102 Medical Symptoms in English and Chinese

This week I’ve been doing medical interpreting training with my fantastic mentor, Michael.

With the help of my talented colleagues (and Google!) I’ve come up with a comprehensive list of common medical symptoms in English and Chinese. Originally it was a list of 66, but now I’ve added an extra 36 to get to 102! I’m sure this will be useful for learners and translating professionals alike.

I’ve also included the English verb forms for the convenience of non-native speakers of English. Sorry I didn’t have time to create the equivalent Chinese verbs.


102 Medical Symptoms in English and Chinese

  1. Abdominal pain: experience abdominal pain; have a stomach ache (肚痛;腹痛)
  2. Abscess: have an abscess (脓疮)
  3. Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis): wet the bed; experience nocturnal enuresis (遗尿)
  4. Blister: have a blister (水泡)
  5. Bloating: feel bloated (胃胀)
  6. Blood in stool (melena / hematochezia): have blood in one’s stool (便血)
  7. Blurred vision: have blurred vision; be unable to see clearly (视力模糊)
  8. Burping: burp; belch (打饱嗝)
  9. Cachexia (wasting syndrome): experience cachexia; suffer from wasting syndrome (恶病体质)
  10. Chest pain: have chest pain; feel pain in one’s chest (胸痛)
  11. Cold: have a cold (感冒)
  12. Coma: be in a coma (昏迷)
  13. Constipation: feel constipated (便秘)
  14. Coughing: cough (咳嗽)
  15. Coughing up blood: cough up blood; have haemoptysis (咳血)
  16. Convulsion: convulse; have a convulsion or spasm; experience uncontrollable shaking throughout the body (痉挛)
  17. Cramp: have a cramp; cramp up (抽筋)
  18. Cyst: have a cyst (囊肿)
  19. Dandruff: have dandruff (头皮屑)
  20. Deformity (dysmorphism): have a deformity; be deformed; have a malformation; be malformed (畸形)
  21. Dehydration: be dehydrated (脱水)
  22. Diarrhoea: have diarrhoea; have the runs [informal] (腹泻;拉肚子)
  23. Discharge: have discharge (分泌物)
  24. Distortion of sense of taste (dysgeusia): feel one’s sense of taste is distorted; experience dysgeusia (味觉障碍)
  25. Dizziness: feel dizzy; feel the room is spinning (晕眩)
  26. Double vision (diplopia): see double (重影;复视)
  27. Drowsiness: be drowsy; be sleepy (困倦)
  28. Dry mouth (xerostomia): have a dry mouth; feel one’s mouth is dry (口干舌燥)
  29. Excessive hunger (polyphagia): be excessively hungry; experience polyphagia (贪吃;食欲过盛)
  30. Excessive thirst (polydipsia): be excessively thirsty; experience polydipsia (剧渴;极渴)
  31. Fainting (syncope): faint; black out (晕倒;晕厥)
  32. Farting (flatulence): fart; have flatulence; pass wind (放屁)
  33. Fast heartbeat (tachycardia): have a fast heartbeat; experience tachycardia (心跳过速)
  34. Fatigue: be fatigued; be weary (疲劳)
  35. Fecal incontinence: suffer from fecal incontinence; be fecally incontinent (大便失禁)
  36. Fever (pyrexia): have/come down with a fever; feel feverish; experience pyrexia (发烧)
  37. Flu: have/come down with the flu (流感)
  38. Frequent urination (polyuria): urinate frequently; experience polyuria (多尿症)
  39. Hair loss: lose hair; experience hair loss (脱发)
  40. Hallucination: have/experience a hallucination; hallucinate (幻觉)
  41. Headache: have a headache (头疼)
  42. Hearing difficulties: have hearing difficulties; be hard of hearing (听觉障碍)
  43. Heart burn (pyrosis): have heart burn; experience acid indigestion (烧心;胃灼热)
  44. Hiccup: hiccup (打嗝)
  45. High blood pressure (hypertension): have high blood pressure; have hypertension (高血压)
  46. Hyperventilation: hyperventilate (换气过度)
  47. Hypoventilation (respiratory depression): hypoventilate (换气过低)
  48. Inability to smell (anosmia): be unable to smell; experience anosmia (嗅觉缺失)
