Globus pharyngeus

This is the medical name for a lump in the throat. This is not a true lump in the sense of the word but is a sensation of having a lump or something similar in the throat.

It is an unpleasant sensation but is not usually an indication of anything serious although in some cases it can be a sign of an underlying condition.

Causes of globus pharyngeus

In many cases, the causes of globus pharyngeus are unknown. However, there are cases where the causes of this disorder are known.

These include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Fragment of bone trapped within tissues which has caused a swelling.

To explain further: here is an explanation of the swallowing process and how globus pharyngeus occurs:

Food is chewed and broken down into manageable pieces before being swallowed via the throat. This travels down the oesophagus before passing into the stomach through a valve called the cardiac sphincter. This is located at the bottom of the oesophagus. There is a piece of muscle attached to the cartilage in the middle of the neck which also acts as a valve in that prevents food from coming back up the oesophagus and into the throat. This is also designed to stop gastric acid from entering the throat which is why this is a particular problem for people suffering with acid reflux.

But for whatever reason this muscle tightens unnecessarily which causes the feeling of a lump in the throat. If someone with this condition becomes anxious or frightened then it causes this muscle to tighten even more.

The problem with this is that stress or anxiety increases the production of chemicals and stomach acids which further exacerbate this problem.

Can this lump be seen by an observer?

This lump is not usually visible as it is more of a sensation than an actual physical lump. But, if you see a lump on either side of your neck or inside your mouth when you look in the mirror then see your GP.

This may only be a minor infection which has caused your glands to swell but in some cases it may indicate a condition which requires further investigation.

Symptoms of globus pharyngeus

The main symptom is that of a lump in the throat which can feel as hard as a walnut. This sensation is felt in the middle of the throat or even the chest area.

Other symptoms include:

  • Dry and/or sore throat
  • Hoarseness

This does not usually cause a problem with swallowing although some people find that they have to swallow more often than normal.

Treatment for globus pharyngeus

If this is caused by stress or anxiety then relaxation techniques and other forms of stress management will be recommended. It is difficult not to become tense or even more stressed when experiencing this lump which often leads to excessive throat clearing or swallowing. If you find that you are constantly clearing your throat or swallowing over and over again then try to avoid doing so. Look at ways of easing this tension which will take your mind off the problem.

Globus pharyngeus which is caused by acid reflux can be controlled by medical treatment. This will reduce the risk of further episodes of this annoying condition.

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