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Thai Language Thai Culture: Helpful Thai Medical Vocabulary for Men

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Medical vocabulary for men, and some women…

Some of you may know that besides contributing to Women Learn Thai I also write a blog on retiring to Thailand. My latest post is one about increasing awareness of a problem many older men have; problems with our prostate.

I wrote that post because I thought that awareness of this problem is quite important for men, and women who have men in their lives. This post on WLT is a companion piece to What We Men Don’t Like to Think About. If you have time, take a look at my post. It is full of info and web links about this condition that most of us men find difficult to talk about even in our own native language.

Since I needed to go to the hospital for certain procedures I came into contact with lots of doctors and nurses. My doctors’ English was usually quite good but the nurses’ English was limited. Luckily I could ask and answer their questions in Thai. It made everything flow quite smoothly and I was treated very well. I am sure that my knowledge of Thai contributed to this positive experience.

Because many men may have to go through exactly what I did I thought maybe I might help with a listing of the Thai words I used during my hospital visit. Here are some useful Thai vocabulary words that may come in handy.

My Visit to the Hospital…

As many men in their 60s, I have been having trouble with my prostate.

Prostate: ต่อมลูกหมาก /dtòm-​lôok-​màak/
– ต่อม /dtòm/ gland
– ลูกหมาก /lôok-​màak/ betel nut, a walnut sized nut that used to be used throughout SE Asia staining the user’s teeth red.


For many years I have been taking medication for an enlarged prostate.

Take Medication: กินยา /gin-​yaa/


Enlarged prostate: ต่อมลูกหมากโต /dtòm-​lôok-​màak dtoh/
– โต /dtoh/ large


I had been to the emergency room a number of times because of not being able to urinate (a symptom of an enlarged prostate).

Emergency Room (ER): ห้องฉุกเฉิน /hông chùk-chĕrn/
– ห้อง /hông/ room
– ฉุกเฉิน ​/chùk-chĕrn/ emergency


Urinate: ถ่ายปัสสาวะ /tàai bpàt-săa-wá/
– ปัสสาวะ /bpàt-săa-wá/ urine; This is the polite word used with doctors and nurses.


Symptom: อาการ /aa-​gaan/


I also had a number of infections in my urethra, called urinary tract infections or UTI.

Infection: อักเสบ /àk-​sàyp/


Urethra: ท่อปัสสาวะ /tôr bpàt-săa-wá/
– ท่อ /tôr/ tube


Urinary Tract: ทางเดินปัสสาวะ /taang dern bpàt-săa-wá/
– ทางเดิน /taang-​dern/ path


Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): อักเสบทางเดินปัสสาวะ /àk-sàyp taang dern bpàt-săa-wá/


We did a blood test to check my PSA levels.

Blood Test: การตรวจเลือด /gaan-​dtrùat-​lêuat/
– ตรวจ ​/dtrùat/ examine, test
– เลือด /lêuat/ blood


Since my PSA levels were quite high my doctor, a urologist, was concerned about cancer.

Urologist: แพทย์ที่เชี่ยวชาญด้านระบบปัสสาวะ /pâet têe chîeow-chaan dâan rá-bòp bpàt-săa-wá/
– แพทย์ /pâet/ doctor
– เชี่ยวชาญ /​​chîeow-​chaan/ expert
– ระบบ ​/rá~​bòp/ system


U-ro: We also use the English loan word หมอ U-ro /mŏr URO/


Cancer: มะเร็ง /má-reng/


First we did an ultrasound of the prostate.

Ultrasound: อุลตราซาวด์ /un-​dtrâa-​saao/ (English loanword)


Then my doctor recommended a biopsy.

Biopsy: การตัดเนื้อเยื่อไปตรวจ /gaan-​dtàt-​néua-​yêua-​bpai-​dtrùat/
– ตัด /dtàt/ cut
– เนื้อเยื่อ /néua-​yêua/ tissue)
– They also use the loanword “bi-op-sy”


Since I would be under general anesthesia, before the biopsy I needed to fast.

Anesthesia: ยาสลบ /yaa-​sà-lòp/
– ยา /yaa/ medicine
– สลบ /​sà-lòp/ unconscious


Fast: อดอาหาร /òt aa-hăan/
– อด /òt/ abstain from
– อาหาร ​/aa-hăan/ food


For the procedure I needed to have an IV inserted.

(IV) Intravenous: การฉีดเข้าเส้นเลือด /gaan-​chèet-​kâo-​sên-​lêuat/
– ฉีด ​/chèet/ inject medicine
– เส้นเลือด /sên-​lêuat/ blood vessel


Later I woke up in the recovery room.

Recovery Room: ห้องพักฟื้น /hông-​pák féun/
– ห้อง /hông/ room
– พัก /pák/ rest
– ฟื้น /féun/ regain consciousness


I’ll have to take antibiotics for a few days.

Antibiotics: ยาฆ่าเชื้อ /yaa-​kâa-​chéua/
– ยา /yaa/ medicine
– ฆ่า /kâa/ kill
– เชื้อ /chéua/ germ


The doctor gave me the good news that I am cancer free.

