Feeling as if something is in the throat

Feeling like there is something in the throat, a lump in the throat or as if the throat is being squeezed. These three symptoms may cause you to clear your throat excessively or cough a lot. This often only worsens the complaints. Sometimes there is even a fear of a serious illness. An unpleasant feeling in the throat is not always serious. Often the cause is even innocent, such as a capsule getting stuck, stress or tension. Sometimes there is an underlying condition or disease.

Feeling as if something is stuck in the throat

Everyone has experienced it: the feeling that something seems to be stuck in the throat or the feeling that something is in the way. This feeling can vary from a lump in the throat to a feeling of squeezing the throat. A feeling of shortness of breath may also occur. People often try to swallow this feeling away, but it does not go away. Even clearing your throat or coughing does not make the unpleasant feeling go away. Below are a number of possible causes.

Pill/tablet swallowed but stuck in throat

A cause for the feeling that something is in the throat is sometimes swallowing a pill, tablet or capsule. If these are swallowed without water, they can sometimes get stuck in the throat temporarily. Capsules in particular have this tendency more quickly. Flushing with water often quickly solves the problem. Moreover, a capsule also becomes loose on its own because the wall of the capsule dissolves. This can cause a burning sensation in the throat as the contents are released into the throat. Even though the capsule or tablet has been rinsed with water, the feeling that it is still stuck in the throat may remain. The nerves continue to transmit sensation to the brain for some time. This may be due to mild irritation of the esophagus.


A globus sensation means feeling a lump in the throat. Often the cause is stress. We do not always notice that we are dealing with stress. We can unconsciously think about many things every day while we feel physically good. We do not notice that the body is slowly becoming exhausted. The first symptoms are often palpitations, fatigue or the globus feeling. A lump in the throat feels as if the throat is thickened, something is in the way and sometimes as if the throat is being squeezed shut. It is important to (learn to) relax the throat muscles during tension and stress. A speech therapist can possibly help with this. Sedatives can be used for prolonged stress. These can also be homeopathic remedies.

Clearing the throat causes irritation

When we have a cold or an inflammation of the throat, we are more likely to clear our throat to remove excess mucus or a tickly feeling. If you frequently clear your throat, you may experience throat irritation. The esophageal wall can become so irritated that you feel as if something is in the throat. This makes us clear our throats even more. The result is that the feeling only increases. It can often be solved by breaking this vicious circle: stop scraping. Instead, it is better to drink small sips of water when the throat feels scratchy or raw. Over time, the feeling will disappear completely. The throat will recover on its own.

Thyroid disease

The thyroid is a small organ located in front of and below the larynx that produces thyroid hormones. With thyroid disease, the thyroid gland may be enlarged. This is palpable as a lump in the throat. There is often also a sore throat and a slimy feeling in the throat. We often also see other symptoms such as cardiac arrhythmias, sudden weight loss or weight gain. The doctor can test the blood for abnormalities of the thyroid gland. If this turns out to be positive, treatment with medication is often started. This will eventually make the lumpy feeling in the throat disappear.

Increased muscle tension

With increased muscle tension, the muscles are continuously tense while this is not necessary. Muscles normally only tense to perform a movement or to absorb a force. But sometimes things go wrong and there remains a continuous increase in muscle tension. When this occurs in the limbs we see stiff movements. When there is increased muscle tension in the throat, there is the feeling that the throat is being squeezed or that something is in the throat. Stress may be a cause, but it also occurs with certain diseases and conditions. With these types of complaints, the doctor must look at which muscle (group) has difficulty relaxing. The increased muscle tension is often observed at the larynx or esophagus.

Allergic reaction

In an allergic reaction, the body overreacts to a harmless substance. This could be food, pet dander or hair, pollen and grasses or an insect sting or bite. An allergic reaction is often recognizable by watery eyes, nasal discharge, eczema or other skin reactions and sometimes also by a swollen throat and the feeling that something is in the throat. Depending on the allergy, it can be treated. Medicines are often administered that reduce hypersensitivity or curb the body’s reactions.

read more

  • Difficulty swallowing and sore throat
  • Break capsule and swallow
  • Thyroid complaints: symptoms
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