Your diagnosis decoded
Dysmenorrhoea, mastalgia, dysuria, scrofula… Do these mean anything to you? I had to look up the last one (although best not to google the images).
This is the sort of language you’re likely to find in letters about your medical condition from your hospital doctor to your GP – a copy of which you also receive in the post (translation: dysmenorrhoea = painful periods; mastalgia = painful breasts; dysuria = pain passing urine; scrofula = swollen glands from TB). Patients are often confused and concerned and visit their GP, envelope in hand, seeking reassurance that they are not going to die from hyperhidrosis (excess sweating) or even iatrophobia (fear of doctors).
Guidance has been issued for medical letters like these to be written directly to patients in plain English, with a copy to their GP rather than the other way around. So you won’t have to get the dictionary out or consult Dr Google – and nor will we.