Cancer free: ไร้มะเร็ง /rái má~​reng/
– ไร้ /rái/ without


May you all be healthy and happy during this holiday season.

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand
Thai Vocabulary in the News

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Hugh Leong loves explaining things. And during his 40 plus years of trying to learn Thai and its culture, he learned to love the cross-cultural aspect of living in a foreign country and speaking its language. His series, Thai Language Thai Culture, covers various aspects of learning Thai, and how the Thai culture influences how we say things.

16 Comments

  1. Hugh, thank you for writing both posts – the man of the house is now getting things checked out.

  2. Cat,

    Good for you guys. Thinking of the old Seinfeld episode where George is given the results of his tests. The doctor says “The results were negative.” And george flips out. “Oh my god! Negative is bad, right?” It took a while to explain to him that “negative” is good in this case. Hoping everything is “negative” for you guys.

  3. Hugh, great post. To explain things to Thai friends, I had figured most of these out when I went through the same procedure a few years back. Different results than yours, but all’s fine now. One question though. To explain that the treatment was by radiation, I came across a few terms. รักษาฉายรังสี seemed to be correct but I also heard รักษาการฉายแสง used. Do you know if these are interchangeable?

  4. Thank you Hugh. I hope everything is negative as well. Or, thanks to your article, just on time.

  5. Could use a little help from a Thai native speaker: Looking for the Thai term for “negative result” (as in test results). Is that ผลเป็นลบ (ผล = result and ลบ = negative or the minus sign)? And for “positive result”. Is that ผลเป็นบวก (บวก = positive or the plus sign)?

    But we need to remember that negative here is good and positive is bad. So maybe it is simply ผลดี and ผลไม่ดี (good and bad results).

    Can anyone set me straight about this?

  6. Jolhn,

    Glad you are doing well.

    The term for “radiation” is รังสี. You’ll see it at the hospital above the x-ray room (รังสีเอ็กซ์). Google Translate, which is pretty good for individual words, says that one definition of ฉายแสง is “to irradiate” and says it is a synonym for ฉายรังสี. So it would probably also work.

  7. Just notice that x-ray is also รังสีเอ็กซ์เรย์.

  8. Update on Positive and negative:

    I just return from the doctor and he confirmed to me that my biopsy was “benign”, a very happy word for me.

    So that is the word I have been looking for. The opposite of benign is “malignant”. And in Thai it turns out that they are very easy to say.

    Benign – ไม่เป็นอันตราย ​mâi-​bpen-​an-​dtà~​raai(literally: not dangerous)

    Malignant – เป็นอันตราย bpen-​an-​dtà~​raai (literally: dangerous)

  9. Congrats Hugh! We have one more test to go… but it’s looking good.

  10. Cat,

    It’s nice being healthy. At the hospital yesterday I met a reader of our blog who was in the queue to see the same doctor as I and he said he had read my our post and was taking my advice. It’s also nice helping others to be healthy.

    BTW, doc says no surgery necessary. Pikun and I went out and had a celebratory dinner together. Must have been a real good guy in my last life. May everyone else also have a ผลดี.

  11. Hugh,

    No surgery – congrats again!

    It is indeed nice being healthy. In my house, out of two people and two cats, only one (a cat) isn’t on meds this week. When it rains … life.

    I imagine many people will thank you for writing this post before long. It’s too easy to put these kinds of tests off or just ignore the symptoms.

  12. Hugh,

    Could you post Medical vocabulary in Thai for woman regarding GI.
    Thanks,
    Tikie

  13. Hi Tikie,

    Instead of me guessing what you have in mind how about writing down the words and phrases you might need. Maybe we can put something together with the specific vocab, put them into sentences, and even get some recordings done. I am sure that would be useful.

    Question: Doesn’t GI refer to gastro-intestinal track? Is it different in men and women? I’m not a doctor, even though I sometimes play one on the Internet.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  14. Gastrointestinal: เดินอาหาร taang-​dern-​aa-​hǎan (literally: the path that the food takes)

  15. Hi Hugh,

    I think that the GI for men and women should be the same. I didn’t have the GI procedure for many years. I recalled that I had a procedure that the doctor put something in my mouth to look for something wrong in my stomach and intestine. Here are the list of things to look for:

    Abdominal pain
    Bleeding from the digestive tract
    Cancers of the stomach or esophagus
    Chronic heartburn and indigestion
    Diagnosis and removal of stomach polyps
    Dilatation of esophageal strictures
    Gastritis, or stomach inflammation
    Hiatal hernia
    Removal of swallowed objects
    Trouble swallowing
    Treatment of the “Ulcer Bacteria”
    Ulcers of the esophagus
    Ulcers of the stomach and ulcers of the duodenum
    Unexplained chest pain

  16. Tikie,

    Great idea. I would like to invite others who have questions about Thai medical vocabulary to add to this list. We will then put something together for our next post.

    Just list the medical vocab you are interested in as Tikie did and leave it in a comment. We’ll get working on it right away.

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