Search WebMD

Looking for information about something specific related to your health on WebMD?  WebMD offers tools that help you search for and narrow down what you want to find out about your well-being.  It can also help you find doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies in your area, so you’ll know where else to go to get help with your medical needs.

How to search for information on WebMD

  1. Go to in your web browser.

  2. Click in the bar that says “Search” at the top of the screen, and type in what you’re looking for.  As you type, WebMD will give you suggestions concerning what you might be looking for.  Click a suggestion in the list that appears to search for that phrase, or click the search button () or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard to search for exactly what you typed in.

  3. The most relevant results will appear at the top of the first page, with icons representing what kind of information each of them is (category hub, drug facts, community forum, multimedia aid, featured article, etc.).

    You can click one of the options under “Refine by Category” to see more specific results related to what you’re looking for; more options may be at the bottom of the screen for this.

    You can also use the numbered bar in the top-right or bottom-right corners of the results window to switch between pages of results.  Clicking the left arrow takes you to the previous page, clicking the right arrow takes you to the next page, and clicking on a number takes you to that specific page.  The faintly-highlighted number shows you what page you’re currently on.

    Click a result to go to the page on WebMD that corresponds to it.

  4. If you apply a category filter to your results (by clicking one of the options under “Refine by Category”) and you want to go back and look for something else specific about your topic, click Undo.

How to search for a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy on WebMD

  1. Go to in your web browser.  Underneath the “Search” bar, click Doctors.

  2. You can click in the box labelled “Search by Name or Speciality” and type in how you think the doctor’s name is spelled, or what kind of medicine they specialize in (click Specialist Glossary if you’re unfamiliar with the term for the kind of doctor you’re looking for).  You can also click in the box labelled “Enter ZIP Code or City, State” and type in the mailing code or city for the area in which you’re looking for a doctor.  Then click the Find Physician button once you have filled in either of these boxes.

    You can also click the options below these boxes to search for a physician by specialty and then area, or search for a general practitioner in an area.

  3. Once you are on the results page, you’ll have a bunch of different options. Read the captions below the screenshot that correspond to the areas we’ve highlighted with red numbers to see what you can do at each spot.

    1. Current Criteria – This shows the current criteria for your search.  Click the “X” next to one to remove it from the current search.

    2. Sort – Click this drop-down menu to sort the doctors listed in the results by their name, their distance from the area that you searched for, or the number of years that they’ve been practicing medicine.

    3. Filter by Name – Click a letter to see only doctors whose last names begin with that letter, or click All to see all doctors.

    4. Modify Search – Click these options to add criteria for a physician to your search, including:

    – Their specialty
    – What types of health insurance they accept
    – Whether they are male or female
    – How far away they are from the area that you searched for
    – What medical procedures they can perform
    – How many years of experience they have as a doctor
    – Whether or not they’re accepting new patients

    You can also click Clear to remove all additional criteria from your search.

    5. Map – Click and hold the mouse button down, and then move your mouse around to move your view of the map.  You can also click the “+” or “” buttons to zoom the map in or out, respectively.  Moving your mouse over a marker on the map will show you the physicians at that location.  Click a physician’s name to get more information on them.

    6. Physicians – Click on a physician’s information to see a more detailed profile of them.

  4. To search for a hospital or pharmacy instead, click Hospital Directory or Pharmacy Directory in the top-right corner.

  5. Like when searching for a doctor, you can click in the box labelled “Hospital/Pharmacy Name” and type in how you think the location’s name is spelled.  You can also click in the box labelled “Enter ZIP Code or City, State” and type in the mailing code or city for the area in which you’re looking for a hospital or pharmacy (this one is mandatory).  Then click the Find Hospital/Pharmacy button once you have filled in the second, or both, of these boxes.

    You can also use the buttons on the right-hand side to quickly switch to searching for a physician, a hospital (if you’re currently searching for a pharmacy), or a pharmacy (if you’re currently searching for a hospital).

  6. The results page for a hospital or pharmacy search is similar to that of a doctor search.

    On the left-hand side, you can modify your search criteria by specifying a maximum distance that the hospital/pharmacy can be from the general area that you specified.  Also, if you’re searching for a pharmacy, you can filter your results based on if the pharmacy is open 24 hours a day, or has an on-site walk-in clinic.  Click Clear to get rid of all these extra criteria.

    In the middle, you can click the drop-down menu at the top to switch between sorting your results by name or by distance from the area that you specified.  Click on a result to take you to a page with more information about that result.  You can also click the arrows or numbers at the bottom to go to a previous or next page of results, or go to a specific page.

    On the right-hand side, you can move the map around and zoom it in or out to see results in the area that you specified.  Moving your mouse cursor over a marker will display the result that is located there; clicking on it will take you to a page with more information about that result.

Those are the essentials to knowing how to search for something on WebMD!

WebMD Symptom Checker

What happens if, one day, you wake up with an upset stomach?  Or you're house-sitting with your grandchildren, and one of them complains that their ear won't stop hurting?  What could it mean?  WebMD's "Symptom Checker" function allows you to quickly look at what your symptoms might be a warning sign for, so you can have an educated conversation with a doctor on what to do next. 

How to use the WebMD Symptom Checker

  1. Go to in your web browser.  Underneath the "Search" bar, click Symptoms.

  2. Use the form on the page that appears to select:

    – whether you're checking symptoms for yourself or someone else
    – the gender of the person you're checking symptoms for
    – the age range of the person you're checking symptoms for

    You can also type in your ZIP code and email address, but you don't have to.  When you're done entering your information, click Submit.

