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What is Globus Hystericus?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Sometimes referred to as a globus sensation, globus hystericus is the feeling of having something stuck in the throat. The phenomenon is sometimes known colloquially as having a frog or lump in the throat. This condition does not actually interfere with the process of swallowing, although it tends to make the action somewhat uncomfortable. It is not unusual for people to experience this condition when under a lot of stress or dealing with a situation that makes them nervous or anxious.

The symptoms of globus hystericus are relatively straightforward. For the individual suffering with this condition, there seems to be something lodged firmly in the throat. Attempts to swallow the obstruction are not successful, even when drinking a beverage in an attempt to wash it down. In the more severe cases, the individual may feel some discomfort in the upper chest or possibly some pain during the process of swallowing. However, it is still possible to swallow normally, although with less comfort.

When it comes to defining causes for globus hystericus, anxiety is often cited as one of the more common reasons the condition develops. Stress, fear, and anxiety may combine to create this sensation of having something stuck in the throat. However, there is also the possibility that the condition comes about due to a developing inflammation in the larynx or hypopharynx. For some people, the lump in the throat is a precursor to the development of a sore throat or an impending head cold.

When it comes to treatment, it is important to identify the origins of the condition. If there is no inflammation present in any part of the throat, then some form of anxiety is often the culprit. Finding ways to alleviate the anxiety will often help to ease the sensation of having something caught in the throat and relieve any pain or discomfort associated with the swallowing. Should a doctor find an inflammation in the throat, medication is normally the most effective form of treatment for globus hystericus.

In very rare situations, the root cause for the lump in the throat may be due to a physical issue with the construction of tissue within the throat. When this is the case, surgery can often be employed to correct the situation. A physician can order the proper tests to determine if there is some sort of anatomical abnormality that is causing the condition, then arrange the mode of treatment that is in the best interests of the patient.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including TheHealthBoard, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon964090 — On Aug 02, 2014

I think I have this too. It started several years ago in my early forties. This year it started around June and hasn't let up. It doesn't hurt it just annoying as everything. I describe it like this: Cool, kind of a burning sensation, like someone has there hand around your throat. It seems to go away at night while I'm sleeping, but as soon as I get up here it comes again. It just gets on my nerves because it's a constant. In the past it didn't last as long, this time it seems to be lingering.

By anon332684 — On Apr 30, 2013

Can you actually throw your food up with globus? I always struggle to get food down and have to either wait for the food to release itself or chase it up with water but in both cases I do throw the food up very often. Please help.

By anon331417 — On Apr 22, 2013

Smoking cigarettes seems to bring on my sensation the most. Then my anxiety kicks in and makes everything worse. The only part I don't get is that I can cough out these tiny little white specks of stuff that were caught in my throat. After coughing it out, the sensations cuts down a lot. I'm not sure if its Tonsil stones, HPV warts, globus or cancer. Does anyone else have this issue? Thanks for listening.

By anon329683 — On Apr 11, 2013

Me too. I've been struggling for three years since I 'swallowed' a piece of apple peel the wrong way, or rather, it slid down my windpipe before I could stop it.

I've had tests, the ENTs couldn't find anything, and told me it's globus. But I'm convinced I still have a physical foreign body stuck. I can 'flick' it with my throat, it hurts like crazy at times and makes me short of breath. I'm on the board because it's really giving me hell today. I'm thinking of seeing a respiratory specialist because it's ruining my life and I can't take any more. No one can understand how painful and depressing these symptoms are. Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

By anon327126 — On Mar 26, 2013

in February, I had a severe case of acid reflux where I couldn't eat, all I could eat/drink were liquids. Since then, I am feeling much better and I'm starting to get a bit better on my eating habits. I have been experiencing food getting caught in my throat and feel a weird sensation. The doctor put me on Omeprazole which seems to be working. I have been to two ENTs and each of them found nothing.

I also did a modified barium swallow, but they didn't see anything out of the ordinary that would cause me getting things caught in my throat. My primary care physician said it's Globus Hystericus. I've never had this problem before.

I'm thinking it could be from anxiety since I couldn't really eat for a good month, but not really sure. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to relieve the sensation? It feels like something is there, but not sure if there is or not. Thanks for any help in advance.

By anon325392 — On Mar 15, 2013

If you have anxiety caused by hypomania, then I can tell you that you can get globus hystericus from that kind of anxiety. If you are on antidepressants for any reason, the anti depressant can worsen the globus.

If you have anxiety with globus or if you just experience it from the antidepressant, I would suggest talking to your doctor about going on a benzodiazapine. The best ones(benzos) would probably be Valium (diazapam), Xanax (alprozalam), or Klonopin (clonazepam).

By anon308717 — On Dec 12, 2012

I have the problem as well. Ask your doctor to prescribe some Librax. It relaxes the lining of the esophagus and stomach lining. I take it before each meal and at bedtime. It really helps. You can use a preventative or usually in about three days after onset of symptoms, they go away.

By anon300362 — On Oct 29, 2012

Can you have it only on one side of your throat? My discomfort is only when swallowing saliva not food or drink and I cannot swallow now without thinking about it, which makes it worse.

