Many people know the feeling of being annoying lump in throat to have. Often this feeling is accompanied by coughing and throat clearing, sometimes it also leads to a gag reflex. There are various causes for this tightness in the throat. In addition to organic causes, a lump in the throat can also be psychological.
What is a lump in the throat?When one speaks of a lump in the throat, it means an annoying foreign body sensation in the throat and pharynx. This creates an uncomfortable feeling of tightness for the person concerned.
When one speaks of a lump in the throat, it means an annoying foreign body sensation in the throat and pharynx. This creates an uncomfortable feeling of tightness for the person concerned. Many patients fear shortness of breath and are accordingly tense and concerned. Depending on the severity, this can also lead to uncontrolled coughing, the constant urge to clear your throat or even choking. The neck feels constricted, as if there is a foreign body stuck in it, which can be perceived as hard or soft.
The lump in the throat, colloquially often referred to as a frog in the throat, is called a globe feeling in medical circles and must be treated specifically depending on the trigger. The causes for this can be very different, so a careful diagnosis is necessary before therapy.
A lump in your throat can have many different reasons. It can be caused by an insect bite or an allergy caused by food. Tumors (e.g.the vocal cords or the larynx) or bulges (diverticula) on the esophagus may be responsible for the tightness.
In thyroid patients, an enlargement of the thyroid gland can produce this sensation, but angina or lateral cord angina or an inflammation of the throat can also cause the foreign body sensation. People who have reflux disease (stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus) may also have a lump in their throat. Psychological causes such as stress are also not uncommon.
More harmless causes of this feeling would be scars from previous operations. Hasty food intake, too little chewing and thus swallowing too large parts of food can give the feeling of a lump in the throat.
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Diseases with this symptom
- Lateral cord angina
- Sore throat
- Esophageal diverticulum
- Thyroid enlargement
- Vocal fold polyp
- Throat cancer
- Reflux disease
Diagnosis & course
The feeling of having a lump in the throat can be very annoying for those affected and therefore a doctor should always be consulted if the symptoms persist. A medical evaluation is advisable, especially because there are not only harmless causes for these complaints. With a detailed diagnosis, the cause can be found and then a decision can be made as to whether and which further measures are necessary.
First of all, in a conversation with the patient, the doctor will explain the symptoms in detail and whether they occur regularly, rarely or permanently. It makes sense to first visually examine the smoke in the throat and pharynx, an endoscopic examination by an ear, nose and throat doctor may be appropriate and the family doctor will issue a referral.
To rule out thyroid disease, a blood test is first necessary to determine the thyroid levels. If a reflux disorder is suspected, a gastroscopy can provide helpful results. If no physical cause can be found, a psychosomatic cause can be considered. How quickly the symptoms improve depends entirely on the diagnosis.
A lump or lump in the throat should be clarified regardless of the cause, as the anatomical proximity to the windpipe can cause shortness of breath. There are also speech and swallowing problems. About one in four people has a lump in the throat and regurgitation of stomach acid (reflux), which leads to heartburn and irritation of the mucous membrane of the throat and esophagus.
Another cause that can cause a lump in the neck area is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid that causes hypofunction. Typically, the disease develops the characteristic goiter on the neck. Heart failure (heart failure) can result as a complication, which can even lead to cardiac arrest.
Other consequences are general weakness and an increased risk of depression. In the worst case, it can lead to a myxedema coma. In addition, the risk of developing cancer is increased. In newborns, too, if the pregnant mother suffers from hypothyroidism, consequential damage can result.
Heart and kidney damage is more common in children, as is a developmental disorder both physically and mentally. Diverticula in the esophagus also cause typical lumpy sensations in the throat. These can become inflamed and cause diverticulitis. This can lead to abscess formation and internal bleeding.
When should you go to the doctor?
The feeling of having a lump in your throat (the so-called globus feeling) is harmless in many cases, but under certain circumstances it can make it necessary to see a doctor.
