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Healthline Connects

How Understanding these 50 Medical Symptoms Can Keep You Healthier

We all experience aches, pains and ailments at some time or another. Many times we dismiss them as a sign of growing older. However, there are some symptoms that should not be ignored. So, before you swallow another antacid for that heartburn you think you have, or apply antibiotic ointment to a rash that may have popped up, read through this list of 50 common medical symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed, don’t just live with them – visit your doctor! You can also use our symptom search to help understand any of the symptoms better.
1) Stomach Pain – If you suffer from bouts of stomach pain don’t assume that it’s just a byproduct of a greasy meal you ate. You may have gastritis which is an inflamed stomach lining. Often times it is caused by medications (or taking one too many nips of alcohol) but it could also be caused by a bacterial infection in your stomach or erosion of your stomach’s lining.
2) Fatigue – Who doesn’t get tired? Fatigue is often caused by lack of sleep, anxiety, stress, poor diet and inactivity. However, if you can’t seem to overcome your fatigue you may want to get checked for anemia. Anemia can occur due to many things ranging from an iron deficiency to serious disorders such as lupus and even leukemia. So, before you drink that seventh cup of coffee in an attempt to rid your body of its fatigue, you may want to consider getting checked for anemia.
3) Ankle Pain – So, your ankles have been bothering you and you think you need a new pair of work or athletic shoes. Or, you dismiss your ankle pain and chalk it up to over-exerting yourself. The truth is you may be showing signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is marked by stiffness in the joints and pain in the ankles and neck, and is often accompanied by fatigue. Early, aggressive treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can prevent permanent damage to your joints, so talk to your doctor.
4) Constipation – Do you deal with constipation so often that you feel like you should have stock in a laxative company? If so, you may want to get tested for celiac disease. Celiac disease is earmarked by constipation, floating stools, bloating, being lactose intolerant and a myriad of other symptoms. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the lining of the small intestines.
5) Diarrhea – If you find yourself running to the bathroom with bouts of diarrhea and the smell of it would knock the most stoic medical professionals off their feet, you may have ulcerative colitis. No one knows what causes ulcerative colitis and it can come on rapidly or very gradually. Due to the seriousness of this condition, it can have a major impact on quality of life, so see your doctor to learn about treatment options.
6) Warts – If you have warts popping up on your skin and they’re in a variety of colors you may have seborrheic keratosis, which is a benign form of skin tumors. No one really knows what causes it, but these warts can pop up on most any area of the body. A skin lesion biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis, and the warts can be removed by surgery or freezing.
7) Foot Pain – Do you awake in the morning with pain in your heels? Does the pain seem to decrease as the day goes on? If so, you may have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissues that stretch from your heel to your toes, and leads to heel pain and swelling of the feet and ankles which is often severe.
8) Gas – Does your family hold their noses when you’re near? If so, you may be suffering from colitis. Colitis is marked by increased gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating and even bloody stools. Do your family, friends and yourself a favor and get checked ASAP.
9) Heartburn – If you are constantly popping antacids because you have recurrent heartburn, you may want to get checked to see if you have a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is when a portion of your stomach protrudes into your chest cavity. You should visit your doctor if you have heartburn that is accompanied by a sore throat, coughing and/or chest pain.
10) Lower Back Pain – Do you have lower back pain that is worse when you exercise or walk? Do you have numbness in your legs or buttocks when you walk, exercise or stand? If so, you may have spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis occurs when your spinal canal starts to narrow, which causes nerve roots to become compressed. Talk with your doctor to see if spinal stenosis is causing your lower back pain.
11) Headaches – If you think your persistent headaches are due to nasal congestion or allergies, you may be wrong. It could be cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are earmarked by nasal congestion, tearing of the eyes, pain on one side of the head and the reoccurrence of the headaches at generally the same time every day.
12) Anxiety – Are you a worry wart? Do you constantly feel anxious and it is beginning to affect your day to day life? If so, you should know that a vacation from life, telling yourself to snap out of it, or hiding out in your home probably won’t make these feelings go away. People who suffer from anxiety and worry on a day-to-day basis should be checked for generalized anxiety disorder. The good news is that if you are diagnosed with GAD, there are medical treatments available that can have you feeling like your old self again.
