What is a Lump in Throat?
Lump in the throat is an abnormal condition characterized by the sensation of something lodged inside the throat. It is a common problem that everyone faces at least once in their lifetime. Globus Pharyngeus is another name of this condition. It is simply a painless yet discomforting situation. The feeling of a lump, bump or apparent swelling in the throat without actual lump is known as a globus sensation.
- Gastroesophageal reflux: GERD is an acid reflux disease that might cause a lump in the throat. This reflux results in frequent heartburn that damages the esophagus and gives rise to lump in the throat.
- Stress: It is a factor that stimulates this condition as it triggers the contraction of muscles in the throat. In a stressful condition, a person can often choke or find it difficult to swallow.
- The tightness of cricopharyngeal muscle: The throat lump sensation also originates due to the stiffness of cricopharyngeal muscle.
- Neck Mass: Mass on neck gets accumulated in the form of lump inside. This happens due to many reasons such as cold infection, goiter, thyroid cancer, lipoma, etc.
- Cold infection: Common cold infection makes lymph nodes (glands) in the throat swell and enlarged.
- Goiter: It is a throat disease that arises due to iodine deficiency and causes an enlarged lump on the neck.
- Thyroid cancer: A cancerous condition of the thyroid gland that gives rise to throat nodules. Although benign in nature, some malignant cancers result in lumps in the neck.
- Postnasal drip: When excessive secretion of mucus from nose and sinuses gets accumulated into the back of the throat known as postnasal drip. The drip moves downward in the throat that increases sensitivity and feels like a lump.
- Skin boil: A small lump-formation on the neck due to an infected hair follicle causes itching and pain in the skin boil.
- Lipoma: It is a visible, benign lesion that moves under the skin of the neck. They are painless and seem like a lump.
- Sebaceous Cysts: These painless and tender blisters contain yellow mucus inside them. It happens due to the swollen hair follicle and skin irritation.
- Branchial cleft cyst
- Cystic hygroma
- Pharyngeal pouch
- Glandular fever (Mononucleosis)
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Carotid body tumor
- Mucosal lesions
- Thyroglossal cyst
- Otitis media
- Oropharyngeal cancer
- Encircling of the esophagus by the thyroid gland
Lump in the Throat after Eating
Many people experience lump like condition after eating indicating the symptoms of anaphylaxis. It is the consequence of allergic reactions to certain foods containing toxic components. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening syndrome in which the immune system produces several chemicals naturally causing inflammation in various physical organs. This syndrome leads to many discomforts in the body like breathing trouble, coughing, itching, vomiting, metallic taste in the mouth, loss of consciousness, dizziness, cramping, warm sensation and lowered blood pressure.
- Swelling in the throat
- Chest pain
- The sensation of something stuck in the throat
- Difficulty while swallowing food, drink or saliva
- Toughness in the throat
- Hoarseness or change in the voice
Diagnosis is performed by an expert that checks inside the throat to observe lump, muscular contraction or any pustules on the tonsils. There are few types of equipment and diagnostic tests that help in the further evaluation of this condition such as:
- CT scans
- MRI scans
Doctors also look for some other associated symptoms like difficulties in breathing or swallowing food, changes in voice, hoarseness, etc.
If the cause behind the lump is acid reflux, then doctors recommend medicines like antacids that reduce the production of acid in the stomach. If the lump-like feeling is because of anxiety or depression, then specialists use therapies as well as anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicines. Psychological treatment remains available in case of psychogenic factors responsible for lump formation in the throat.
Other possible cures are as follows:
- Nasal spray: The treatment of postnasal drip is possible because of nasal spray. Drinking plenty of water or other fluids help to cure this condition. Over-the-counter-decongestants eliminate and control the production of drip.
- Muscle therapy: In such cases where muscle tension triggers the sensation of lump, speech therapy and some exercises can ease the tightness of the neck.
- Antibiotics, analgesics, and antipyretics
- Warm salt water rinse
- Massage the affected neck region
- Radix Platycodi (a neutral herb extracted from the dried root of Platycodon grandiflorum).
- Bombyx Batryticatus (originates from the dried body of plant Bombyx mori L.)
When to visit a doctor?
Globus sensation is not very fatal or serious and gets cured easily but not in every case. Sometimes this lump like sensation is confused with other diseases or conditions making proper diagnosis mandatory. Whenever one feels something lodged in the throat or lump on the neck, he/she should take medical attention. Observe the symptoms and explain in detail to the doctor. For clear diagnosis and treatment refer to an ENT specialist (ear, nose, and throat) specialist.