Imagine trying to swallow a cotton ball! That is how many people describe the feeling of having a ‘lump in their throat’ caused by anxiety.1 Most people try to “swallow” it but that is not possible. The stress of having an emotional imbalance is often capable of making a person feel as though a wad of something fuzzy, filmy or squishy was blocking his or her windpipe at the location of the larynx. It has been compared to “a flap of skin” since the sensation is so pronounced. Most people go to an Ear/Nose/Throat (ENT) Clinic because it seems to real to be based in anxiety.2,3
It might be difficult to speak.
- Creates an urge to drink more fluids that usual.
- There may be mild hoarseness.
- It may develop a feeling like a nagging cough, which refuses to manifest.
- There may be a sensation that swallowing is impossible.
- Something that will not go down or come up!
- Victim has developed a fear of having throat cancer.2,3
Causes of Globus Hystericus1
The most common causes in addition to anxiety are acid-reflux disease, allergies, and post-nasal drip. The throat mucosa are irritated, causing swelling, and then the area becomes inflamed. The more the patient becomes stressed over the discomfort, the more the situation worsens.
Options for Relaxing the Airway
Tea – a warm cup of tea, especially herbal chamomile tea, will often ease the “lump” feeling by relaxing the muscles in the neck.
Warm Salt Water – this option adds the element of salt to the method of expanding the blood vessels that might be causing the constriction.
Coughing/Clearing – most people try coughing or making a deep grunting sound to free the feeling. This method is rarely effective.
Breathing Steam – is helpful especially if a menthol product has been added to the steam to further open any constricted blood vessels, air passages, or muscles in spasm.
Relaxing – to music, by lying down with a warm towel on your throat or in a particularly pleasant setting.
Easing the anxiety is the solution. Forget the option of medical Interventions. Over-the-counter allergy, stomach acid, or sinus medications are not appropriate for anxiety caused symptoms.
- Keogh, Edmund; Chaloner, Nicola, 2002. Anxiety sensitivity and pain
Psychopharmacology. Vol. 164 Issue 4, p429. 3p.
Revicki, Dennis A.; Travers, Karin; Wyrwich, Kathleen W.; Svedsäter, Henrik; Locklear, Julie; Mattera, Maria Stoeckl; Sheehan, David V.; Montgomery, Stuart, 2012. Humanistic and economic burden of generalized anxiety disorder in North America and Europe. Journal of Affective Disorders. Oct 2012, Vol. 140 Issue 2, p103-112. 10p.