LUMP IN THE THROAT
Condition and Symptoms
A persistent feeling of a ‘lump in the throat’ is sometimes described as ‘globus’ or ‘globus pharyngeus’.
The most common symptom of globus is the feeling of a lump in the throat or a sensation of ‘pressure’ in the throat. Many people describe a feeling of tightness or constriction, or report a feeling of mucus (a sticky substance) that they are unable to clear. Others may notice that they have the sensation most when swallowing saliva but may also find the feeling of a lump lessens when eating and drinking. These sensations can increase with stress and worry.
The most common cause of globus is thought to be acid reflux from the stomach. Acid in the stomach helps to break down our food. Reflux happens when this acid rises up into the tube that connects the stomach to the mouth (the oesophagus). From here, it can enter the throat and cause a number of symptoms, including irritation, throat clearing and coughing.
Other possible causes of globus may include a postnasal drip (when mucus runs from the nose into the back of the throat), stress and tiredness.
During your consultation Mrs Bentley will pass a flexible endoscope through the nose (using a local anaesthetic spray) and into the upper part of the throat. She can gain information about the nose (including post nasal drip) and whether reflux is giving rise to symptoms.
She may need to request blood tests and radiological investigations such as a barium swallow or an ultrasound of the neck. Requests will depend on her findings at the initial consultation.
For many people with globus, understanding the reasons for their symptoms may be all that is needed. For others, Mrs Bentley may suggest various treatments:
Treatment for acid reflux, including medicines and diet changes may be advised
Treatment for postnasal drip (when mucus drips from the back of the nose into the throat) e.g. nasal spray or nasal drops
Treatment for stress, if this is a problem
Mrs Bentley will explain there are lots of things that can be done to manage the sensation and give advice and strategies.