Languages › English as a Second Language English for Medical Purposes - Troubling Symptoms Share Flipboard Email Print Thomas Barwick/Getty Images English as a Second Language Reading Comprehension Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Writing Skills Grammar Business English Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated November 24, 2019 Going to a doctor who doesn't speak your native language may sometimes prove difficult. The following is a sample dialogue that you can use when visiting a doctor about some troubling symptoms. When you are not feeling well, you might need to describe in further detail the complications you are experiencing and the format below might help you do just that. Practice alone or with a friend. The patient in the dialogue below is feeling sick—they have a cough and diarrhea. However, even if you are experiencing other discomforts, you can use this dialogue as a blueprint for a medical conversation. You will find a list of different symptoms to choose from at the end. Some Troubling Symptoms Patient: Good afternoon. Doctor: Good afternoon. Have a seat. So, what have you come in for today?Patient: Thank you. I'm feeling ill. I've got quite a bad cough, but I don't seem to have a fever. Doctor: I see. How long have you had these symptoms?Patient: Oh, I've had the cough for two weeks, but I have been feeling ill just these past few days. Doctor: Are you having any other problems?Patient: Well, I've got a headache. I've also had some diarrhea. Doctor: Do you produce any phlegm when coughing?Patient: Sometimes, but my cough is usually pretty dry. Doctor: Do you smoke?Patient: Yes, a few cigarettes a day. Certainly no more than a half a pack a day. Doctor: How about allergies? Do you have any allergies?Patient: Not that I'm aware of. Doctor: Does your head feel stuffy?Patient: Yes, for the past few days. Doctor: OK. Now let's have a look. Could you please open your mouth and say 'ah'? Key Vocabulary symptom = a physical or mental feature indicating a diseaseto feel ill = to feel sick; to feel like vomitingto cough = to expel air from the lungs with a sudden sharp soundcough = an act of coughing; expression: to have a coughfever = an abnormally high body temperatureheadache = a continuous pain in the headdiarrhea = a condition in which feces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid formphlegm = mucus; the thick substance secreted by membranes of the respiratory passagesallergy = hypersensitivity to a substancestuffy = (of a nose) blocked up and making breathing difficult; expression: to feel stuffy Other Troubling Symptoms pain = suffering or discomfortindigestion = pain or discomfort in the stomachconstipation = difficulty emptying the bowelssore throat = pain in the throatcut = an open woundburn = an injury caused by heat or flame More English for Medical Purposes Dialogues Making a Doctor's AppointmentJoint Pain - Doctor and PatientA Physical Examination - Doctor and PatientPain that Comes and Goes - Doctor and PatientA Prescription - Doctor and PatientFeeling Queasy - Nurse and PatientHelping a Patient - Nurse and PatientMore Dialogue Practice - Includes level and target structures/language functions for each dialogue.