  49. Inability to speak (aphasia): be unable to speak; experience aphasia (失语)
  50. Inability to urinate (urinary retention): be unable to urinate; be unable to pass water (尿潴留)
  51. Inability to write (dysgraphia): be unable to write; have handwriting difficulties; experience dysgraphia (书写障碍)
  52. Indigestion: have indigestion (消化不良)
  53. Inflammation: be inflamed (发炎)
  54. Ingrown hair: have an ingrown hair (毛发内生)
  55. Infertility: be infertile; experience infertility (不孕)
  56. Insomnia: have insomnia; have trouble sleeping; can’t get to sleep [informal] (失眠)
  57. Itchiness: itch; be itchy (发痒)
  58. Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia): be unable to coordinate one’s muscles (运动失调)
  59. Loss of appetite: lose one’s appetite (食欲不振)
  60. Low blood pressure (hypotension): have low blood pressure; have hypotension (低血压)
  61. Malaise: be in a malaise; be uncomfortable; feel unwell (不适;不舒服)
  62. Migraine: have a migraine (偏头痛)
  63. Muscle weakness (myasthenia): feel one’s muscles are weak; experience myasthenia (肌无力)
  64. Nausea: feel nauseated; feel sick [informal] (恶心)
  65. Nosebleed (epistaxis): have a nosebleed; bleed from the nose (流鼻血)
  66. Numbness: feel numb;  be numb (麻木)
  67. Pain: be in pain; feel painful; have aches and pains (疼痛)
  68. Pain during sex (dyspareunia): feel pain during sex; suffer from dyspareunia (性交疼痛;功能性交媾困难)
  69. Palpitation: have palpitations; feel one’s heart skip a beat (心悸)
  70. Paralysis: be paralysed (瘫痪)
  71. Pelvic pain: feel pain in one’s pelvis; experience pelvic pain (盆腔痛)
  72. Pimples: have pimples; break out [informal] (粉刺;丘疹;青春痘)
  73. Pins and needles: feel pins & needles; my x is asleep [informal] (针刺感)
  74. Rash: have a rash;  break out in a rash: (红疹)
  75. Runny nose: have a runny nose; one’s nose is running: (流鼻涕)
  76. Seizure: have a seizure; have a fit; have an epileptic episode: (突然发作)
  77. Shakes: shake; tremble (发抖;哆嗦)
  78. Shivers (rigors): shiver; shudder; have chills/rigors; feel cold (颤抖)
  79. Shortness of breath (dyspnea): be short of breath (气短;喘不上气来)
  80. Skin irritation: have a skin irritation problem (皮肤瘙痒)
  81. Slow heartbeat (bradycardia): have a slow heartbeat; experience bradycardia (心动过缓)
  82. Sneezing: sneeze (打喷嚏)
  83. Snoring: snore (打鼾;打呼噜)
  84. Soreness: feel sore; ache (酸痛)
  85. Stomach ache (dyspepsia): have a stomach ache; upset stomach (胃痛)
  86. Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia): have difficulty swallowing (吞咽困难)
  87. Sweat: sweat; be sweaty (出汗;盗汗)
  88. Swelling: swell up; be swollen (肿胀)
  89. Tinnitus: have tinnitus; feel one’s ears are ringing (耳鸣)
  90. Tiredness: be tired (累)
  91. Tumour: have a tumour (肿瘤)
  92. Twitching: have a twitch; have a tic (抽动;抽搐)
  93. Ulcer: have an ulcer (溃疡)
  94. Urinary incontinence: suffer from urinary incontinence; be urinarily incontinent (尿失禁)
  95. Vaginismus: be unable to engage in vaginal penetration (阴道痉挛)
  96. Vision impairment: have a vision impairment; be unable to see properly (视觉障碍)
  97. Vomiting: vomit; throw up; spew (呕吐)
  98. Wart: have a wart (疣)
  99. Weakness: feel weak (微弱)
  100. Weight loss: lose weight; become thin/emaciated; waste away (减重;消瘦)
  101. Weight gain: gain weight; put on weight (体重增加)
  102. Wheezing: wheeze (喘息)

Comments re accuracy and ommissions are of course welcome!

34 Comments to "102 Medical Symptoms in English and Chinese"

  1. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    26/07/2011 - 1:23 am | Permalink

    You are my mentor too, Carl.

    A very comprehensive list.
    I remembered that Double vision (Number 17) is usually referred to as 重影 in Chinese. My previous translation is not correct.

