French medical terms – a dictionary

French medical terms – a dictionary

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Looking for a list of French medical terms to visit a doctor or hospital in France? Here is a list of medical terminology in French to help you get it right.

Do you know the French word for doctor? If you need to access healthcare in France or visit a French doctor, knowing the basic French medical terms can greatly aid your diagnosis. Mixing up your French medical terms is certainly not something you want do, especially if you're in an emergency in France or have to visit a hospital in France. In general, however, to access the French healthcare system you need either French health insurance or private health insurance. In this guide, Expat health insurer Bupa Global lists the most important French medical terms to help you explain your situation to a French doctor or specialist.

Medical French terms: At the doctor or hospital

Before memorising these French medical phrases, you can read about going to the doctor in France to know what to expect. You can find a family doctor by looking up médecins in the A–Z listings or ask for a recommendation on Expatica's forums. If you need to see a specialist, in some cases you will need a referral in French (référence). It is mandatory to have some form of health insurance in France to visit a doctor or hospital.

      • French word for doctor: le docteur/le médecin
      • GP: un généraliste
      • Family doctor: un médecin de famille
      • Primary physician: un médecin traitant – a specific relationship in the French social security system; these doctors are responsible for all basic treatment and supply referrals to most specialists in order to receive reimbursement payments (see our guide to the French healthcare system).
      • Waiting room: la salle d'attente
      • Examination room: salle de consultation French medical terms
      • Hospital: l'hôpital
      • Private hospital: la clinique conseiller
      • Patient: le malade
      • Diagnosis: un diagnostic
      • Prescription: un ordonnance
      • Injection: une piqûre
      • To refill a prescription: renouveler un ordonnance
      • X-ray: une radio
      • Ultrasound/sonogram: une échographie
      • Examination of heart, lungs, ears: l'auscultation du cœur, des poumons, des oreilles
      • To take your blood pressure: prendre votre tension
      • Pap smear: un frottis
      • Appointment: un rendez-vous
      • Antibiotics: antibiotiques
      • Anti-inflammatory: anti-inflammatoires
      • Pain killer: antalgique (antidouleur)
      • Condom: un préservatif
      • Birth control pills: la pilule
      • Accident: un accident
      • Insurance: las assurance
      • Social security medical card: la carte vitale – an adult patient must always carry the carte vitale for any medical visit as it proves he/she is covered by social security; future versions of the card will also carry a limited medical history.
      • Surgery: la chirurgie
      • Medication: la médication
      • Anaesthetic: un anesthésie local/générale
      • Blood: le sang
      • Blood test: le prise du sang
      • Splint: une gouttière
      • To cure: guérir
      • To treat: soigner


French medical terms - emergencyMedical French phrases: Emergencies

Save these lists of emergency numbers in France and hospitals in France.

      • Help!: Au secours
      • Help me: Aidez moi
      • Emergency: Une urgence
      • I have had an accident: J'ai eu un accident
      • I am in labour: Je suis en train d'accoucher
      • I need a doctor: J’ai besoin d’un docteur
      • I need an ambulance: J’ai besoin d’une ambulance
      • I am in labour: Je suis en train d'accoucher
      • I am very sick: Je suis très malade


Before going to the doctor, it's advisable to find out his/her status

      • Is he/she a fund doctor or not? Est-il conventionné ou non?
      • Does he/she charge more than the basic fee? Pratique-t-il des dépassements d'honoraires? Some doctors, médecins conventionnés à honoraires libres, are covered by social security but authorised to charge more than the state-set consultation fee; a médecin non-conventionné has signed no agreement with social security and the reimbursement will be made at a fixed and minimal rate.
      • Medically authorised work stop: un arrêt de travail – usually required by an employer to approve sick time.