In general, a doctor's visit is advisable if the feeling of lump in the throat has existed for a long period of time and if the symptoms worsen. In addition, those affected should consult a doctor if symptoms such as weight loss and fever occur in addition to the globus feeling (systemic symptoms).
Additional swelling in the neck area or swollen lymph nodes should also be examined by a doctor. A visit to the doctor is also necessary if there is a change in voice.
A medical examination is also advisable if the lump in the throat is perceived as painful or if the symptom is earache. This is true even if the symptoms are only felt on one side. If the feeling of lump in the throat results in the backflow of chyme from the stomach (regurgitation), swallowing disorders (dysphagia) or breathing difficulties, these are also clear warning symptoms that those affected should present to the doctor.
If an intervention or radiation has already taken place in the head and neck area, patients should generally seek medical advice if they feel a globe. Heavy smoking and regular alcohol consumption are other reasons to see a doctor for patients with a lump in the throat.
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Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of a lump in the throat depends on the cause, so making a detailed diagnosis is important.
Physical causes can usually be treated very well with medication. In the case of thyroid disease, there are special drugs that compensate for the disorder. In the case of inflammation (e.g. angina or sore throat), medication can usually improve very quickly. In the case of colds as the cause of the lump in the throat, it usually only takes a few days for the symptoms to subside, even without medication.
If a tumor is found that is responsible for the feeling of a lump in the throat, simple medication is sometimes no longer sufficient and chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary. In worse cases, surgery to remove the tumor tissue may be unavoidable.
If the problem is psychological, the patient can take measures to reduce stress. In severe cases, psychotherapy may be necessary. Certain medications can also be used to support this.
If physical and psychological causes can be ruled out, the doctor can only advise the patient to pay more attention to the way they eat. Meals should always be chewed thoroughly and under no circumstances should large amounts be swallowed at once.
Outlook & forecast
A lump in the throat can be triggered by a situation that is particularly stressful. This is often the case before an exam or an important appointment. After coping with the situation, spontaneous healing occurs in most cases.
In the case of persistently tense living conditions or the experience of a fateful event, the symptoms can arise from psychosomatic ailments. There is a good chance of recovery if the person concerned is willing to accept emotional help.
If the lump in the throat is caused by an allergic reaction, the person affected can use an allergy test to find out which substance is responsible. This can be avoided in the future or is treated with medication. If there is a foreign body in the throat, it is usually completely removed. Often it is enough to cough. Alternatively, a doctor can provide relief. Subsequently, the person concerned is symptom-free.
A globe feeling can also be triggered by inflammation. The feeling disappears completely within a few days or weeks. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment is given or the symptoms are minimized as a result of a natural course.
After surgery on the neck or in the jaw and throat area, patients often report an uncomfortable globus feeling due to the scars. These can be treated and minimized well with laser radiation therapy.
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Not every cause of a lump in the throat can actually be prevented. Basically, a balanced lifestyle with a healthy diet and sufficient relaxation phases is a good prevention against many diseases. This keeps the immune system going and the body is spared stress.
You can do that yourself
A lump in the throat is usually harmless and can be resolved with various home remedies and measures. First of all, drinking plenty of fluids and gargling is a good idea to naturally relieve Globus syndrome. If the complaints are based on stress or fears, relaxation methods such as yoga or gymnastics as well as conversations with someone you trust can help.
Bed rest and relaxation can usually also alleviate the uncomfortable feeling in the throat. If the Globus syndrome is based on an allergy or another underlying condition, this must first be treated. In the case of a cold, the usual remedies such as sleep and light medication are sufficient. Home remedies such as lemon, warm milk with honey and herbal tea also help. If heartburn is added to the Globus syndrome, healing clay, ginger, silica and bitters are useful.
For mental health problems, naturopathy helps in the form of osteopathy or "sensorimotor body therapy". If bad posture or tension are the trigger, exercise or a massage will alleviate the symptoms. Breathing and speaking exercises as well as other measures of sensorimotor body therapy can be carried out independently after a short briefing by a doctor and promise an improvement in the feeling of the globe and overall well-being.