English for PTA


The term varices is usually used to describe the veins of the leg when they become twisted and enlarged. Varicose veins, as well as the milder so-called spider veins, are a cosmetic concern for some people. However, they may sometimes lead to more serious problems.

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Varices may also appear in the anal area. They are known medically as haemorrhoids and colloquially as piles. Haemorrhoids are cushions of blood vessels, connective tissue, and muscle in the anal canal. When they function normally, they help maintain continence and safeguard against liquid escaping through the anal sphincter. It is when they become enlarged that they start causing problems. The main causes of enlarged haemorrhoids are: straining, or sitting too long on the toilet, chronic diarrhoea and/or constipation, and pregnancy. Haemorrhoids are also affected by obesity, standing too long, or lifting too much.

PTA: Guten Tag.
Male customer: Do you speak English?

Yes, a little. How may I help you?
Well my problem is a little embarrassing. Is there anywhere more private?

Yes, but we have to take a few precautions. Good that you are wearing a mask. I’d be very grateful if you could disinfect your hands at the disinfection station near the entrance.
I have no problem with that.

Thank you, a lot of our elderly customers are still a little bit lax when it comes to mask-wearing and hand-hygiene.
It’s good that this Perspex® is between us.

I’m sorry, what is Perspex? Oh, you mean “Plexiglas®”!
I’ve heard it called that in English, too!

Okay, so how may I help you?
I have been having trouble going to the loo recently.

The loo? Do you mean going to the toilet?

May I ask what kind of problem?

Oh, I see. What symptoms do you have?
Well, it takes ages on the loo, and the last couple of days there was a little bit of blood.

Was the blood bright red?
Yes, why?

If the blood was very dark, black even, it could indicate a more serious problem.
That’s good, isn’t it?

Yes, it is. Do you have problems with varicose veins in your legs?
Yes, in fact I do.

Could the varicose veins be caused by your job? That is, do you have to stand or sit for long periods, or do you do any heavy lifting?
I’m a long-haul trucker. I used to do a lot of heavy lifting, but we have a mini-forklift attached to the truck nowadays. So, it’s probably from the sitting, isn’t it?

It could be genetic, affected by heavy smoking, the constipation could come from not being able to use a toilet when you need to. Diet, especially not getting enough fibre, can also affect haemorrhoids.
What do you recommend?

This ointment which has an applicator, and camomile solution for a 15-minute, lukewarm sitz bath. Do you have any pain?
I’m taking ibuprofen for that. How often can I apply the ointment?

Up to four times a day. If the symptoms don’t improve in a week, please go to a doctor.
Thank you I will. Bye, bye. Good bye.

You can find this article at PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 12/2020 on page 73.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker

varicesKrampfadern, Varizen
spider veinsBesenreiser
cushions of blood vesselshämorrhoidale Gefäßkörper
connective tissueBindegewebe
safeguardschützen (vor)
sphincterSchließmuskel, Ringmuskel
strainingdrücken (bei Stuhlentleerung)
constipationObstipation, Verstopfung
obesityAdipositas, Fettleibigkeit
recentlyin letzter Zeit
bright redhellrot
long-haul truckerFernfahrerin, Fernfahrer
camomile solutionKamillenlösung