Many people experience the feeling of having something stuck in the throat. It usually occurs at the back of the throat, behind the tongue. It can happen on and off and can be mild or severe. This can be accompanied by difficulty swallowing, drooling, hoarseness, loss of appetite, or pain and pressure in the upper chest. If it happens once in a while, it may be nothing too serious, but if the feeling of something stuck in the throat persists or is prolonged, you may require medical attention.
Why Do I Feel Like Something Is Stuck in My Throat?
The Most Common Causes
In some cases, the feeling of something stuck in the throat can be experienced by those who have suffered a stroke, or by those with muscle or nerve conditions. Most commonly, though, it is due to something within the throat, causing a blockage due to a variety of reasons. Here are the most common conditions:
An object or food: It is common for both children and the elderly who wear dentures to have an object or some food lodged in the throat. It can be removed or flushed out.
Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD): This is a condition in which stomach acids travel up the esophagus, creating ulcers and scars which can constrict the esophagus.
Tonsillitis: Caused by viral or bacterial infection, tonsillitis can cause inflammation in the throat and difficulty swallowing. When the infection goes away, so does the feeling of something stuck in the throat.
Diverticula: This is a condition in which small sacs form in the throat or esophagus. It can occur later in life or be a congenital disorder.
Esophagitis: GERD, something stuck in the esophagus, or infection can cause swelling and inflammation in the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow. Allergies can also cause this type of inflammation, giving the sensation of having something stuck in the throat.
Esophageal webs: Thin pieces of tissue can form in the esophagus and stick out forming web-like blockages in the throat. This condition can be congenital or develop later in life, giving the sensation of having something stuck in the throat.
Esophageal ring: Due to age, a thin area of the esophagus can become narrow, causing difficulty swallowing and a sensation of something in the throat.
Growths outside the esophagus: Tumors and lymph nodes can cause pressure on the esophagus, creating a feeling of something is stuck in your throat. This can also occur due to bone spurs on the vertebrae in the neck and an enlarged thyroid gland.
Esophageal tumors: Benign or cancerous tumors can grow within the esophagus, causing difficulty swallowing and feeling as though something were stuck in the throat.
Other Possible Causes
Feeling something stuck in your throat can bring discomfort. But aside from medical conditions, there are other several causes, such as the nerves and muscles present in the esophagus and throat are not working properly. This condition may affect the people who:
Experienced an injury in the spinal cord or in the brain. Those who suffered from stroke may also be affected.
Have inflammatory condition, which affects the immune system. Inflammatory conditions like polymyositis or dermatomyositis may cause swelling and weakness.
Have dysfunction in the nervous system, lessening the nerve and muscle functions, which are needed in swallowing. Nervous system dysfunctions may include Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Have esophageal spasm, which happens when esophageal muscles contract and prevent all the food from reaching stomach.
Have narrowing, hardening and weakening of the esophageal tissues, which may cause stomach acid and food to regurgitate to the throat.
How Can It Be Treated?
In many cases, a feeling of something stuck in the throat is nothing and warrants no medical attention. However, if this sensation occurs often or is persistent, then you should seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor can diagnose the problem and provide treatment options, which may include:
Chew slowly when eating. If the sensation of having something stuck in the throat cannot be prevented due to neurological or other causes, then you should reduce the risk of difficulty swallowing by chewing your food thoroughly and taking small bites during meals.
Take medication. In the case of infections such as tonsillitis, antibiotics can be prescribed to eliminate the infection. Antacids can be prescribed for GERD. If you have had an allergic reaction, avoiding the food or allergen can eliminate the sensation of something stuck in the throat.
Get the "thing" removed. Foreign objects or food lodged in the throat can be removed, providing relief from your discomfort.
Medical Procedures. If tumor is the cause of you feeling something stuck in your throat, treatments like surgery will be needed; in the event of cancer, further treatments will be required.
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