Find friendship, information, and plenty of sympathy in these online health communities.


Anyone who has ever searched the Internet in the middle of the night for "why does my cyst have teeth and hair in it?" and found a website for people with dermoid tumors knows that there's nothing so comforting as having someone else share your pain. Whether it's a bizarre medical condition like mine (oh yes, dermoid cysts are real and truly can have teeth) or something more common like wanting to lose weight or manage a thyroid condition, the Internet offers a unique and powerful type of support. To find a friend to commiserate with or just some more information on your condition, check out these online communities:

Fortune magazine called it "the Facebook of dieting" due to this website's ability to combine the power of social media with comprehensive weight-loss tools. With millions of users, it's easy to find other people in the same situation as you. Whether you're trying to lose weight after having a baby or trying to lose 100 pounds to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, there is a supportive message board for you. The best part? It's all free!

A good balance between too many and not enough, this list of forums encompasses all aspects of health, including diet, fitness, and weight loss, in addition to health conditions, healthy living, mental health, and general concerns. If you can't find what you're looking for here, you'll at least be able to find someone who can point you in the right direction.

One of the most venerated medical institutions in America also has one of the most involved online communities. Check out the Connect page to see active discussions on a wide range of health topics.

You probably already know this site as a great aggregator of health news, but MSN also offers a huge array of online forums. While at first glance the selection is mind-boggling, once you begin searching, it's a wealth of information. It's not as personal as some other forums, but for sheer amount of information, it can't be beat.

No discussion of online health resources would be complete without WebMD. The site offers a wide variety of support forums so that when you freak yourself out by searching "sore throat" only to find it's a symptom of five different cancers, you don't have to be alone. For being such a big site, the communities are remarkably personal and involved.