  3. First, you'll have to narrow down where the symptoms are on your body.  Click on the part of the body model where your symptoms appear to originate from (different parts will light up when you move your mouse cursor over them); you may have to do this more than once as you zoom in from general areas to more specific areas.  In some cases, an option will appear to select the entire general area of the body.

    You can click Front View / Back View to rotate the body model if your symptoms aren't located on a part of it that's currently visible.  You can also click Select Skin if your symptoms can be seen or felt directly on your skin.

    If you can't pinpoint exactly where your symptoms are located (perhaps because they're psychological or emotional), you can click More Symptoms Here to see a list of general symptoms.  You can also click in the box labelled "Search Symptoms" and type in what you see or feel on your body, and then click the search button () to see what WebMD comes up with.

  4. Once you have selected a part of the body that you want to check symptoms for — or have clicked More Symptoms Here or searched for symptoms — a list of symptoms will appear to the right.  Click on a symptom to add it to your list.

  5. For some symptoms, you will be able to give more information about their nature, like if you had a recent injury that may have brought them on.  Click the check boxes beside each option that describes your symptoms in more detail to mark them, and then click Finish to add the symptom to your list.

  6. Symptoms that you have selected will show up in the "Your Choices" window.  You can click the edit button () next to a symptom to change the details about that symptom, or click the "X" next to a symptom to remove it from your list.

  7. In the "Possible Conditions" window, you will see a list of problems that the symptoms you have selected may be indicative of.  The bar next to each problem shows you how related it is to your symptoms; the fuller the bar, the more likely that condition is causing your symptoms.  Possible conditions are automatically sorted from most relevant to least relevant.

    Click a condition to view more information on WebMD about it.

  8. The entry about the problem on WebMD will have lots of information about the condition, including:

    – General information about it, including other common names for it
    – What symptoms are indicative of it
    – How you possibly got it
    – What you should expect it to do to your health
    – Ways that you can take care of yourself when (or while) you have it
    – How to prevent it in the future
    – When you should see your doctor about it, and what you should ask them
    – Doctors in your area who can treat it (if you entered your ZIP code)

    If you don't think this condition matches what you are feeling or seeing, you can click one of the other conditions on the left-hand side to see information for it.  There is also an option at the bottom of the menu to go back and modify your symptoms.

Remember that (as WebMD will tell you themselves) any information or advice that you get from the Symptom Checker is not conclusive, and that you should always consult with a doctor or other medical professional regarding it!

How to Use WebMD

There are so many different things to see and do on WebMD that it's difficult for us to list them all!  Here is a brief collection of things — some general, some specific — that you can do on WebMD.  We'll be going over many of them in our later tutorials.

Browse information on common medical conditions

WebMD's Health A-Z section lets you visit information portals for common medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, and various pain problems, so you can look for something specific on whatever you have to deal with.  You can also go directly to information about conditions that are being talked about a lot right now on WebMD, or within the wider medical community.

Get the facts about common drugs, prescription or otherwise

In the Drugs and Supplements section, you can search for information about common drugs, vitamins, and supplements, such as medicinal ingredients, possible side effects, interactions with other drugs you might be taking, and so on.  You can also do things like see what drugs get misused the most, and identify what kind of drug a pill is by its shape, colour, and stamp.

Learn to live a healthier life, both for yourself and your family

The Healthy Living section contains information and advice on how to eat right, keep yourself active, stay beautiful, and have a healthy sex life.  It also contains health advice based on your gender or age. 

The Family and Pregnancy section contains advice for how to live while you're pregnant (or your partner is pregnant), how to take care of your children at any stage of their lives, and even how to keep your pets healthy!  (See our WebMD for Pets article for more information.

Join a community and support others who share your conditions

Sign up for WebMD and get on the WebMD Communities section.  There, you can join groups of WebMD users who are dealing with the same health issues that you are, as well as people who are experts in those issues.  In You can hold discussions about symptoms and treatments, share tips for coping with your condition, and even point people to places where they can get further help.

As an example, here is the page for the Heart Disease Community:

Check for possible conditions based on your symptoms

If you think you're coming down with something, try the WebMD Symptom Checker.  This handy tool allows you to input your age range, gender, where the symptoms are on your body, and what the symptoms are.  It will then spit out a list of the most likely conditions, which you can click on to get more information about.  Be sure to discuss your findings with your doctor, though!

We have a WebMD Symptom Checker tutorial, in case you need help using it.

Find a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy in your area

If you're out of town — or new in town — and need to find a place to cater to your medical needs, WebMD can help you find it.  Search their Physician Directory to find a doctor based on their distance from you, what they specialize in, how experienced they are, what insurance they accept, and more.  You can also search the Hospital Directory or Pharmacy Directory for a facility that's staffed with certain specialists, is open when you're available, and so on.

Our WebMD Search tutorial will show you how to use these tools.

Make sure you're covered with information about health insurance

Do you have questions about health insurance, especially in the wake of the new Affordable Care Act?  WebMD can help with that, too!  The WebMD Health Care Reform section lets you know about what health insurance is, what's changing about it, what it costs, and how to find the plan that's right for you.

Discuss today's health issues with the experts

Want to know what health professionals are really thinking about the latest health topics?  The WebMD Second Opinion section lets doctors and other health experts give their take on popular issues affecting people's health today.  If you sign up to WebMD, you can even add your voice to the discussion, too!

Ask and you shall receive… an answer

Do you have a specific question about your health, or how you've been feeling lately?  Head over to the WebMD Answers section.  If you sign up for WebMD, you can post a question, and have it answered by WebMD's other users, or even one of WebMD's on-staff health experts.  You can even provide answers to other people's questions, should you have insights into their troubles.