Doctors Reveal Which Symptoms Patients Did Not Disclose That Were Direly Important


You have to be honest with your physicians!

Going to the doctor is nerve wracking for sure. Nobody wants to go but when you do it is imperative to be completely transparent. No matter the issue, shame is useless; doctors have literally seen it all... just ask Meredith Grey. So lead with the truth it's the only way to keep living.... denial will get you nowhere.

Redditor u/rajde1 wanted Doctors to warn us all about dishonesty by asking.... Doctors of reddit, what was a symptom a patient didn't mention that was really important?

Closing Time....


I had a guy come to the hospital who told me he had seizures every Tuesday like clockwork. This is highly, highly unusual for somebody with a seizure disorder. It wasn't until I asked him about his social history that he told me he's a heavy drinker. I investigated further, and it turns out he binge drinks Thursday, Friday, Saturday every week, then stops cold turkey. He was having withdrawal seizures. mhc-ask

Pay Attention to #2!

Black stools.

Folks, if you're having black poops mention that sooner rather than later. That lady has been seeing nothing but black for MONTHS before she thought to mention anything. We found several gastric ulcers and a hemoglobin level that circled the drain.

EDIT: After reading through some of these comments I have a PSA: if your doctor doesn't properly listen to your concerns, ASK FOR A SECOND OPINION. I wish we all could take good doctors for granted, but that's just not how the healthcare cookie crumbles. As both a physician and a patient, my heart goes out to all who have had to battle both their disease and provider. It isn't fair and it isn't just, but remember that you are still your best advocate. RowanRally

Blood is always an Issue....

Medical Intern here, had a woman come to ER complaining about 'stomach pain,' took her full history did the exam and vitals, she seemed fine, mild fever. Made a preliminary diagnosis of gastroenteritis and presented to my doctor.

My doctor (who is female) goes to her and asks why she came to ER for something so mild, she says because she noticed blood in her stool. The doc comes out and asks me if I asked about her stool, I did, she said it was fine, and I asked specifically about blood. She goes back in and asks the patient why she didn't mention that to me, her response 'didn't think it was appropriate to say it to a male intern.'

Turns out she had ulcerative colitis, needed a colonoscopy and long term medical therapy and possibly surgery. ArchGunner

The Black Sheep Knows....


Guy denied ever having chest pain, ever. Told us he was able to chop wood and work on his land without any issues. He didn't meet any criteria for additional work up prior to surgery. During his major surgery he had a huge heart attack. A cardiac cath showed that he basically had one very narrow coronary artery that was the only thing getting blood to his heart.

His daughters, who were nurses, all swore up and down that he was healthy as a horse and never complained of heart issues. Then his black sheep other daughter arrived and said he actually had told her that he terrible exertional chest pain every time he did anything, but that he didn't want his other daughters to know because they would worry. He died a few days later. If we had known about his symptoms, he would have likely had his cardiac disease diagnosed and treated prior to surgery. Sp4ceh0rse

Don't be Scared....


16 yo. came in with blood pressure of 60/30. Pale as a ghost. Tons of free fluid in his abdomen on ultrasound. Turned out he had metastatic testicular cancer that had eroded into his aorta and was bleeding into his belly. Come to find out later he had testicle lumps and was too scared to tell anyone. colorvarian

Damn you Chlamydia! 

I had a patient who needed a small sterile procedure done but had a latex allergy and it was in bright red all over her chart (we used paper charts back then). We had just ran out of latex free sterile gloves. I went in to tell her she needed to come back in a week when we got them back, then I decided to ask what happened when she came in contact with latex. Her response: "I get chlamydia." ostrichschool

The Wrist Bone is connected to the?

I had a patient who's main complaint was a wrist sprain. Asked how he fell and he said he felt lightheaded and fell down the stairs. After about 15 min of questions about his heart and other stuff, I ask him if he's had any vomiting. He said he vomits every day. I ask if it's red and he said it's bright red every time. The kicker is this was his usual yearly appointment. Dude was vomiting blood every day and not only did not go to the ER, he didn't feel it was worth mentioning at his checkup. KingJake69

The Heart stops....

