NHS Choices weekly website report – week 30

, Reporting, Weekly Report

What could be causing your ear pain?

side profile sick young woman having ear pain

This week’s NHS Choices website weekly report covers the period July 24-30 2017, which saw 10.01 million visits to the site. This was a 0.59% decrease on the previous week and a 3.65% decrease compared with the same period last year. Unique visitors totalled 7.37 million.

Visits to Treatments and Conditions saw the biggest increase this week, going up by 0.06%. The NHS in England saw the biggest fall, with a 0.13% decrease from last week.

Within Treatments and Conditions, there are a number of guides providing in-depth information on topics such as ‘pregnancy and baby’; ‘contraception’; ‘vaccinations’; ‘stress, anxiety and depression’; and a guide for ‘care and support’. Guides accounted for 9.64% of all site visits in week 30.

NHS Choices visits 2016 vs 2017

Top 10 site area visits

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): The BBC One documentary ‘Panorama: A Prescription for Murder?’ caused a spike in visits to these pages after it discussed the side effects of SSRIs, and how there might be a link with psychosis, violence and even mass murder. Visits to the ‘Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) introduction’ page went up by 221% to total 13,795, while the ‘side effects’ page saw visits increase by 92% to 1,948. Related visits to the ‘Psychosis introduction’ page rose by 34% to 7,992, while the ‘causes’ page saw a 25% increase in traffic.

Bell’s palsy: There was a marked increase in visits to Bell’s palsy content after Angelina Jolie revealed she has the condition, which causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. Visits to the ‘Bell’s palsy introduction’ page rose by 301% to 23,131, with 41% of visits occurring on July 27, the day the story was reported by most newspapers. The ‘symptoms’ page saw visits increase by 74% to total 4,023 and the ‘causes’ page saw a 105% increase.

Fibromyalgia: ITV’s ‘Lorraine’ was responsible for an increase in visits to fibromyalgia pages after Jackie Lloyd, mother of glamour model Danielle Lloyd, was interviewed about being diagnosed with the long-term condition, which causes pain all over the body. The ‘Fibromyalgia introduction’ page saw visits increase by 34% to 33,599, while the ‘symptoms’ page saw a 14% increase in traffic to total 18,067. A clear spike was seen during the 8-9am viewing window when the interview aired on July 25.

Top 10 search engine referral phrases: ‘Bell’s palsy’ moved into the top 10 this week after ranking in 81st place last week.


Gender dysphoria: A number of stories about gender dysphoria led to an increase in visits to pages on the topic. Gender dysphoria is where a person experiences discomfort or distress due to a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. In one story, it was announced that President Donald Trump had banned those identifying as transgender from serving in the US military. Visits to the ‘Gender dysphoria introduction’ page saw an 86% increase to total 7,140. The ‘treatment’ page saw visits go up by 43% to 2,374.

Ear problems: Ear-related conditions were of interest during week 30, with the ‘Otitis externa introduction’ page seeing a 14% rise in traffic to 6,568 visits, while the ‘Middle ear infection (otitis media) introduction’ page saw visits increase by 4% to 8,485. The ‘Labyrinthitis introduction’ page saw an 18% increase in visits to sum 16,588, while the ‘Earache’ page saw visits total 10,233 – a 2% increase compared with the previous week.

Top 10 videos: Video views, including those on the NHS Choices YouTube channel, totalled 149,649, an 8.13% decrease compared with the previous week. The ‘Pilates’ video was top with 4,511 views.

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