From whooping cough to tinnitus and psoriasis, how you’re REALLY supposed to pronounce all those confusing medical terms
- Have you ever been baffled by some of the words written on your doctors note?
- MailOnline looked at the most commonly mispronounced medical terms
- It comes as Google searches revealed the most difficult to pronounce words
Ever looked at a letter from the doctor and been baffled at how to pronounce the words?
Well, you’re not alone.
So, after Google search results revealed words such as quinoa, gyros and acai are among the trickiest to say, MailOnline looked at some of the most commonly mispronounced medical terms.
From oesophageal to pica, here are the words your doctors uses that you might have been saying wrong.
As Google search results revealed words such as quinoa, gyros and acai are among the trickiest to say, MailOnline looked at the most commonly mispronounced medical terms
This is pronounced ‘TIN-it-us’ — but doctors say they are used to hearing ‘ti-nite-us’.
The NHS describes tinnitus as being ‘the name for hearing noises that do not come from an outside source’.
Tinnitus can sound like ringing, throbbing, hissing, buzzing, whooshing, humming, music or singing.
It is not always clear what the cause of tinnitus is but it can be linked to hearing loss, anxiety or depression, conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders or multiple sclerosis, or taking certain medications.
Ménière’s disease – an inner-ear condition that causes sudden attacks of symptoms such as feeling like the room is spinning – is also thought to be commonly linked to tinnitus.
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These exercises should be pronounced ‘KAY-gull’, not ‘kee-gull’.
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and are recommended during pregnancy and after childbirth.
The pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum, and kegel exercises can help prevent or control problems such as urinary incontinence by strengthening them.
For doing kegel exercises, you first need to find the right muscles – which you can do by stopping urination midstream.
To do these exercises, you should ‘imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic floor muscles to lift the marble’, according to Mayo Clinic. Hold this for three seconds then relax for three seconds.
This infection is pronounced ‘dif-THEER-ee-uh’, as the ‘ph’ sounds like an F, not a P.
Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection affecting the nose, throat and sometimes skin, according to the NHS.
It is spread by coughs, sneezes or close contact with an infected person and can sometimes be fatal.
It is rare in the UK as babies and children have been vaccinated against the infection since the 1940s.
However the NHS said: ‘Since 2018, the World Health Organization has reported a rise in cases in Indonesia, India, South America and Africa’, so if you are travelling to any of these parts of the world you may need a booster vaccination.
This surgical procedure should be pronounced ‘oh-uh-fuh-WRECK-tuh-mee.’ It’s not an ‘oof’ which the spelling suggests.
Oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your ovaries and may be used to treat pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, benign tumours or large ovarian cysts.
It can also be used to lower the risk of ovarian cancer in women who carry mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
As most of the production of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone takes place in the ovaries, this surgery results in the menopause and permanent infertility.
Oopherectomy can be performed alone but is often combined with a salpingectomy — removal of the fallopian tubes.
This type of specialised doctor is pronounced ‘an-EES-thi-tist.’ Unlike ‘anaesthesia,’ the ae makes an ee sound.
Anaesthetists are responsible for providing the powerful drugs to patients for operations and procedures.
Anaesthetists form the largest group of specialist doctors in NHS hospitals and are required to ‘undertake at least seven years of paid postgraduate training in anaesthesia, intensive care medicine and pain management’.
They determine which anaesthesia is needed, make routine checks on the day of the patient’s surgery, administer the anaesthetic and remain with the patient throughout the operation.
The NHS describes tinnitus as ‘the name for hearing noises that do not come from an outside source’ (file photo)
This is pronounced ‘FEE-brile’, not ‘feeb-roll’ and comes from the Latin word for fever.
Medically, this term is most commonly associated with febrile convulsion, or febrile seizures, which are fits that can happen when a child has a fever.
Febrile seizures are relatively common and ‘in most cases are not serious’, according to NHS Scotland.