I'm a med student and on my family medicine rotation I was sent to see this woman before the doctor and get a history and physical. She was saying she was having heartburn and just wanted us to give her "something to throw up" so she will feel better.

I thought it was odd and so I went through some more review questions and she said her reflux pain was extending up to the left side of her neck and down her left arm. And that she had been sweating for hours. I cut off the interview short there and went to my teaching doctor to tell him everything and what I thought. Got and EKG. Yeah... she was having a heart attack, had to call an ambulance and get her to the ER. NattyBakes

A worm where?!?!

Did my Sub-I in a Level 1 Trauma ED a few years ago as a 4th year Med student. Homeless Guy with HepB, HepC, and HIV came in talking about a rash on his shoulder, how it hurt, had been pretty hot out and that was where he was slinging his bag on. Looked ok, figured it for a sweat rash (he was really in there for food), so was going to give him some cream and a sandwich and send him out the door.

Was about to leave when I looked at his chief complaint again and it also had "testicular pain," so I asked him what was going on with his testicles. Lifts up the gown, and he has a tracking abscess through his scrotal skin and through one of his testicles. It was like a worm burrowing through his balls like it was an apple. "Oh it's ok I guess."

Ended up calling urology and infectious disease, and the guy ended up leaving against medical advice because we were making him NPO (without food) in anticipation of surgery. mattrmcg1

Beware the audience....


I'm a doctor. These stories are from a few years ago when I saw patients.

Im a medical intern, working the ED. Dude comes in with a heart attack. That part's clear as day. Gonna be medically managed, procedure in the morning. I'm about to queue up some nitropaste, it's a cream you put on skin that helps get blood flow to the heart, as my resident had seen him first and said it was ok, and I went through the contraindications as it was just habit at this of them is recent viagra use.

An Impotent Situation... 

If you are a middle-aged+ gentleman and you have cardiac risk factors (diabetes, overweight etc) and you develop erectile dysfunction you should tell your doctor as there is some evidence that it is an early symptom of heart disease, possibly preceding a heart attack or stroke by three to five years.

Far better to get on statins and blood pressure medication than just ignoring it, or taking viagra by yourself. You can tell if it's a circulatory cause as opposed to psychological if you stop getting morning erections and have difficult maintaining/achieving an erection in your 'alone fun time'.

A GP told me this during my primary care rotation (med student here). I assume she told me this for my learning and not that she thought I was likely an impotent chubby dude. Adam657


Had a guy who was sent in because his family was "concerned" about him... because he was getting into a lot of physical altercations. Appointment with the patient was normal, he was able to talk himself out of most issues his family stated were occurring... and as we were ending he said he "had to pick up his other truck from the shop." I then asked "Oh you own two trucks?" He replied "I own 5 trucks...." The guy was military, and only made $60-70k a year

Come to find out he had Bipolar disorder...and in his manic episodes he would take out a large loan to buy a new truck. He had almost $120k in debt in just trucks!

If it wasn't for that last part of him mentioning he was getting his truck, I would have sent him home and probably never known he had a psychiatric issue... SgtCheeseNOLS

Not the rectal....

I'm a doctor. These stories are from a few years ago when I saw patients.

Im a medical intern, working the ED. Dude comes in with a heart attack. That part's clear as day. Gonna be medically managed, procedure in the morning. I'm about to queue up some nitropaste, it's a cream you put on skin that helps get blood flow to the heart, as my resident had seen him first and said it was ok, and I went through the contraindications as it was just habit at this point... one of them is recent viagra use.

Patient had said no to recent viagra to my resident when his wife was there. He said yes to me when I asked when his wife wasn't there... he wasn't using it with his wife. Nitropaste was avoided, blood pressure stayed ok, coronary got stented in the morning, discharged the next day.

