12 Jul 2021: #HealthBytes: Know everything about that 'lump in the throat' feeling
Do you often experience a feeling of something being stuck in your throat especially during summers? With the COVID-19 raging worldwide, the smallest of symptoms associated with the throat or nose is enough to cause panic. However, what is this foreign sensation that strikes often, but has nothing to do with COVID-19? Read on to know in detail about globus pharyngeus.
Condition: Globus pharyngeus is similar to a choking sensation
The sensation of a lump being stuck in your throat or choking is called globus pharyngeus. The condition is observed in at least 4% of the patients that walk into an ENT clinic in a year. Globus pharyngeus can be persistent and tiresome to deal with. However, you may be surprised to know that even after multiple hospital visits, most patient gets no relief.
Causes: The condition may be attributed to several causes
The exact cause of globus pharyngeus is unknown and multiple factors have been attributed to it. These include the postnasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux, lingual tonsils, cricopharyngeal spasm, enlarged thyroid, chronic sinusitis, cervical osteophytes, a foreign body such as fish/chicken bone, anxiety, etc. Globus sensation is also often confused with dysphagia or odynophagia. Dysphagia being a difficulty in swallowing, while odynophagia is painful swallowing.
Tests: Examinations and tests involved in the diagnosis
When you consult an ENT specialist, a detailed medical history will be noted. This includes dietary habits, sleep schedule, smoking and alcohol intake, etc. The next step is a general physical examination, followed by a detailed evaluation of the ear, nose, and throat. The doctor will then draw differential diagnoses and advise tests like endoscopy, X-rays, ultrasound of the neck, etc. based on them.
Treatment: Treatment is carried out after a confirmed diagnosis
Since globus pharyngeus is only a symptom, its treatment is dictated by the diagnosis made by the doctor. Oftentimes, treatment of the anxiety that the condition induces also becomes necessary. In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the symptom, "Doc, I have something stuck in my throat," is a vague symptom, with a multifactorial origin and its treatment likewise is multifaceted, too.
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