Lumps in the throat

This is a very common throat condition which anyone can experience. Lumps in the throat are usually harmless although they can indicate an underlying problem in a few cases.

Causes of lumps in the throat

There are several causes of this which include:

  • Infection, e.g. swollen glands in the neck
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • Excess mucous in the throat
  • Cysts on the tonsils

Lump in the throat

A lump in the throat can be caused by a growth such as a tumour although this is less common.

An infection such as that caused by swollen glands can cause a lump in the throat. These glands or ‘lymphatic nodes’ are present in the throat and neck area and help to fight off an infection.

But, during a throat infection these glands increase in size whilst fighting off the germs responsible for the infection.

Enlarged thyroid

An enlarged thyroid is often caused by excess hormone production which increases its size, causing it to push against the throat. This can cause a sensation of a lump in the throat or a general feeling of discomfort in that area.

Excess mucous

A head cold often results in excess mucous in the nose and throat which is cleared usually by coughing or sneezing. This extra mucous is usually accompanied by a tickly feeling at the back of the throat which is a sign of a throat infection.

Cysts on the tonsils

Cysts on the tonsils are a common condition which does not usually cause any problems. However, larger cysts can cause a lump in the throat and need to be removed.

The most obvious symptom of this condition is a feeling of something ‘stuck in your throat’or a tickly sensation at the back of your throat.

Treatment for lumps in the throat

Lumps in the throat do not usually cause any problems and in most cases, will disappear on their own accord. But there are a few situations where you need to seek medical advice.

These include:

  • Finding it difficult to swallow food or liquid
  • An ongoing throat infection, i.e. longer than a week or two
  • Problems with breathing or breathlessness
  • Visible lump in the throat – but no throat infection
  • Have been taking antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection but with no success

These will need to be investigated further by your GP.

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