Globus means a foreign body sensation in the throat, often referred to as a “lump in the throat.” Some people also describe it as a need to swallow constantly. By definition, the diagnosis of globus means that there is no true swallowing problem (food is not getting stuck or going into the airway).

Globus can be a very frustrating condition for patients as they are often told there is nothing wrong or it is a psychological problem. Globus symptoms are often worsened by stress but are not usually caused by stress alone. Comprehensive globus evaluation at the Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders includes: laryngeal examination, esophagoscopy, flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES), pharyngeal manometry, 24-hr pH/impedance testing, esophageal manometry, barium swallow, and thyroid evaluation.

There are many possible causes of globus. The most common cause is reflux disease. Other causes include allergies, esophageal motility disorders, infections, and tumors. Cricopharyngeal hypertonicity (or spasm of the upper esophageal sphincter) is a treatable cause of globus. Botulinum toxin injections into the cricopharyngeus muscle may relieve globus in some patients with cricopharyngeal hypertonicity.

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Last Updated: 03-05-2014
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