13) Wheezing / Breathing Problems – If you are a smoker, or a past smoker, and you have been dealing with wheezing, coughing and breathing intolerance to exercise you may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD includes various lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
14) Constipation / Diarrhea – Do you feel like you're in the bathroom more than any other room in your home? Do you have periods when you are constipated and then have bouts of diarrhea? If so, you may want to have your doctor investigate whether you have irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is a disorder of the intestinal tract that can be marked by constipation and/or diarrhea. It is often aggravated by stress.
15) Swelling – Do you feel like your lower back, legs, feet and ankles are growing larger? If so, you may be suffering from edema. Edema often comes on slowly and may only be apparent when weight gain becomes a problem. It can be brought on by many different things, from excessive salt intake to heart disease. If you’re suffering from swelling you should visit your doctor. It can be treated.
16) Vision Problems – Many people assume that changes in their vision is just a sign that they are getting older. It is important to know that any changes in your vision should be told to your doctor. Vision problems are a common sign of diabetes and you should be tested.
17) Frequent Urination – If you are constantly thirsty and you are running to the bathroom to urinate often, you should tell your doctor. In addition to vision problems, thirst and frequent urination are common signs of diabetes.
18) Erectile Dysfunction – Many men are too embarrassed to tell their doctors they are having difficulties getting or maintaining their erections. Many men with erection problems assume it’s just a sign of aging. You should tell your doctor if you are developing erection problems so you can be tested for diabetes. Many people who have diabetes don’t know it until they go visit their doctor for another problem such as erectile dysfunction.
19) Hair Loss – Do not assume that hair loss is normal. While it may be, you should still talk to your doctor about it. hair loss can occur for many reasons, especially in women. Before you assume that you have inherited a gene that makes you prone to hair loss and thinning, talk to your doctor. There could be medical reason for your hair loss, ranging from hypothyroidism to problems with your pituitary gland.
20) High Blood Pressure and Joint Pain – If you suffer from high blood pressure and you are starting to have pain in your joints you may be suffering from acute gouty arthritis. Gout is caused by an overproduction of uric acid, or by the kidneys inability to completely eliminate uric acid. Don’t suffer another day from joint pain without doing what you can to get to the cause of it.
21) Dry, Scaly Skin – Once you reach a certain age, lotions and moisturizers become your very best friends. If lotions and moisturizers are not helping and you have dry, scaly skin you could have a common inherited skin disorder known as ichthyosis vulgaris. This skin disorder is marked by dry, scaly skin which primarily affects the legs. However, it can also affect the hands, arms and trunk.
22) Impotence – If you have gone past an occasional erection problem to having impotence you should visit your doctor. There could be numerous reasons why you may have impotence including low levels of testosterone, atherosclerosis, Peyronie’s disease, stress and more. Don’t kiss your sex life goodbye! Talk with a medical professional and take the necessary measures needed to find out what is causing your impotence.
23) Snoring – Do you get poked in the ribs, pushed out of the bed or awaken to screams from a tired and angry partner because you are snoring? If this sounds familiar you need to find out what is causing your snoring! Sleep apnea is a leading cause of loud snoring. Sleep apnea occurs when a person quits breathing in their sleep for several seconds at a time, and in severe cases can lead to pulmonary hypertension and even heart failure.
24) Vomiting – If you are vomiting and it’s not due to a stomach bug, you may have a gastrointestinal disorder, weakening esophagus muscles or other medical condition that you are not aware of. Vomiting that occurs for no apparent reason or illness should not be ignored!
25) Dizziness – Does it seem that your world is spinning out of control? If there are times when you experience dizziness, spinning or a false sense of motion you may have a vertigo disorder. Dizziness may be caused by peripheral vertigo which involves a problem with the inner ear. Dizziness may also be a result of central vertigo which is an abnormality in the brain.
26) Vaginal Discharge – Many women assume that vaginal discharge is the result of a yeast infection. While it is true that yeast infections are a common cause of vaginal discharge, it could also be vulvovaginitis. It should be noted that vulvovaginitis can be caused by yeast infections. However, it can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, sexually transmitted diseases, chemicals found in soaps and bubble baths and more. If you are experiencing vaginal discharge, don’t self medicate. Visit your doctor! If left alone it could lead to serious infection.
