symptoms, how to cope with endometriosis at work, and personal stories from women living with endometriosis. Plus, there’s support and advice from Bupa’s health experts.

Women’s health hub

Our women’s health hub offers expert information, advice and online resources about a range of women’s health conditions, including the menopause, endometriosis, and women’s health at work.

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