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posting symptom photos

Feb 01, 2011 - 3 comments

so why do we ask that you don't do this on the herpes and std forum?

Well first off, we can't diagnose you. The most important part of having any sort of rash, lump or bump is being seen in a timely manner.   In the time it took you to try to get a decent picture of your symptoms, you could've picked up the phone and made an appointment to be seen today or tomorrow with a medical provider. Being seen gets you a professional exam as well as a discussion about your sexual history to see what all testing you might need done in addition to just the obvious symptoms you are having now.  This is important for you as well as potentially important for your future fertility.  perhaps you are concerned that you have a genital wart, going to be seen, finding out that perhaps it's not one can start a discussion about gradasil shots for you which can help prevent future hpv infections for both males and females.  this is just one example of why it's in your best interest to follow up properly with a medical professional.  Sure it can be embarrassing to have to show your symptoms to your doctor or even talk about them but it really is the best thing you can do. You aren't the first patient that week to be there with a std related concern and you won't be the last!  

Do pictures really change our advice? No it does not. Picture quality in general is typically poor.  Even the std and herpes experts on the paid forums don't find them particularly useful and don't look at them if you post them on their forums.  You  might go out of your way to make sure you got a terrific picture of your symptoms but that really doesn't help much, it's so much more than just looking at  the actual symptoms for diagnosing, it's a full exam of the general area and discussing things.  There are good reasons why medical providers go to school for as long as they do - training is more complicated than looking at other pictures online and deciding you have X going on down yonder!   think about it - if it's hard for a trained medical provider to know the difference between herpes and other conditions sometimes, how are we gonna know what is going on from a picture you posted that you took with your cell phone in the stall in the men's room?

medhelp is for posters over 13 years of age.  If you are under 18, it's illegal for you to post pictures of your genitals online.  I certainly do not want to be having to evaluate your picture for signs of puberty stages to see if you are even old enough for me to be looking at you!!  

what is posted online potentially never really goes away!  Sure you might think just showing a picture of your butt is fine, after all who is going to recognize you by your buttocks only?  What about a year from now when your new gf is googling you and finds it?  even worse, your kids?  What about when your employer finds out that you used your work computer to post pictures of your genitals online?  Honestly it's just not worth it.  Even when you think you've removed something, odds are someone can still find it somewhere on the web if they want to.  

also caveat emptor - sure you aren't paying to post on the medhelp patient to patient forums but think about the total strangers who you are posting your picture to.  You know nothing about the folks you are showing this picture to.  I would hate to see someone post a picture, have someone else tell them that it looked like an ingrown hair so they didn't follow up on it properly and it turned out that they really had herpes or syphilis and they never sought out medical advice for their issue. In the big picture - it's not worth it for you to rely on what someone online tells you it looks like in your picture you post so why even bother?   You telling us what sexual contact you've had recently and what your symptoms are is far more helpful for us to help you.  We can help with education and support - there are definitely limits to just how we can help you without a proper diagnosis and our advice can never replace going to be seen for a proper work up of your symptoms.  

Many of us also post on the forums at work where obviously it can mean our jobs if we click on a picture of genitals.   Please don't post a picture of your penis as your profile picture on medhelp - you aren't worth us losing our jobs over!  

Most online photo sharing sites remove pictures of genitals as soon as they notice them.  So you might post on photobucket this morning and the photos are banned by lunchtime.  

As for myself, I don't get paid to do the forums. To me , you asking me to look at a picture on top of what I'm already doing for you, is too close to me doing my job for nothing instead of me volunteering my time to help someone learning to live with a std or making sure that your provider properly tested you and treated you for std's.  yeah that might sound whiny to some of you but I spend a lot of time and effort on the forums to help others, I need to draw a line somewhere.

Lastly and then I'm off my soap box - I'm a pretty big pervert at heart but I certainly do not want to click on your picture while my 16 year old daughter is in the room either!!  Her sitting on the couch next to me while I'm doing the forums and glancing over and seeing a rashy crotch shot is not her idea of a good time either ;)  


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277836 tn?1359666174
by alienshadow, Feb 01, 2011
Grace well said.. I have noticed a lot of underaged kids posting as of late also.. I find this disturbing I mean what must they be learning these days?? Anyway thats my 2 cents worth....

101028 tn?1419603004
by gracefromHHP, Nov 08, 2011
reminding folks why it's just not worth posting pictures.

you wouldn't walk up to your bank teller and show them a picture of your genitals and ask what does this look like, why ask complete strangers online to look at pictures?


101028 tn?1419603004
by gracefromHHP, Jun 29, 2013
just a reminder

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