Protip: while you toss the family out to do the rectal exam, ask all the questions they won't answer honestly. IOVERCALLHISTIOCYTES

Red Flag!


Admitted a baby my intern year that had transferred to our facility for persistent vomiting following a surgery on a part of the intestinal tract. The transferring facility had wanted us to start the baby on a form of intravenous nutrition and offhandedly mentioned some low-grade laboratory abnormalities that they had attributed to the baby just having had surgery.

I go into the room in the middle of the night, the first representative of our medical team to meet the family, and in the process of gathering the history, ask the family what color the baby's poop was. The family replied that it was white or gray and had been since birth and that they just thought that was how it should be. Record scratch. Big red flag. We ultimately diagnosed the baby with a rare genetic disorder that required an organ transplant. TwoTreeBrain

Keep Track....

Always. Damn. Unintentional. Weight loss. Takes me from "ok not too bad," to "oh damn!"

Unintentional weight loss is losing more than 5% of your usual body weight in 6-12 months. Your doctor should work through the possibilities step by step starting with most common to least common. A CT scan is usually NOT the right first or second answer.

You should be getting age appropriate cancer screening (paps, colonoscopy, mammo, testicular exam, prostate exam) and bring a detailed family history of cancer to your doc including type of cancer, when it was diagnosed, and what stage it was diagnosed in.

Make a diary of your symptoms including things like night sweats, mood changes, diet, swollen glands, blood or changes in stool, etc. drgeneparmesan

The Effects of Dairy! 

Not a doctor and not even about me, but this is just too interesting of a story for me not to post it here.

So, my dad was a bit of a slow child. Always forgetful, got bad grades, needed to have a list of everything important with him all the time to avoid forgetting it. In his 20s he gets an allergy test done for no real particular reason beyond having it recommended to him by his doctor. Turns out he's lactose intolerant. Of course, he tells the doc that the test clearly failed because he's never had a bad reaction to milk in his life.

"Are you forgetful?"

Turns out that lactose just makes him forgetful. The doctor he'd visited happened to have done research specifically into that type of lactose intolerance. He cut dairy from his diet and suddenly all the problems went away. To this day I've never met anyone else that even knows that this can happen. UkonFujiwara

Can you taste it?

I'm a doctor. Back in school I had a patient who was a drinker. Wasn't feeling great and wasn't sleeping well lately.

Asked him how the drinking issue was going and he said he 'lost the taste for it'... Alcoholics can quit. They can stop. But they don't just 'lose the taste for it.'

Cancer. this_will_go_poorly



A few months ago a woman (36 yo) consulted to Endocrinology because she was getting fat without a change in her diet and she felt "different." Asking more questions she casually mentioned she hadn't had her menstruation for months and that maybe she was menopausic. AT 36. We suggested that she might be pregnant and she said it was a stupid idea and that she knew she was not pregnant. We did some analysis and an ecography and yep, 35 WEEKS PREGNANT (you give birth at around 40). carolsag96



I once was rounding on a patient in the morning that had come in for a stroke. I decided to ask some basic review of systems questions just out of habit, and when I asked about changes in vision, he said yes. I probed further and he told me that he was using eye drops for something but that he forgot his eyedrops at home 3 days ago when he came to the hospital. For the last 3 days, the vision in his left eye was worsening along with eye pain/pressure. When I call his pharmacy to see what drops he was using, as I suspected, they were for glaucoma and he was having worsening vision loss due to untreated glaucoma increasing his intraocular pressure. We got an Opthalmology consult STAT! quantumwanderer01

White Noise. 

Not a people doctor, but I worked as a vet tech for 3 years. Had a little tiny mini shih tzu in horrible health with a nasty attitude to match. You could seriously barely touch the dog and she was very, very sick. The only reason we were able to do anything for her was because she was so small. Owner comes to visit her one afternoon and casually mentions to us that SHE'S DEAF. Poor thing was scared out of her mind and did remarkably better once we learned to let her know we were there before touching her. sugarbonez


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