  2. Xiaoke's Gravatar Xiaoke
    26/07/2011 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    OMG………………………………………your hard work is mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmuch appreciated Carl!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Andrew's Gravatar Andrew
    26/07/2011 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi Carl,
    Great work. Carl!
    28. Heart burn (have heart burn): 伤心 It suppose to be 烧心

  4. 26/07/2011 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Shared to both Facebook and 人人网. Surely the greatest compliment a blogger can receive.:)

  5. Xuchen's Gravatar Xuchen
    26/07/2011 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Can you share some light on how you go about looking up so many terms? Do you start with an English list and go from there?

    Where is a good place to find specialized dictionaries about different topics?(medical,

  6. Wiser2001's Gravatar Wiser2001
    26/07/2011 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Very useful compilation, good work.

  7. steven's Gravatar steven
    26/07/2011 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    thax alot!!!! S.W.A.G!!

  8. sally's Gravatar sally
    26/07/2011 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Very useful list!!! Much appreciated!!! =)

  9. 27/07/2011 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    A few notes:

    46. 突然发作 indicates a sudden attack of some unspecified affliction. Stroke is 中风 (zhòngfēng).

    64. 减肥 refers to desirable/voluntary weight loss. Speaking of a medical symptom, you’d say 减重(jiǎnzhòng) or more formally 消瘦(xiāoshòu).

    A few more for your list:
    Asthma – 气喘(qìchuǎn) or more formally 哮喘(xiàochuǎn)
    Clinical depression – 忧郁症(yōuyùzhèng) or 抑郁症(yìyùzhèng)
    Diabetes – 糖尿病(tángniàobìng)
    Low blood sugar – 低血糖(dīxiětáng, dīxuètáng)
    Hypertension – 高血压(gāoxiěyā, gāoxuèyā)

  10. 27/07/2011 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    47. Shivers (shiver; shudder; shake; have chills): 颤抖

    I think you should make a distinction between “shaking” and “shivering”… “shivering” implies a sensation of cold & movement, but “shaking” implies just movement (without any sensation).

    If someone had parkinson’s or something, they would be “shaking” due to nerve damage, but wouldn’t have any associated sensations (of cold).

    颤抖 doesn’t imply any sensation, just movement.

    Just a thought.

    • 30/07/2011 - 12:16 am | Permalink

      Very useful feedback. How do you think Chinese distinguishes between shaking and shivering? And how about shuddering? 😛

  11. Bo's Gravatar Bo
    29/07/2011 - 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff, Carl!!! I’ve been looking for this FOREVER!
    Merci beaucoup~!

  12. Brian's Gravatar Brian
    28/08/2011 - 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Carl

    In the list of medical terms, there is one word MOULD categorised as “common allergy”. What does it mean?

  13. Julia Chen's Gravatar Julia Chen
    26/04/2013 - 7:15 am | Permalink

    Hey Carl, Thanks for the list. Will you still update this site to add more vocabulary? thanks!

  14. pallavi's Gravatar pallavi
    05/12/2013 - 7:01 pm | Permalink


    i have found this site for complete medical symptoms


  15. Donna H's Gravatar Donna H
    16/07/2014 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve recently started volunteering in a chinese community centre and am finding your site very useful indeed. I will be running a session on basic english for doctors appointments and with your permission will be using your list of medical symptoms. I am going to break the symptoms down to different body parts and do it in a chinese – english format. Unless of course you already have something like that!
    Many thanks and all the best.

  16. 27/10/2014 - 4:15 am | Permalink

    really useful post.

    my question:
    i know in cantonese, it’s common to say “屙尿” to urinate but what is the mandarin equivalent to that? i found the following phrases in mdbg.net but was wondering which phrase is the more common:

    or is it common to say: 我要去小便



  17. 27/10/2014 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    apologies, my previous post is a translation question that is not focused specifically on symptoms although having to urinate frequently is a symptom of certain diseases, like UTI and i can see asking the simple question do you have to urinate a lot, “你係咪時時要屙尿呀?” in cantonese whereas in mandarin it might be “你必須要常常去小便嗎?” (not sure if you need the 要 with the 必需 combination). knowing the vocab for polyuria (which i think can also be 尿頻的, in addition to your 多尿症) is good but sometimes asking the question, do you urinate a lot, may be more receptive to the patient than asking if they have polyuria as a symptom. so i hope you can answer my original question. thanks for listening…

  18. Jack's Gravatar Jack
    21/11/2014 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Seems the word diarrhea was spelled incorrectly in your post.
    But in general it’s a helpful collection.

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