Lump in Throat: What Causes It and Should you See a Doctor?

Feeling a bump or a lump in the throat without actually having one is called the globus sensation.

Woman trying to feel the lump in throat

The sensation of having a lump in the throat is a common sensation for most people. Feeling a bump or a lump in the throat without actually having one is called the globus sensation.

Globus Sensation vs Having an Actual Lump

The most important difference between globus sensation and an actual lump in the throat is the sensation upon swallowing. If patients encounter an obstruction whenever they swallow, it is possible that there is an actual.

However, for those patients who experience no form of impact whenever they swallow, they may simply be experiencing globus sensation.

Possible Causes 

Experts and other healthcare professionals are still uncertain as to what causes this sensation. It can affect people from all walks of life regardless of gender and age. In addition, this sensation of having a lump in the throat and come and go at any time during any point in an individual’s life. Listed below are some of the more specific causes of a lump in the throat sensation:

Tension in the Muscles

Muscle tension can lead to globus sensation. Muscles are generally relaxed when they are inactive such as when not being used for swallowing or talking. There are times though when throat muscles don’t relax correctly.  This can lead to the feeling of being tense particularly in and around the area of the throat muscles.

Loss of coordination in the muscles

Throat muscles are supposed to contract and relax in a way that is synchronized and organized. This organized process helps individuals swallow and talk correctly. However, they may stop working in a synchronized manner. And, this can cause people to feel some form of muscle tension. This can be more pronounced when saliva is being swallowed. These disorganized muscle groups may be so uncoordinated that it can make it difficult or too easy to swallow saliva. Individuals will then experience some sort of weird sensation when swallowing.

In contrast, food being swallowed may be easier since food activates a different cluster or group of muscles compared to when swallowing saliva.

Acid reflux

Acid from the stomach that penetrates the esophagus can give off a sensation of tension or swelling muscles and tissues of the throat. This can consequently make the individual feel that there is a lump in his or her throat.

Postnasal drip

Mucus that may be too much for the sinuses and the nose may collect and penetrate the back of the throat. This is known as postnasal drip.

The said excess mucus may make it way through the throat by sliding down and can give off a feeling of being a lump or bump. It can the cause heightened throat muscle sensitivity for the individual or patient.

Emotional stressors

Experts believe that emotional stressors or reactions can also contribute to the globus sensation. Various emotional reactions such as anxiety, grief, stress, and other extreme emotional reactions may initiate the feeling of having a lump in the throat. If a patient already has the said lump in the throat sensation, it may make the globus sensation worse.

Should People See a Doctor for the Lump in Throat Sensation?

It is critical to let people know that lump in throat sensation or the globus sensation is usually not a medical emergency.

However, the sensation of having a lump in throat might also be a symptom a more serious medical issue. If the feeling doesn’t go away and other symptoms appear, seek professional help from an ENT. An example of an accompanying symptom is difficulty swallowing.

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