Feeling something stuck in the throat is a more common problem than you think. Usually it is not a symptom of a serious illness, but the product of a bad diet, gastro-esophageal reflux and, above all, anxiety.
Many people go to the doctor and after a general examination they return home without a specific diagnosis but also with the certainty that it is nothing serious. What all patients tend to have in common is high degrees of stress and anxiety, in addition to an unhealthy diet.
• These are some of the causes that can generate this sensation in the throat:
Gastroesophageal reflux: Reflux occurs when stomach acids are returned to the esophagus by irritating the throat and causing a burning sensation and sometimes something stuck in the throat. In order to alleviate the symptoms, a diet in which the consumption of fats (fried foods), alcohol, coffee, chocolate, hot peppers and highly seasoned foods, vinegar, acidic fruits, black tea, onion, garlic, and leeks, among others.
In addition, it is recommended to sleep with your head up (either tilting the bed, or using special pillows), not napping, not wearing tight clothing on the abdomen, and eating small meals several times a day instead of two or three meals big.
If symptoms do not diminish with diet, pharmacological treatment should be used.
Barret syndrome: This is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by exposure to stomach acids. When we eat, food passes from the throat to the stomach where acids help dissolve food. These acids remain in the stomach thanks to a valve that opens and closes and keeps them inside.
If these muscle fibers don’t close properly and stomach acids return to the esophagus, the lining of the esophagus wears away. The severity of this condition is that it has no symptoms, which is why it is also called silent reflux. But the presence of the acid, although it does not cause symptoms such as those of reflux, does produce the sensation of having something stuck.
Thyroid problems: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, just above the clavicle. Its primary function is the production of hormones that intervene in the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. It also helps maintain a healthy calcium concentration in the body. In the thyroid are the thyroid cells that grow, divide, age and die like those of the rest of the body; Sometimes this natural process loses its balance and an accumulation of cells occurs that forms a mass of tissue called a nodule (tumor).
Most of the nodules or tumors that appear in the thyroid are benign. If they are malignant it is called thyroid cancer. Symptoms can range from palpation of a lump or mass in the neck, inflammation, pain, hoarseness, or changes in voice, swallowing problems, shortness of breath, or constant cough. If you suffer from these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately to carry out the necessary examinations and rule out the presence of a tumor. These lumps also generate the sensation of something stuck.
Globus pharyngeus: The Globus pharyngeus or globe in the throat is diagnosed when they have already ruled out the above causes and no nodules of any kind. This “phantom” presence of something stuck in the throat is due to stress, but it is a vicious circle because the sensation itself causes more stress and more anxiety.
Many patients indicate that they live in fear of getting stuck; Anxiety causes dry mouth, and saliva to relieve dryness can cause mild inflammation in the throat and further exacerbate the sensation. The most recommended treatment is to lower stress and anxiety levels and thus reduce the need to constantly swallow.
Stress: In the esophagus we have a muscle called cricopharyngeal. It contracts and relaxes naturally to allow food to pass through. But in times of stress it can stay too tight and cause muscle spasms in the throat. This can cause, in the long run, a feeling of suffocation and something stuck in the throat. It goes hand in hand with all the above conditions.
Other causes that can produce the sensation of something stuck can be blows to the neck, a mouthful of food swallowed without chewing properly, respiratory allergies that force breathing through the mouth, gastritis, or also the appearance of white balls on the tonsils called caseum.
The remedy is a healthy diet and exercise
Diet plays a very important role in improving mood and calming nerves. There are foods that contain vitamins that act directly in the proper functioning of the neurotransmitters that keep the nerves under control, improve the quality of sleep and mood.
Vitamins of group B are key to combat stress (sardines, egg yolks, liver, nuts, legumes); in the same way, vitamin C is also a great antioxidant (citrus, dairy, broccoli, mango) and omega 3s help improve mood (fish, nuts). A diet low in saturated fat and rich in fresh foods helps improve digestion, maintain a healthy weight, and improve stress levels. The more healthy choices we make, the more we will feel better and be able to break the vicious cycle of eating out of anxiety and turning to high calorie but nutritionally empty foods.
Regarding exercise, any daily physical activity helps our health. Walking ten minutes in the morning, ten at lunch and ten at night give us thirty minutes of activity. Walking to an additional bus stop, parking far from the building you are going to, or always using the stairs instead of the elevator contribute to our cardiovascular health.