What is stuck in my throat?

Have you ever had that funny feeling that there is something stuck in your throat, that you just can’t get rid of? There is actually a name for it: globus sensation. It’s a fairly common reason for children (and adults) to be referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT).

But where does the feeling come from, and what does it mean? That answer is a bit more complicated. If the sensation goes away within a week, it is usually due to an actual scrape or scratch in the throat. If the sensation tends to come and go with the change of seasons, it is possibly due to post-nasal drip from allergies. (Post-nasal drip is the persistent flow of mucus from the nasal area down the throat, which is icky but not dangerous.) Respiratory infections, like the common cold, can also cause post-nasal drip. Again, these problems are not dangerous. However, if there are chronic voice changes, hoarseness, or breathing issues along with the globus sensation, the symptoms should be evaluated by an ENT to make sure that there are not any worrisome changes.

Interestingly, sometimes globus sensation can be caused indirectly by a food allergy. That condition is called eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE for short. When a person has EoE, they have a chronic reaction from exposure to a particular food or several different foods. This reaction happens in the lining of the esophagus, where the food passes through on the way to the stomach. However, it not the kind of anaphylactic reaction (like hives or trouble breathing) which happens in typical food allergies. You might think of EoE as more like eczema of the esophagus.

When a person has EoE, both the inner lining of their esophagus and the muscles inside the wall of the esophagus can be affected. It can be harder for food to pass through, and it can be easier for stomach juices to come back up — also called gastroesophageal reflux. Oftentimes, people with EoE have symptoms like stomach aches, nausea, and cough. But people with EoE can have globus sensation, too.

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EoE is one of those areas where several organs and systems are involved. The care of EoE can also involve several medical specialties: Allergy, ENT, and Gastroenterology. We have those covered! With the same kind of interconnection in our office here at Pediatric Specialty Partners, in San Diego, multiple specialists can see the same patient or family at the same time.  Contact us to make appointments with Dr. Greiner (Allergy), Dr. Pransky (ENT), and Dr. Cherry (GI).