Next Article in Journal
Mental Recovery and Running-Related Injuries in Recreational Runners: The Moderating Role of Passion for Running
Next Article in Special Issue
Google Medical Update: Why Is the Search Engine Decreasing Visibility of Health and Medical Information Websites?
Previous Article in Journal
Active Commuting and Depression Symptoms in Adults: A Systematic Review
Previous Article in Special Issue
“Dr. Google, I am in Pain”—Global Internet Searches Associated with Pain: A Retrospective Analysis of Google Trends Data
Open AccessArticle

Analysis of Answers to Queries among Anonymous Users with Gastroenterological Problems on an Internet Forum

1
Sanprobi Sp.z o.o. Sp. k., 70-535 Szczecin, Poland
2
Faculty of Medicine I, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, 60-780 Poznań, Poland
3
Department of Biochemistry and Human Nutrition, Pomeranian Medical University, 70-204 Szczecin, Poland
4
Department of Gastroenterology, Pomeranian Medical University, 70-204 Szczecin, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031042
Received: 13 January 2020 / Revised: 5 February 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 6 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Healthcare: Telemedicine, Public eHealth, and Big Data)
Internet forums are an attractive source of health-related information. We aimed to investigate threads in the gastroenterological section of a popular Polish medical forum for anonymous users. We characterised the following aspects in threads: the main problem of the original poster, declared ailments and rationale of the responses (rational, neutral, harmful or not related to the problem of the original poster). We analysed over 2717 forum threads initiated in the years 2010–2018. Users mostly asked for diagnosis of the problem [1814 (66.8%)], treatment [1056 (38.9%)] and diagnostic interpretation [308 (11.3%)]. The most commonly declared symptoms were abdominal pain [1046 (38.5%)], diarrhea [454 (16.7%)] and bloating [354 (13.0%)]. Alarm symptoms were mentioned in 309 (11.4%) threads. From the total 3550 responses, 1257 (35.4%) were assessed as rational, 693 (19.5%) as neutral, 157 (4.4%) as harmful and 1440 (40.6%) as not related to the user’s problem. The original poster’s declaration of blood in stool, dyspepsia, pain in the abdominal right lower quadrant, weight loss or inflammatory bowel disease was positively related to obtaining at least one potentially harmful response. Advice from anonymous users on Internet forums may be irrational and disregards alarm symptoms, which can delay the diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: forum; Internet; gastrointestinal ailments; infodemiology; abdominal pain; advice; thread; diarrhea; Poland; bloating forum; Internet; gastrointestinal ailments; infodemiology; abdominal pain; advice; thread; diarrhea; Poland; bloating
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

MDPI and ACS Style

Kamiński, M.; Borger, M.; Prymas, P.; Muth, A.; Stachowski, A.; Łoniewski, I.; Marlicz, W. Analysis of Answers to Queries among Anonymous Users with Gastroenterological Problems on an Internet Forum. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1042.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop