24 phrases for describing your health problems and symptoms in English

Doctor examination

Being able to explain how you feel in English is extremely important if you live or travel in an English-speaking country. You need to be able to tell a doctor exactly how you feel. For example, is your pain sharp, dull, excruciating? Is it a burning pain, or do you feel sore? All of these different kinds of pain may be signs of very different health problems.

Below is a list of different symptoms.

Things you have:

  • I have an upset stomach.
     
  • I have a wheezing cough.
    A "wheezing" cough sounds dry and painful. 
     
  • I have a rash on my neck.
    This means that your skin is red and itchy.

Things that you're having:

Things that you are:

  • I'm short of breath.
    This means that you can't breathe well. 
     
  • My muscles are sore.
    This is the feeling that you get the day after doing hard exercise. 

Things that you get:

Things that you feel:

Things that are happening to parts of your body:

  • My ankle is red and swollen.
    When part of your body gets bigger, it's "swollen". 
     
  • It hurts when I apply pressure to it.
    Pushing, squeezing, or leaning on part of your body "applies pressure" to it. 
     
  • My stomach hurts.
     
  • My nose is stuffy.
    This happens when you have a cold and mucus clogs up your nose. 

Things that you're doing:

  • I'm running a fever of 102 degrees.
     
  • I've been vomiting for the last 12 hours.
    "Vomiting" is also called "throwing up". It means that your food comes back up out of your stomach. 
     
  • I've been waking up in the middle of the night every night. 

Other problems:

Can you describe a recent health problem you had? Exactly how did it feel, and what symptoms did you have?

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