27) Hearing Problems – Do you hear noises that aren’t there? Before you think you’re going crazy, you should know that hearing noises that aren’t there is a common symptom of tinnitus. The noises you hear may be loud, soft, musical, ringing, hissing, or blaring. It can be a sign of ear infections, head trauma, or even systemic diseases such as hypertension or anemia.
28) Red, Thick Skin – If you have patches of red, thick skin showing up on your body you may be dealing with psoriasis. Psoriasis can be very bothersome. The affected area can crack, itch and become painful. Before you try to treat your red, thick skin you should visit your doctor for a diagnosis so you can be given the proper creams and lotions that you need to control the skin disorder.
29) Nose Bleeds – Do you wake up to nose bleeds? Does your nose start bleeding out of the blue? If so, it could be caused by sinusitis. Sinusitis is fairly easy to treat and having nose bleeds can be truly embarrassing. So, before you start living under the cloud of wondering when your next nose bleed is going to occur, get checked for sinusitis.
30) Protruding Eyes – Do you feel restless and nervous? Do you have heat sensitivity? Do you have weight loss and an increased appetite? On top of this do you have protruding eyes? If all of this sounds familiar you should be tested for Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease causes hyperthyroidism. This is a disease that should be taken very seriously. If these symptoms sound familiar, make an appointment with your doctor today.
31) Unwanted Hair Growth – If you are a woman and you have been dealing with excessive or unwanted hair growth in areas it shouldn’t be growing, it is may be due to a hormonal imbalance, and you should go to your doctor to have your hormones checked.
32) Lack of Smell – If you have lost your sense of smell it is known as anosmia. You should visit your doctor to see what has caused your lack of smell. It could be something small like having a sinus infection, or it could be a sign of nerve damage or more serious problems.
33) Sensitivity to Light – If you are sensitive to light, before you try to research your family history to see if you had a vampire in your blood line you should know that you may have photophobia. There are many different reasons why you may be suffering from sensitivity to light including wearing contact lenses excessively, infections, eye disease or corneal ulcers.
34) Red Face – Does it appear that you are constantly blushing? Does the redness occur in other areas of the face besides the cheeks? If this sounds familiar you may have rosacea. While rosacea certainly isn’t a medical emergency, it may feel that way to you. Talk with your doctor to see what can be done to help control these flare-ups.
35) Excessive Burping / Heartburn – I burp, you burp, every body burps. But, if you have problematic heartburn and burping that is accompanied by a sore throat or nausea, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD. You should talk to your doctor about your symptoms so that you can be advised of what you can do to manage your condition. This commonly includes changes in diet, and you may need medication.
36) Vaginal Bleeding Between Periods – If you have vaginal bleeding between periods it is not something that you should ignore. You should talk to your doctor so that the cause of the bleeding can be investigated. It could be due to uterine fibroids, polyps, low thyroid function, hormones, stress or other medical conditions.
37) Bleeding Gums – If you have bleeding gum when you brush your teeth it is a sign that you should pay careful attention to your dental hygiene. Bleeding gums is a sign that you probably are developing gingivitis or periodontitis. You may also be low in vitamin K. Be sure to visit your dentist and tell him about your bleeding gums. Don’t ignore the health of your teeth; you only get one permanent set.
38) Bloody Stools – No one wants to see blood in their stools. It’s enough to give someone a heart attack. If you see bloody stools contact your doctor. It may be something as simple as hemorrhoids causing the blood to appear. Alternatively, it could mean a more serious medical condition such as an ulcer or a lack of blood flow in the intestines. Sometimes a person may see what they think is blood and the color is only a byproduct of a food that has been eaten. Regardless of why you think you have bloody stools, go to the doctor.
39) Discolored Urine – We all know what urine is supposed to look like. Since the color of urine is not something that people go around talking about, if you have discolored urine you may not have a clue what is going on inside your body. If you have discolored urine you should make a doctor appointment. Depending upon the color, it could be a symptom of a urinary tract infection or something more serious such as a liver disorder. But before you panic, you should know that often people have discolored urine simply because they’ve eaten something that has dye in it.
