Medical terminology in Spanish – Vocabulary and Phrases

Learning medical terminology in Spanish should be considered essential when visiting a Spanish-speaking country. Being able to communicate your symptoms effectively is crucial in case you require medical services, as it will facilitate better care and understanding between you and the healthcare provider.

 

Medical Vocabulary and Phrases in Spanish

Basic Terminology

Understanding basic medical terminology can help you navigate medical situations with ease. Here are some essential terms to know:

  1. Síntoma: Symptoms – This includes common symptoms such as dolor (pain), fiebre (fever), and tos (cough).

  2. Diagnóstico: Diagnosis – This refers to the determination made by the doctor regarding the cause of your symptoms.

  3. Tratamiento: Treatment – This encompasses the plan of action proposed by the healthcare provider to manage or cure your condition.

  4. Receta: Prescription – This term relates to the instructions provided by the doctor regarding medication.

  5. Análisis de laboratorio: Laboratory tests – This refers to tests like a hemograma (blood test) or un cultivo (culture) that are conducted in a laboratory to aid in diagnosis.

    1. Especialista: Specialist – This refers to a doctor who specializes in a specific area of medicine, such as a cardiólogo (cardiologist) or un ginecólogo (gynecologist).

    2. Historial médico: Medical history – This encompasses a record of your past health conditions and treatments.

    3. Examen físico: Physical examination – This is a routine check-up conducted by a healthcare professional to assess your overall health.

    4. Emergencia: Emergency – This term relates to a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention.

    5. Cirugía: Surgery – This refers to a medical procedure that involves an operation.

    6. Médico/Doctor: Physician – This refers to a medical professional who provides medical care.

    7. Dolor: Pain – This term relates to the unpleasant sensation experienced in the body

Phrases to describe a symptom

When describing a symptom in Spanish, you can use the following phrases:

  1. “Tengo dolor en la/el (body part)” – This translates to “I have pain in my (body part).” For example, “Tengo dolor en la espalda” means “I have pain in my back.”

  2. “Me duele la/el (body part)” – This translates to “My (body part) hurts.” For example, “Me duele la cabeza” means “My head hurts.”

  3. “Siento dolor en la/el (body part)” – This translates to “I feel pain in my (body part).” For example, “Siento dolor en la pierna” means “I feel pain in my leg.”

You can also specify the intensity of the pain by using adjectives such as “Leve” (mild), “moderado” (moderate), and “intenso” (intense). For example, “Tengo un dolor intenso en el brazo” means “I have severe pain in my arm,” and “Siento un dolor moderado en el abdomen” means “I feel moderate pain in my abdomen.”

It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other terms and expressions you may come across during a visit to the doctor. If you encounter unfamiliar terms, don’t hesitate to ask the doctor or healthcare professional for clarification.

Common Symptoms

In addition to the basic terminology, here are some common symptoms you may encounter:

  • Dolor de cabeza (Headache): Pain or discomfort in the head or forehead area. 
  • Dolor abdominal (Abdominal pain): Pain or discomfort in the stomach area. 
  • Escalofríos (Chills): Sensation of intense cold accompanied by shiverin.
  • Fiebre (Fever): Increase in body temperature above normal.
  • Dificultd para respirar (Shortness of breath): Sensation of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing in or out.
  • Nauseas (Nausea): Sensation of stomach discomfort, urge to vomit.
  • Diarrea (Diarrhea): Frequent loose or watery stools.
  • Dolor de garganta (Sore throat): Pain or discomfort in the throat area.
  • Fatiga (Fatigue): Tiredness, exhaustion, weakness.

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