It causes discomfort/pain -- not intense but uncomfortable -- near my tonsil sort of area only for a second when I swallow.

I've seen an ENT, who said all looks normal. It's driving me crazy.

By anon299999 — On Oct 27, 2012

I have suffered for 15 years on and off and mine is definitely caused by stress and anxiety. I had a fantastic doctor at the time, and he prescribed me a low dose of diazepam, 5mg three times a day and within three days it had gone. Over time it does take a little longer to get rid of, but it does work.

By anon255687 — On Mar 19, 2012

I have recently tried taking a very deep breath, concentrating hard to relax my throat and actually open my throat, and holding that breath for as long as I can, then releasing the air as slowly as I can. It does seem to work, at least temporarily.

By anon220673 — On Oct 08, 2011

Ativan (Lorazepam) 1 mg, three times a day.

By anon176895 — On May 17, 2011

I have never heard of "Globus" until my gastroenterologist mentioned it to me recently after treatment for stomach reflux caused by a severe shock just recently causing a lot of anxiety and internal stress. I was placed on Rifacol (antibiotics) for one week. I am just amazed as to how our bodies react to stress thinking that we have overcome a situation but to show up in other ways, i.e., Globus.

By anon176381 — On May 15, 2011

I suffered with globus for two very long years after an emotional shock. Nothing worked and i tried everything! But after i went to see a homeopath, my life changed completely. i was cured within a few visits. i was told that globus comes from 'emotional shock/anxiety' something homeopathy responds very well too. I have never suffered with it since, thank goodness, as globus is awful. It worked for me. Hope it helps you. Good luck.

By anon164444 — On Mar 31, 2011

I have been diagnosed with globus and my doctor has put it down to iodine deficiency disorder. I would recommend all with anxiety to have a urine test and begin researching this. I also was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which was pretty awful. I am now on the mend and enjoying life and dealing with its challenges much better. good luck

By anon152338 — On Feb 13, 2011

OK, I’ll try and be a concise as possible here. I've suffered from this or something similar for a considerable time now and I have visited doctors and ENTs to no avail. It was a couple of weeks ago that my doctor and I had a bit of a eureka moment and off I went to see a physio. Cutting a long story short, years of sitting at a computer, mouse use, posture, tension and stress etc may have led to the shortening of some neck and chest muscles relating to the second rib. Some pulling and pushing from the physio and some simple stretches have given me a lot of relief from the symptoms. It’s still a work in progress but it’s looking good.

Stuff to try: Sit on a chair (shirt off) back straight, have someone kneel in front of you and place their fingers on the second rib, left and right (in my case about a hands width down from my collar bone). Take a slow deep breath to fill your lungs. If your observer can see and feel one side rise more than the other, then you could be onto something.

Secondly, some simple stretches, done while warmed up to some degree, say first thing in the morning after a hot shower and done gently! Place a towel over your shoulder (side where the symptoms predominantly occur in your throat) hold the towel in front of you with one hand and around your back with the other. The idea is to hold your shoulder ‘down’. While holding your shoulder down with the towel take a slow deep breath, repeat this three times. You should feel the muscle in your chest resisting slightly. If you do, again you might be onto something.

Thirdly, with the towel in the same position move your head to the other shoulder until you can feel the neck muscles pulling gently. Stretch the muscle out slightly and gently rotate the head to look at the ceiling, i.e., stretch and twist the muscle. Do this three times gently twice a day, and that’s all. If these things start giving you some relief then head for a full check up with a good physio!

By anon139952 — On Jan 06, 2011

I have been suffering from that tight, choking feeling for two years now. Mine all started after I choked on a piece of pork crackling. I do not have a problem swallowing food or beverages but something as simple as my own saliva can at times throw me into a panic.

I constantly feel the need to clear my throat as I always have so much phlegm. I have had two gastroscopies in the last two years and nothing at all has shown up as to why I am experiencing this globus sensation.

I suffer from acid reflux but have been taking treatment for the past year for that but still have not noticed an improvement with the tightening in my throat. It is much worse at night and certainly is aggravated by stress. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please, please, please share it as I am now at the end of my rope.

By anon109458 — On Sep 07, 2010

I have had this Lump in my throat for going on 28 years. I take antidepressants and also have an issue with acid reflux.

I have been to numerous doctors and finally saw my third or fourth ENT, described what I was feeling and without missing a beat he told me it was globus hystericus. I do have anxiety at times but most of the time I am a pretty laid back relaxed person.

I have the worst time with it at night and I choke all of the time even on water and sometimes air! Any suggestions would be welcome.

By naturesgurl3 — On Aug 21, 2010

Other causes of globus hystericus symptoms include smoking, GERD and acid reflux, tumors, and psychological problems.

Some people actually have the feeling of globus hystericus without anything actually being there.

That's why treatments for anxiety often work so well for globus hystericus -- it's a mental thing.

By rallenwriter — On Aug 21, 2010

My boyfriend has globus hysterica, and I can tell you, it's not a fun thing to deal with. He says he always feels like there's something in his throat, and that he needs to spit it out.

He also has a hard time swallowing sometimes, so it can really be a pain.

He's tried some anxiety treatments, but nothing seems to work -- he just has to kind of ignore it.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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