40) Ear Drainage – If you have something coming out of your ears, it’s not something that will go unnoticed. If it happens when you are sleeping you may wake up to find crusty, dried fluid around your ear, in your hair or on your pillow. If it happens out in public it can be very embarrassing. ear discharge could be caused by ear wax, a ruptured ear drum or an infection. Visit your doctor and don’t try to treat it yourself or self-diagnose. You may only make the problem worse.
41) Floating Stools – Since stool behavior is not something that people discuss, you may not know that floating stools is truly not the norm. When stools hit the water they should sink. If your stools have been floating for more than two weeks you should talk to your doctor. It could be a sign of Celiac Disease, Cystic Fibrosis or other medical problems.
42) Bad Breath – If people step back from you when you are talking, cover their faces with their hands or you find a bottle of mouthwash mysteriously sitting on your desk at work, you may have halitosis. Unfortunately, many people cannot smell their own breath. You should visit your doctor to get to the bottom of your breath problems. Your doctor will want to take whiff of your breath. Sometimes the smell can help a doctor find the problem. For instance, breath that smells like fish may indicate a kidney problem.
43) Nail Abnormalities – Abnormal nail thickness, color, shape or thickness in the fingernails or toenails is known as nail abnormalities. The condition of the nails can tell a lot about a person’s health. If you suffer from nail abnormalities that are not a result of picking or biting your nails you should see your doctor. Your doctor will be able to look at your fingernails and toenails and gage what kind of internal medical condition you may be suffering from such as a vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, liver disease, kidney disease and other conditions.
44) Testicle Pain – If you are hit in the testicles or suffer from an injury in that region, the pain you experience is no surprise! However, testicle pain that’s unrelated to an injury or a hit requires immediate medical attention, especially if the testicle(s) starts to swell. Testicle pain could be brought on by a twisting of the testicles, an infection, fluid collecting in the testicles, a hernia or an unrelieved erection.
45) Painful Sexual Intercourse (Female) – If you are a female and you are suffering from painful sexual intercourse it can put a strain on your personal relationships. No one should avoid sex because it is painful to them. Females who suffer from pain during sex should talk to their doctor. The reasons you may be having pain could be due to something simple like vaginal dryness or skin irritation due to soap or bubble baths. Painful sex could also be due to vaginismus, which is a painful contraction of the vaginal walls, menopause, endometriosis or other medical conditions.
46) Painful Sexual Intercourse (Male) – It isn’t just women who can suffer from painful sexual intercourse. Men can suffer from pain during sex, too. Men may have pain during sex due to urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, prostatitis, reactions to the latex in condemns and other medical reasons. It goes without saying, if you are a man and suffering from painful sex you should visit your doctor to find out why. If you do not you may avoid sex and start to develop erection problems that could be brought on due to stress and worry.
47) Changes or Loss of Taste – If things do not taste the way they should or you have lost your ability to taste completely you should visit your doctor. Sometimes changes or loss of taste could be a symptom of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, strep throat, a side effect of a medication or a more serious medical condition.
48) Night Urination – It can be a bother to have a night’s sleep interrupted by having to get up to go to the bathroom. However, if this is a constant occurrence, you may want to tell your doctor. night urination is known as nocturia. There are many reasons you may be getting up at night to go to the bathroom including diabetes, cystitis, sleep apnea and other medical conditions. It could also be brought on by a medication you’re taking.
49) Night Blindness – If you have trouble seeing at night or in dim light, especially when you are driving, you may be suffering from night blindness. Many people think that this is just a byproduct of aging, but many of the causes of night blindness are treatable. For instance, night blindness may be a result of being deficient in vitamin A. So, before you assume that you’re just getting old and you’ll never be able to drive at night again, visit your eye doctor.
50) Excessive Yawning – Everyone will yawn on occasion. It is the body’s way of getting oxygen to the brain. excessive yawning could be a sign that you have a sleep disorder or that you are developing heart problems, so talk to your doctor.
Now that you’ve read about these 50 medical symptoms, hopefully you’ll be better informed of possible causes if you or a loved should ever experience them. It should be noted that this article in no way serves as a medical diagnosis. You should bring your medical symptoms to the attention of your doctor. Here’s to your health!
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.

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