What is globus?
Globus - Latin for ball - describes the sensation of a lump in the throat.
What causes globus?
The exact cause of globus is unknown, but it may be related to abnormal esophagus sensitivity, abnormal activity of the esophagus muscles or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or a mass or lesion in the throat. Globus sensation can also occur with anxiety, stress or other strong emotions as well as sinus drainage or upper esophagus irritation.
What are the symptoms of globus?
Globus is similar to a normal reaction of feeling all choked up with events that trigger anxiety, grief or happiness. Globus sensation typically occurs between meals and is not related to difficulties in swallowing or other serious problems. Globus can feel like a golf ball sitting in your throat.
How is globus diagnosed?
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and medical history and may order a test that evaluates your ability to swallow (barium swallow study) and/or a test that evaluates the pressure and movement of your esophagus (manometry). An upper endoscopy (EGD) may also be ordered to view your esophagus directly. You may also be referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor.
How is globus treated?
Once an underlying cause has been ruled out, treatment options are aimed at coping with the globus sensation. No special medication relieves the disorder, but your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce acid reflux in an effort to see if symptoms will improve. Medications such as antidepressants or antianxiety treatments may also be beneficial. If globus is caused by psychological problems such as depression or anxiety, an evaluation with a psychologist or psychiatrist may be recommended.
When to seek medical advice
Contact your health care provider if you have a change in your symptoms, unexplained weight loss, difficult swallowing or painful swallowing.