They most often occur between the ages of six months and three years when a child has a high temperature and their body will usually become stiff.
They will lose consciousness, their arms and legs may twitch and some children wet themselves.
This skin condition is pronounced ‘suh-RYE-uh-sis’ as the P is silent.
Psoriasis is a skin condition which causes flaky patches of skin which form scales, according to the NHS.
The patches can look pink, red purple or dark brown and the scales can look white, silver or grey.
They normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body.
The NHS says it is caused by an excess production of skin cells — which are normally made and replaced every three to four weeks but in people with psoriasis this process happens in just three to seven days.
This type of specialised doctor is pronounced ‘gas-troh-en-ter-AW-luh-jist.’
Gastroenterologists diagnose, treat and work to prevent gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) diseases, like coeliac and IBD.
They also specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of hepatological diseases, which concern the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas.
A gastroenterologist also performs endoscopes — tests to look inside your body — such as colonoscopy.
Anaesthetists are responsible for providing anaesthesia to patients dfor operations and procedures (file photo of an anaesthetist with a patient)
This type of gum disease is pronounced ‘pay-ree-oh-don-TIE-tiss.’
Periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease, is where your gums become inflamed from a build-up of plaque.
The inflammation ‘spreads to your ligaments and bones that hold your teeth in place’, according to Bupa Health.
Your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets that trap plaque you may not be able to reach with a toothbrush.
Sometimes you may develop an infection as the plaque hardens and your gums become more difficult to clean.
This feeding disorder is pronounced ‘PIKE-uh’, not ‘PEE-ka’ like Pikachu is.
Pica is a feeding disorder where people eat non-food substances such as paper, soap or chalk, according to Beat Eating Disorders.
It affects people of all genders and ages, though is more likely to first be seen in children.
The reasons people develop pica is unclear but ‘it has been linked to the nervous system’, or as a learned behaviour.
Pica is more likely to occur alongside anaemia, pregnancy, autism, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia or intellectual developmental disorders.
The preferred pronunciation for this part of the inner ear is ‘COKE-lee-uh’, though ‘KAHK-lee-uh’ is also accepted.
The cochlea is a hollow, spiral-shaped bone found in the inner ear that plays a key role in the sense of hearing, according to experts.
It also participates in the process of auditory transduction – which involves the transformation of sound waves into electrical energy.
The spiral shape of the cochlea allows for people to perceive different frequencies as different parts are stimulated.
A cochlear implant is a small, electronic device that can help provide the sense of sound in a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis – a build-up of plaque that causes your gums to become inflamed – goes untreated
This type of tear or open sore, which occurs in the anus, is pronounced ‘FISH-ur’, much like fisherman.
Anal fissures can be caused by a large or hard poo tearing the anal canal, persistent diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease, pregnancy and childbirth.
Less common causes are sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis or herpes infecting and damaging the canal, or having an unusually tight sphincter.
Common symptoms are a ‘sharp pain when you poo followed by a deep burning pain’, or bleeding.
This term relating to the oesophagus is pronounced ‘iss-off-uh-JEE-ole’ as the G sounds like a J.
The NHS says oesophageal cancer is a cancer found anywhere in the oesophagus — sometimes called the gullet or food pipe — which connects your mouth to your stomach.
Symptoms of oesophageal cancer include having problems swallowing, feeling or being sick, acid reflux and indigestion, among others.
It is not always clear what causes this type of cancer but you are more likely to get it if you are male, over the age of 75 or have conditions such as severe acid-reflux or Barret’s oesophagus.
It can be difficult to treat and may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
Also known as bladder pain syndrome, this term is pronounced ‘in-tur-STISH-ul sis-TIE-tis.’
Interstitial cystitis is a poorly understood condition that causes pelvic pain and problems peeing, according to the NHS.
There is no single test to confirm the condition so it can be difficult to diagnose and symptoms include sudden strong urges to pee and pain in your lower tummy as your bladder fills up, among others.