French medical terms: Common symptoms and illnesses

      • I keep coughing, sneezing, I have a headache, my nose is running, I keep having to blow my nose, I have aching muscles: Je tousse, j'éternue, j'ai mal à la tête, j'ai le nez qui coule, je n'arrête pas de me moucher, j'ai des courbatures.
      • My nose is blocked and I'm having difficulty breathing: J'ai le nez bouché et j'ai du mal à respirer.
      • I can't shake this cold: J'ai un rhume qui traîne en longueur.
      • I've got a stomachache and diarrhoea. I have to keep going to the toilet: J'ai mal au ventre et j'ai la diarrhée; je n'arrête pas d'aller aux toilettes.
      • I feel dizzy/have difficulty standing: J'ai des vertiges, je ne tiens pas bien sur les jambes.
      • I have a sore throat/earache: J'ai mal à la gorge/à l'oreille.
      • My voice is hoarse: J'ai la voix enrouée.
      • My eyes water: Les yeux pleurent.
      • I have (a particular symptom or illness): J'ai...
        • Chills: des frissons.
        • Rash: des démangeaisons
        • Pimples/spots: des boutons
        • Swelling: des oedèmes
        • Blotches: des plaques
        • Coughing fits: des quintes de toux
        • A stabbing pain: une douleur vive
        • Earache/ear abcess: une otite
        • Bronchitis: une bronchite
        • Asthma: l'asthme (m)
        • Flu: une grippe
        • Stomach flu: une gastro
        • Hay fever: le rhume des foins
        • Allergies: des allergies
        • Diabetes: le diabète
        • Migraine headaches: des migraines
        • Bladder infection: une infection urinaire, une cystite
        • High-blood pressure: la hypertension artérielle
        • Slight inflammation: une légère inflammation
        • Unconscious: perdre connaissance
        • Bleeding: la hémorragie
        • Heart attack: las crise cardiaque
        • Stroke: un accident vasculaire cérébral
        • Burn: une brûlure
        • Cancer: le cancer
        • Bone fractures: les fractures osseuses
        • Osteoathritis: l’arthrose
        • Rheumatism: l’arthrite rhumatoïde
        • Osteoporosis: l'ostéoporose
        • Inflammation: l'inflammation
        • Glaucoma: le glaucome
        • Ache: avoir mal
        • Itching: une démangeaison
        • Vertigo: le vertige
        • Dizziness: avoir le vertige
        • Fever: la fièvre
        • Insomnia: l'insomnie
        • Phlegm: un phlegmon
        • Breathlessness: essoufflement
        • Collapsed lung: une pneumothorax
        • Angina: l'angine de poitrine
        • Mini stroke: l'ischémie transitoire
        • Swollen legs: les jambes enflées
        • Arteriosclerosis: l'athérosclérose
        • Arrhythmia: l'arythmie
        • Palpitations: les palpitations
        • Chest pain: une douleur dans la poitrine
        • Vomiting: les vomissementsNausea: les nausées
        • Constipation: la constipation
        • Diarrhea: la diarrhée
        • Mucus in the stools: mucus dans les selles
        • Blood in the stools: sang dans les selles
        • Ulcer: un ulcère
        • Hernia: une hernie
        • Gall stone: les calculs biliaires
        • Irritable bowel syndrome: le syndrome d'irritation intestinale
        • Kidney stones: les calculs rénaux
        • Dull pain: une douleur sourde
        • Radiating pain: une douleur localisée
        • Shooting pain: une douleur lancinante
        • Linear pain: une douleur linéaire
        • Sudden but fleeting pain: une douleur brève, apparaissant et disparaissant brutalement
        • Burning pain: une douleur qui brûle
        • Epilepsy: l'épilepsie
        • Parkinson’s disease: la maladie de Parkinson
        • Dementia: la démence
        • Infection: l'infection
        • Wheezing: sifflement
        • Sea sickness: la mal de mer
        • Air sickness: la mal de l'air
        • Sunstroke: un coup de sol

medical French terms

English to French medical dictionary: For children

      • Medical record book: carnet de santé – this book is the proof that compulsory vaccinations, les vaccinations obligatoires, are up to date for school enrolment or any group childcare setting. It also records the child's growth and illnesses. If you're recently arrived, these are available for free from your local CPAM.
      • Medical authorisation: un certificat médical pour pratiquer un sport – usually required for a child to practice an extracurricular sport.
      • Vaccine booster: un rappel de vaccin
      • Chicken pox: la varicelle
      • Measles: la rugeole
      • German measles: la rubéole
      • Mumps: oreillons
      • Head lice: des poux
      • He/She mustn't scratch or the spots will get infected. I'll prescribe an antihistamine to soothe the itching: Il ne faudra pas qu'il/elle se gratte pour ne pas infecter les boutons. Je vais vous prescrire un antihistaminique pour calmer les démangeaisons.


