Globus is the medical term for the feeling of something stuck in the throat. The term globus comes from the last route for globe or sphere. Hence, it is used to describe a feeling of a large lump or “ball” of mucus in the throat. This symptom is often described in multiple ways.
Feeling of ball of mucus in throat
Feeling of tightness in the throat
Feeling of food or a lump stuck in throat
Phlegm that will not come out
A feeling or need to swallow harder than in the past.
It is not uncommon for symptoms to temporarily improve when people eat or drink. Globus can be one of the more frustrating symptoms and diagnosis to deal with as the physical exam is often unremarkable. The symptom generally does not cause pain, but can be extremely annoying. As a general rule, women of child bearing age and women around menopause tend to be affected the most.
Globus can last days to weeks to even months and can be recurrent. If symptoms last longer than a couple weeks, often, the patient will be referred to an Otolaryngologist or an ENT. The ENT will do a thorough exam which often includes a flexible scope being used to evaluate the entire throat. This is done to ensure there are no concerning findings. Often the exam is unremarkable.
Common causes of Globus include:
Stress, anxiety, or depression
Silent reflux also known as laryngopharyngeal reflux
Inflammatory disorders such as infection or allergies.
What treatment options are there for globus?
This will obviously depend on what is identified at the time of the examination. What is most important is to have this evaluated by an ENT. Often, symptoms will improve after examinations that reveal no concerning findings. In other words, there is a lot of relief in knowing there is nothing worrisome taking place. Otherwise, your otolaryngologist will often recommend a treatment schedule. It is very important to understand that, although annoying, globus is not a serious condition. However, it can be difficult to resolve and often treatments do not provide immediate relief. It is important to stick to the treatment schedule unless otherwise directed by your physician.