Donald Sonn: How to Communicate Medical Symptoms to Your Doctors

Donald Sonn has been a practicing medical professional for more than two decades, a period in which he’s dealt with many patients. Like any other doctor, Sonn has had to rely on the patient’s explanation of the symptoms for him to make an accurate diagnosis. Indeed, the patient’s description goes a long way in making life easy for the health care team.

Symptoms are what you experience as a patient and that concern you enough to seek medical advice from a doctor. So when it comes to giving an account of the symptoms, don’t be worried about the medical terms or be shy about it. In fact, the more detailed you are, the better.

It is important that you describe things in your own words and not try to use medical jargon or say what you think the doctor should hear. Use your own language in any case. Additionally, if you can describe the symptoms with the use of an analogy, you can help your case. When you say, “I’m having a headache and it feels like a hammer coming down on one side of the skull,” it’s a vivid description that the doctor can surmise to mean “a throbbing headache that might be a cluster headache,” based on the description.

The other aspects to consider include specifics on the location of the body, frequency, severity, and for how long they symptoms have happened. Also, you can provide more information on whether the symptoms are associated with a specific activity, time of day, food, or other triggers you’ve noticed.


About Donald Sonn

Dr. Donald Sonn currently practices with Urology Group of Western New England. Specializing in impotence, prostheses and stone disease, the urologist also specializes in brachytherapy and surgical surgery. Sonn uses the Da Vinci Surgical System to remove prostate cancer.
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