Symptoms and causes

What is it?

A lump in the throat can be described as a persistent feeling of an obstruction in the throat, a specifically irritating feeling of having something in your throat and not being able to swallow to make it go away. It can be accompanied by mild pain or a burning feeling. As a result, there can be the tendency to constantly clear your throat, to cough or to swallow.

Causes

The following are potential causes:

  • inflammation of the throat/larynx due to burning stomach acid (reflux)
  • enlarged thyroid
  • muscle tension at the level of the uppermost sphincter (oesophageal sphincter)
  • muscular tension in the neck
  • stress and anxiety
  • improper voice use
  • nose problems such as post-nasal drip (mucous that drops down from the nose to the throat)
  • Zenker's diverticulum

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis

Given that there are various causes, your physician will prepare a tailored and individual treatment plan for you.

Treatment

Possible supplemental examinations:

  • flexibile endoscopy of the nose/sinuses and throat, which allows for visualisation of anatomical abnormalities and swelling
  • neck palpation of the muscles and the thyroid
  • swallowing study during which you swallow a liquid contrast agent to visualise the swallow trajectory
  • speech therapy examination
  • possible examination of the stomach and oesophagus

Treatment centres and specialisations

Ear, nose, and throat diseases

Latest publication date: 28/06/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith