Many individuals complain of a lump in the throat sensation. This is also known as “globus pharyngeus” Patients with a lump in the throat sensation localize discomfort to the area of the throat, and associate with the voice box or larynx. People may also complain of other symptoms including:
Foreign body sensation – feeling that something is “stuck”
There are numerous causes for a lump in the throat sensation. Anyone with this symptom should be evaluated with a complete history and physical examination including possible flexible laryngoscopy and esophagoscopy to ensure that no abnormalities are present. Imaging such as a modified barium swallow study, esophagogram, CT or MRI may be used in evaluation as well, although often times it is not necessary.
When there is no mass identified that is causing this sensation, the term “globus pharyngeus” is used. Often times reflux, allergy or postnasal drip may contribute to this sensation. There are special tests than can be done to confirm this suspicion. One possible cause of this sensation is a post-viral neuropathy – this essential describes inflammation of a nerve that is long lasting and may require medications to treat. Again, the only way of determining this is a visit with an otolaryngologist.
For many individuals, reassurance that indeed no mass is present is management enough. For others that are very bothered by this sensation treatment may include management of contributing factors such as reflux and allergies. If symptoms are attributed to a post-viral neuropathy, specific medications may be used to help alleviate these symptoms.
The most important thing for patients with a lump in the throat sensation is to have a full workup performed to ensure that there is no serious cause.