The best way to scare yourself silly: Type your symptoms into a search engine and hit Enter. These doctor-approved sites will inform you, not worry you.
Health.com (owned by Time Inc., as is RealSimple.com) has up-to-the-minute news and an interactive “Symptom Checker” that is as addictive as it is helpful.
The all-inclusive, vibrant home page includes a “Find It Fast” box that allows you to quickly look up what’s ailing you and then offers an alternative therapy for each possible diagnosis.
Sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this site has drug information and newsletters (on topics such as diet and fitness) that can be lifesavers.
Visit the Consumers section of the website of the North American Menopause Society for updated information on hormone therapy, a menopause glossary, a guide to stress relief, and a monthly newsletter called, yes, Menopause Flashes.
This all-inclusive women’s-health-care site from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists thoroughly covers both niche and broad topics. Click on “ACOG Patient Page” for dietary tips, authoritative pamphlets on mammograms and other tests, and help finding a good ob-gyn near you.
Cancer patients and their loved ones can feel overwhelmed by information, statistics, and options. The American Cancer Society site is helpful in winnowing the information into manageable pieces, and it offers a page called “Treatment Decisions Tools” to refine options.
The online Merck Manuals are efficiently alphabetized and all-inclusive, and they tell you the last time the entries were updated. The “Drugs” tab has a wealth of key information about medications, including medicinal herbs and supplements.
Although the design of the Medline Plus site feels a bit dry, find your way to the Interactive Health Tutorials, which provide graphic guides to any condition, useful stats, and helpful Q. & A.’s.
This site has lots of nitty-gritty info (much of it from patients’ personal experiences) on plastic-surgery treatments. There are also doctor-answered Q. & A.’s about rhinoplasty, Restylane, and breast implants.
Make heart-healthy food choices with “My Grocery List,” a special feature that allows you to select from a list of items, enter your quantity, save it to your PDA, or print it out for an easier shopping trip.