Feeling of a Lump or Something Stuck In Throat Due to Stress? | Dancing With Depression
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Dancing with Depression

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a health and relationships writer with a special interest in depression thanks to her own firsthand experience. She’ll share everything from her difficult diagnosis to how she learned to take the lead and dance with depression for the last 15+ years. Get ready for a wild and equally informative ride!

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Feeling of a Lump or Something Stuck In Throat Due to Stress?

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst needs to get the lump in her throat off her back.

I am putting this one out there to share with others who are going through the same and in hopes of some answers myself. For the past 2+ years I have been dealing with a feeling of something in my throat. Endless trips to the doctor have found all kinds of things going on in my throat and neck from degeneration in discs to an enlarged tonsil and unexplained swelling; none of which a doctor has been able to pinpoint as the reason for the feeling in my throat. This is infuriating to say the least.

As any Google-savvy person does, I have taken to the internet for answers and was surprised and relieved to find that thousands of others are dealing with the same feeling that is described as anything from “having a lump in my throat” to “feeling like there is something stuck in my throat.” What I wasn’t so happy to learn was that many of these people have been dealing with this discomfort and even an inability to swallow properly for YEARS without an answer or remedy. What the H-E-double hockey sticks? Is there no doctor who can figure this out?

My experience is very similar to that of others in that many of the doctors I have been to were quick to suggest that it is stress or anxiety causing the sensation of a lump in my throat. One arrogant S.O.B. (not only my opinion but that of most of my town) felt my neck for a nanosecond and said that he was very confident that it was “nothing.” So when I asked how he could determine that without any real examination he threw the term “globus hystericus” in my face and said he sees it in women of my age all the time because of “stress from kids, keeping house, working, hormones, etc.”

I was quick to let him know that I have no kids and therefore no one making a mess in the house that I keep and that I work from home doing what I love and on my own schedule and as for the hormones: if they could be responsible for this feeling in my throat then maybe he should send me for some blood work and figure it out! He wasn’t amused and did send me to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. That’s another long and frustrating story in itself!

For those who don’t know, globus hystericus is an outdated term for a feeling of a lump in the throat when there is none. My guess is that the new term for this sensation, globus pharyngeus, is the result of a bazillion other people not appreciating the implication that they are somehow hysterical. It is said that stress and anxiety can cause a sensation of tightening or a feeling of a lump similar to the feeling you get when sad or trying not to cry.

If that were the sensation I was having (mine is specifically right-sided and prominent only when turning my head or laying on my right side), I would consider the diagnosis after all other tests had been performed to rule out any of the many other conditions that could be responsible for the sensation of or an actual lump in throat:

  • acid reflux or LPR
  • enlarged tonsil
  • goiter
  • thyroid problems
  • throat or esophageal cancer

I admit that as someone who has had her issues with depression and anxiety, I have wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me and second-guessed my own feelings and instincts before. Thankfully I find myself doing that less and less, though to the chagrin of the doctors who are quick to dismiss symptoms in the name of stress.

If you’ve been suffering from the same feeling of a lump in throat or have a comment to share about having a symptom dismissed as being “in your head”, please stop by Health for Depression’s Facebook Page and share your experience.

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About the Author

Depression Blogger

Adrienne is a health and relationships writer with a special interest in depression.