Pregnancy, skin care and fitness are the most commonly searched for health issues online, figures suggest.
Analysis of more than 1.8 million searches by British internet users found that one in five health-related web queries were about pregnancy and childbirth.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Digital advertising company Exponential Interactive found that skin care and exercise or fitness are the next most common concerns, both accounting for 18.4% of health searches.
Weight loss, smoking, headaches, high blood pressure and diabetes also feature among the top 10 health issues for which Britons turn to the internet.
The data, which examined searches performed in May, also showed wide gender differences in online activity.
Men are 14 times more likely than women to be interested in vitamins, 10 times more likely to be interested in nutritional supplements and four times more likely in high blood pressure. Meanwhile, women are 12 times more likely than men to be interested in dental health and nine times more likely to be interested in vaccinations.
The investigation found that lawyers and retail managers are most likely to look at online health content compared with people in other fields.
Niki Stoker, Exponential UK managing director, said: "The NHS deals with over a million patients every 36 hours so being able to better understand links between interests, behaviours and demographics provides the opportunity to create and disseminate information more effectively and potentially reduce the burden.
"By looking at the way people actually behave online rather than what they may tell you can often challenge common-held assumptions.
"These insights offer providers of health services and products the opportunity to better tap into the unmet needs of potential customers."
Top Ten Weirdest Holiday Home Insurance Claims
Top online health searches revealed
The owner of a holiday home in Spain returned to inspect his property after he had let it to a group of young people in their 20s for two weeks, to find that they had created an indoor beach including sand and water to emulate the sea. The youngsters explained that the local beach “hadn’t lived up to their expectations”.
A slightly oblivious swan didn’t see what was coming his way. It was flying happily through the air, completely unaware of a set of high voltage power cables in its flight path which it duly hit. The swan had the shock of its life and dived straight for the roof of a holiday home underneath, crashing through the roof and leaving a massive hole in need of fixing.
At a holiday home in France, a cow walked over a swimming pool cover. As the cow was considerably heavier than the cover could hold, the cover broke and the unsuspecting cow took an involuntary dip in the pool; resulting in considerable damage to the pool and the need for a winch to rescue the distraught bovine.
Holiday guests staying in a Spanish property moved items of furniture from inside the holiday home they were renting, including a sofa, single bed and chest of drawers, into the shallow end of the swimming pool. The guests had been under the influence of alcohol when they’d decided to rearrange the furniture in such a way and claimed they "couldn’t remember" why they had done it.
A particularly passionate couple managed to not only badly scratch the wooden floor of their bedroom by causing the bed to move vehemently, but also caused the bed to break, as well as the bedside lamp and bedside table. The couple explained that all damage had been caused during one session of lovemaking and they apologised profusely.
Following a rental, a holiday home owner made a gory discovery; he found blood splattered all over carpets and walls. After further investigation, he discovered a makeshift cardboard coffin containing a pig’s head in the bin, suggesting that a sacrifice had taken place at his property.
A young couple tried to pursue a claim against the owner of their holiday apartment in Spain on the basis that both bed sheets and towels were "too hard" and caused scratches and irritations on the skin, which prevented them from using the pool and sunbathing comfortably.
A holiday cottage in Devon needed completely redecorating after the holiday guests had decided to have an indoor barbecue on the flagstone floor, as ‘the weather didn’t allow for having it outside’.
One unsuspecting holiday property owner in Italy was shocked to find out that his house had been turned into a brothel by his guests during a four week rental period, resulting in the need for a deep clean and replacement of soft furnishings.
A lady in her late 30s from Manchester sought compensation from the owner of her holiday home in Marbella as the gravel on the driveway "had wrecked" four pairs of her designer stilettos and forced her to replace them with new ones.