I have been compiling this list in my head for years. Physicians in training love to throw out these words while patients look at us in disbelief. Here are the weirdest medical terms for fairly common conditions with shockingly simple explanations. Why does it have to be so complicated?
1) Borborygmi: This is the rumbling sound you hear in your stomach, made by the movement of gas in the intestines. A very cool word.
2) Labile: “Characterized by wide fluctuations” such as with blood pressure, blood sugars or mood (think menopause).
3) Pruritus Ani: Pruritus of the anal region, more commonly known as itchy butt.
4) Choledocholithiasis: Stones in the gallbladder and common bile duct. This is a crazy word for a fairly common condition.
5) Xerostomia: Dry mouth. Simple, right?
6) Xerosis: Dry skin. Enough said.
7) Aphthous ulcers: These are canker sores, the white shallow ulcers you get in your mouth that hurt way out of proportion to their tiny little appearance.
8) Epistaxis: The medical term for nosebleed.
9) Menometrorrhagia: Irregular and heavy bleeding. Not to be confused by Menorrhagia which is heavy bleeding during your regular period, menometrorrhagia is heavy bleeding during your period as well as other times in between.
10) Bradykinesia: This is slowness of movement, either the slow ability to start or continue movement. We see this in Parkinson’s patients but many folks after the LA Marathon looked like this too.
Many of these are derived from Greek words and there are tons more. Apparently as doctors we need our own language so we look more important when we talk to you about dry skin and nosebleeds.