Globus sensation is a very common complaint. People experiencing this condition often refer to the sensation as a "lump in the throat.” A fundamental difference between globus sensation and other throat issues is that there is no actual lump in the throat on physical examination when a person experiences the globus sensation. Globus sensation is different from a swallowing disorder, although some people with globus sensation may report difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or feel anxious that swallowing will cause choking. Your laryngologist knows that globus sensation can have both psychological and physical causes and that people are not faking their symptoms, even when there is no visible physical cause.

Globus Sensation Symptoms

Many patients with globus sensation report the sensation of a “lump in the throat.” Other patients describe the sensation as scratchy, throbbing, tense, pulling, dryness, or like they have a pill stuck in their throat. The sensation is usually not painful, but it can be annoying. Most people with globus sensation find that symptoms temporarily improve after drinking, and sometimes after eating. Anxiety and psychological symptoms can worsen the globus sensation. 

Diagnosis of Globus Sensation

Diagnosis of globus sensation is made by ruling out other problems or conditions that could cause the symptom. Clinicians want to make sure that patients have no physical mass, stricture, or growth causing the sensation. Diagnostic tests of choice include flexible laryngoscopy, barium esophagram, and or esophageal endoscopy/transnasal esophagoscopy.

Treatment for Globus Sensation

The goal of treatment is to rule out any pathology that could be contributing to the globus sensation and work towards providing some relief, which can include off-label medications and behavioral therapies including voice therapy or swallowing therapy.