Dear doctor, I’ve had difficulty swallowing lately, feeling as though something is stuck in my throat. Should I be worried?

12 June 2018

Q: Lately, I’ve been experiencing difficulty swallowing, feeling as though something is stuck in my throat. What could this be and should I be worried?

A: The sensation of something in the throat is quite common and may be transient and intermittent or sometimes more constant. It can often be associated with the sensation of swallowing past something. If there is actual difficulty in swallowing or pain, this may be more sinister and should be investigated especially if it lasts longer than 3 weeks.

The most common cause of this sensation is “silent reflux” which causes an abnormality of sensation in the throat and sometimes spasm of the muscles. It can be made worse by drinking tea or coffee, smoking, alcohol or certain foods. It is often associated with persistent throat clearing and intermittent voice change.

Some patients also have the sensation of catarrh or post-nasal drip, which may come from problems with the nose or sinuses or be a similar problem with sensation of the throat and irritation from a particular cause.

Symptoms such as; voice change, difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, an actual lump in the neck that you or a doctor can feel, ulcers in the mouth or throat, or pain in one or both ears necessitates urgent investigation by an ENT Consultant if the symptoms last longer than 3 weeks.

An ENT Consultant will be able to carry out a thorough and detailed assessment including a painless, quick fibre-optic examination of the throat in the clinic, identify any problems and advise on possible remedies.

Find out more about Mr Costa Repanos, Consultant ENT Surgeon Practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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