Medical instructions in French: Questions the doctors may ask

      • You probably have a fever. Have you taken your temperature?: Vous avez sans doute de la fièvre. Vous avez pris votre température?
      • Where does it hurt?: Où est-ce que vous avez mal?
      • You've got a temperature of 39°C (102.2 Fahrenheit): Vous avez 39 de fièvre.
      • Is it a dry or a productive cough?: Votre toux est sèche ou grasse?
      • Does it hurt when you swallow?: Ca vous fait mal quand vous avalez?
      • Your throat is irritated, does it tickle?: Votre gorge est irritée, est-ce que cela vous picote?


French medical terms: Specialists in French

Most of the French medical terms for healthcare specialisations correspond roughly to those in English.

      • Surgeon: un chirurgien
      • Gynaecologist: gynécologue
      • Midwife: sage-femme
      • Ophthalmologist: opthalmologiste
      • Cardiologist: cardiologue
      • Physiotherapist: kinésithérapeute
      • Physical therapy: des séances de kiné


Body parts in French

Knowing a few French medical terms can help the doctor diagnose you.

      • Head: la têteFrench medical terms - specialist
      • Skull: le crâne
      • Face: le visage
      • Throat: la gorge
      • Neck: le cou
      • Eye: l'œil
      • Eyes: les yeux
      • Nose: le nez
      • Ear: l'oreille
      • Mouth: la bouche
      • Lip: la lèvre
      • Tooth: la dent
      • Gums: les gencives
      • Tonsils: les amygdales
      • Clavicle: la claivicule
      • Scapula: l’omoplate
      • Forearm: l’avant-bras
      • Chin: le menton
      • Hair: les cheveux
      • Shoulder: l'épaule
      • Arm: le bras
      • Elbow: le coude
      • Wrist: le poignet
      • Hand: la main
      • Fingers: les doigts
      • Thumb: la pouce
      • Chest: la poitrine
      • Back: le dos
      • Stomach: le ventre
      • Hip: la hanche
      • Thigh: la cuisse
      • Leg: la jambe
      • Knee: le genou
      • Ankle: la cheville
      • Foot: le pied
      • Heel: le talon
      • Toes: le doigts de pied
      • Bone: l'os
      • Skin: la peau
      • Heart: le cœur
      • Wrist: le poignée
      • Ribs: côte
      • Fingers: les doigts
      • Thoracic cage: la cage thoracique
      • Diaphragm: la diaphragme
      • Abdomen: l’abdomen
      • Spine: l’épine
      • Vertebral column: la colonne vertébrale
      • Pelvis: le basin
      • Bottom: le derrière
      • Trachea: la trachée
      • Lungs: les poumons
      • Small intestine: l’intestin grele
      • Large intestine: le gros intestine
      • Gall bladder: la vésicule biliaire
      • Pancreas: le pancréas
      • Liver: le foie
      • Rectum: le rectum
      • Feces: les selles
      • Nerves: les nerfs
      • Brain: l’encéphale
      • Spinal cord: la moelle épinière
      • Kidney: le rein
      • Urethra: l’uretère
      • Bladder: la vessie
      • Urine: l’urine
      • Pineal gland: l’épiphyse
      • Pituitary gland: l’hypophyse
      • Thyroid gland: la glande thyroid
      • Pancreas: le pancreas
      • Ovaries: les ovaires
      • Testicles: les testicules
      • Penis: le pénis
      • Testicles: le testicule
      • Sperm: le spermatozoide
      • Breasts: les seins
      • Vagina: le vagin
      • Uterus: l’utérus
      • Menstruation: les règles
      • Fallopian tube: la trompe de Fallope
      • Cervix: col de l’utérus
      • Egg: l’ovule


Click here to go to the top of our guide to French medical terms.
 

Expatica / Updated by Bupa Global

Bupa Global offers international health insurance to expats in more than 190 countries worldwide.

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