Interstitial cystitis can affect people over all ages but it is more common in women over the age of 30.
Suggested causes include damage to the bladder lining, a problem with the pelvic floor muscles or your immune system causing an inflammatory reaction.
This is pronounced ‘EM-buh-luss’, not ’em-BOLE-us’.
An embolus is a ‘blood clot, air bubble or small object that causes an embolism’ — a blocked artery.
If the blood supply to a major organ such as the brain or heart is blocked, it will lose some or all of its function.
Two of the most serious conditions caused by an embolism are a stroke or pulmonary embolism, the NHS says.
A stroke is where the blood supply to the brain is cut off and a pulmonary embolism is where a foreign body blocks an artery carrying blood to the heart or lungs.
The cochlea is a hollow, spiral-shaped bone found in the inner ear that plays a key role in the sense of hearing, according to PubMed
This chronic but treatable skin condition is pronounced ‘roe-ZAY-shuh.’
Rosacea begins as flushing or redness on the cheeks, nose, chine or forehead that may come and go, according to the National Rosacea Society.
If left untreated, rosacea can cause inflammatory bumps and pimples and the nose may become swollen, particularity in men.
In as many as 50 per cent of cases, the eyes are also affected and appear watery or bloodshot.
Rosacea can be treated with a range of oral and topical medications and medical therapy may be prescribed to treat the redness.
This bacterial infection is pronounced ‘HOO-pin-kof’, which is confusingly different to its spelling.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, causes severe bouts of coughing which can last for weeks or months, according to Bupa Health.
It gets its name from the sound often made by those with the infection, particularly children, as they draw in breath between coughing.
Whooping cough can strike at any age but it is most common in babies and children, and the infection is highly contagious.
Also called an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, this job title is pronounced ‘oh-toe-lar-en-GAW-luh-jist.’
Otolaryngologists diagnose, evaluate and and manage diseases of the head and neck, according to NHS careers.
They treat conditions that affect the senses such as hearing, balance, smell or taste, including hearing loss, dizziness, nasal injuries or throat cancer.
Otolaryngologists also perform facial cosmetic surgery following trauma or cancer.
Other conditions they treat include sinus infections, perforated ear drums, tonsillitis and childhood ‘glue ear’ – where the middle ear is blocked with fluid.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, causes severe bouts of coughing which can last for weeks or months, according to Bupa Health (file photo)
This type of surgery is pronounced ‘ma-STEK-tuh-mee’ and the first T is often skipped over.
A mastectomy is where all of the breast is removed and is used to treat cancer, according to Cancer Research.
A surgeon may removed one or both breasts if you ‘have a large tumour, have a tumour in the middle of your breast, have had radiotherapy to the breast before, or cancer in more than one area of your breast’.
You may also have a mastectomy if you have large areas of ductal carcinoma in situ – a condition where cells inside the milk ducts become cancerous.
It can also be used to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer in women who have a high risk.
This type of medical test is pronounced ‘end-AW-skuh-pee’ but confusingly endoscope is pronounced ‘end-UH-scope’.
An endoscopy is a test to look inside your body where a long, thin tube with a camera attached is inserted.
The tube will be passed into your body through a natural opening such as your mouth.
There are different types of endoscopy, such as a hysteroscopy – where the tube is passed through your vagina to check your womb.
Another type of endoscopy is colonoscopy – where the tube is passed through your bottom to check your bowels.
This term which covers several neurological conditions is pronounced ‘se-RU-bul PAWL-zee.’
Cerebral palsy is the term relating to conditions caused before, during, or shortly after birth as a result of injury to the brain, according to cerebralpalsy.org.
The injury to the brain can be caused by limited or interrupted oxygen supply to the brain, a brain bleed, difficult birthing process or the mother catching an infection while pregnant.
It is estimated that one in 400 babies are born with a type of cerebral palsy in the UK each year and one in 345 have the condition in the US.
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