[1] As many sources suggest, advice on minor health concerns or lifestyle changes are likely harmless to take from the internet, though potentially severe problems should be examined by a health professional.

[1] Constant forum use can also bring about hypochondria which can be characterized by symptoms of anxiety that are either quickly eradicated by negative test results or by a more clinical condition where a person is obsessively checking their symptoms and no number of tests seem to be enough to convince them that they are not ill.

A wide range of diseases has been examined, including drug abuse, [3] mental illnesses and suicide ideation, [5] diabetes, [4] as well as human papillomavirus (HPV) [6].

A study of drug abuse discussion in forums using an automated system found numerous cases of people discussing the explicit details of their drug use that they may not share with health professionals.

[3] Furthermore, there were numerous instances of people encouraging the use of drugs, particularly opioids, and giving suggestions on how to obtain such drugs.

Most of us can likely recount a situation where some strange symptom, such as a lingering pain or a previously unnoticed bump has sent us searching the Internet for answers.

Often times these searches do more harm than good, convincing us that we have a serious and fatal illness, and sending us running to the doctor, which may have been the best course of action in the first place.

Through our panicked searching, we have likely stumbled across a forum discussing similar symptoms to our own.

Sometimes these forums include a person asking someone who identifies themselves as a medical professional about their symptoms, though more often than not, it is simply regular people sharing their symptoms.

These forums are a double-edged sword; they can be a good place to discuss potentially embarrassing symptoms, such as those affecting areas that may be uncomfortable to talk to a doctor about.

[1] They can dissuade anxiety by providing information that the symptom is generally benign and maybe even providing home remedies for minor symptoms.