Over recent years there has been renewed focus on medicalisation. Amongst other things, this is the result of the realisation that expansion of the medical domain can also have undesirable effects. However, the line between justified medical interventions and overdiagnosis is difficult to draw. The first step in regaining control of undesirable medicalisation is to identify and quantify the processes behind it and the situations in clinical practice in which it may occur. In this article we discuss different types of medicalisation and, on the basis of this, we give an indication of the frequency with which medicalisation occurs. Finally, we discuss the mechanisms that facilitate medicalisation.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.