Lump In Throat: Possible Causes And Treatment Lump In Throat: Possible Causes And Treatment

Lump In Throat: Possible Causes And Treatment


Have you ever felt something stuck in your throat and wouldn't leave? It's called a Globus sensation when you feel that uncomfortable feeling.

It is also known as Globus pharyngeus or Globus syndrome and can cause distracting and sometimes persistent symptoms. In most cases, a lump in the throat is nothing to worry about.

The likelihood of experiencing this increases with age, with 46% of healthy individuals reporting it at some point. Various conditions can cause a lump in the throat, ranging from psychological stress to cancer. Here are the common and uncommon causes, standard treatments, and prevention methods discussed in this article. A medical professional should also be contacted when necessary.

Lump in Throat Causes

A lump in the throat was first associated with hysteria in women around 486 BCE by Hippocrates, who called it "Globus hystericus."

This refers to the sensation of having a ball in your throat, as Globus is Latin for "ball."

Although women are more likely to seek medical attention for the condition nowadays, people of all genders can also experience it. Several factors can cause globus syndrome; some are more severe than others. The following list is some of the more common and severe causes of Globus.

Common Causes

The most common causes of globus syndrome are listed below. Some of these can be easily diagnosed, while others have a more complex diagnosis, even if they aren't severe. To pinpoint the root cause of the globus, a physician must use a process of elimination.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease:

 In cases of Globus sensation, doctors look for this first. There has been a link between globus syndrome and abnormal acid pH levels in the throat. Gastric contents directly irritating the laryngopharynx and abnormal vasovagal reflex tightness are two potential explanations for this association.

Esophageal movement  disorders:

Another leading cause of globus is oesophagal muscle disorders. Esophageal movement disorders account for up to 90% of global cases. After treatment for the motor disorder, the globus feeling disappears.

Pharyngeal inflammation:

 Globus can be caused by irritation or inflammation of the pharynx. Chronic sinusitis with post-nasal drip, pharyngitis, and tonsillitis are some examples.

Hypertrophy of the tongue base:

 To determine the cause of globus, it is essential to consider hypertrophy or enlargement of the tongue base.

Abnormal upper esophageal sphincter (UES) function:

 Patients reporting globus sensations are often diagnosed with poor or abnormal UES function. Up to 28% of those with Globus have a history of hypertensive UES in this area of the throat. 

Psychological stress and other psychological factors:

There is an association between Globus sensations, psychological distress, neuroticism, and an introverted personality type. Depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, and environmental stress have also been associated with Globus.

More Serious Causes

Thyroid problems or rare tumours can cause globus pharyngeus as well.

Rare laryngopharyngeal tumours:

A lesion or tumour in the throat may be diagnosed later in patients reporting symptoms of globus. One case study describes a patient whose symptoms were misinterpreted as psychological, and the patient's diagnosis was delayed. The endoscopy revealed a muscle tumour in the pharynx, emphasising the need for a complete examination.

Pharyngeal cancer:

A globus sensation may be experienced due to nasal congestion and neck swelling caused by pharyngeal cancer. A lump may appear on the upper part of the neck, but it is not painful. Pharyngeal cancer has no known cause but can be diagnosed by an endoscopy, which is also part of the diagnosis process. Malignant tumours and cancer are also diagnosed by biopsying the affected cells.

Thyroid diseases:

 According to one study, early were reported by up to a third of patients undergoing thyroid surgery globus symptom. The globus sign was also reported to be gone in 80% of patients after their operation. Because thyroid issues can cause many symptoms, they often go undetected or misdiagnosed. To be safe, thyroid problems should be ruled out when diagnosing the globus.

Differentiating Between Serious and Common Symptoms

Occasionally, lumps in the throat are nothing more than abnormal sensations. Many common and severe symptoms look the same, making it hard to distinguish between them. A medical professional will use a process of elimination to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.  As well as Globus, gastroesophageal reflux disease tends to cause heartburn, regurgitation, and belching.

Possible Treatments for Non-Serious Causes

When Globus sensations arise for non-serious reasons, there are many possible treatments. Depending on the underlying cause, your doctor may choose one of these options. It is often necessary to perform a nasolaryngoscopy or another endoscopy exam to determine the cause of the problem. During an endoscopy, your doctor passes a special camera down your nose or throat to inspect your voice box and throat. For further examination, a tissue biopsy in the area may be taken. Usually, gastroesophageal reflux disease causes globus sensations, which can be diagnosed through a medical examination. The treatment can begin immediately after the diagnosis has been made.

In this case, Lansoprazole, a proton pump inhibitor, is given to the patient at a high dose. After eight weeks of treatment with this medication, 80% of patients report that their symptoms of globus are "dramatically improved." When someone has trouble swallowing, they are diagnosed with oesophagal movement disorders, also known as oesophagal motility disorders.

Pharynx, tongue, and esophagus all need to function correctly to swallow. Treating throat problems with medications that either reduce or increase muscle activity, depending on which organ isn't functioning well, is possible.

Psychological treatment is sometimes included in treatment. Esophageal motor disorders include abnormal upper esophageal sphincter (UES) function.

As part of the treatment plan, laryngitis and paropharyngitis may require voice rest, steam inhalation, avoiding irritants like alcohol or smoking, and dietary changes.

Supportive care will help your body fight an infection caused by a viral upper respiratory tract infection.

Speech therapy and/or language therapy may be used in treating psychological factors associated with globus.

Patients experiencing psychological distress that exacerbates the globus sensation may also benefit from reassuring them that their health is good.


Preventing Lump in Throat Sensation

Staying hydrated and eating well is vital to preventing distracting throat sensations.

The best way to maintain a healthy throat is to refrain from activities that may irritate or aggravate it, such as:

  • Consuming caffeine

  • Smoking

  • Drinking alcohol

Drink cold or carbonated water instead of coughing or clearing your throat if you occasionally experience Globus symptoms.


What are the chances of experiencing a lump in your throat?

Approximately 46% of otherwise healthy individuals report experiencing globus sensations.

Most people with globus sensations (up to 45%) report still experiencing them after a follow-up survey.


When to See a Medical Professional

Multiple organs reside in your throat, which helps you eat, drink, swallow, speak, and breathe.

A medical professional should be consulted if you experience a lump in your throat that does not disappear after the time it usually takes to recover from a cold.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing the following symptoms along with the Globus sensation.

More serious concerns, such as cancer, can be indicated by these symptoms:


  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Throat pain

  • Pain when speaking

  • Changes to your voice

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Pain while swallowing

  • Enlarged lymph nodes or other lumps in the neck


Frequently Asked Questions

My throat feels lumpy. Why is that?

Anything from stress to cancer can cause a lump in your throat. Mental distress, issues with your throat muscles, or more severe conditions like thyroid disease or cancer can cause the feeling. To put your mind at ease, seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.


If I have a lump in my throat, how can I get rid of it?

Medical professionals can provide the correct diagnosis and treatment for your condition. Drinking water will often relieve the sensation if you do not have any accompanying symptoms. It's always best to see a doctor if you feel a persistent sensation, as it could signify something more serious.


Are there any signs I should take seriously when I lump in my throat?

If there is a concern, only a medical professional can confirm it. Cancer symptoms like unexplained weight loss should be reported to your doctor immediately. When they examine your throat with unique mirrors or recording devices, they can determine if the lump is severe and if an in-depth examination is needed.


How Mobi Doctor Can Help

Mobi Doctor offers online urgent care. 


Write a Comment