Have you ever felt a persistent sensation of hair lodged in your throat that you couldn’t explain? Not only is it extremely uncomfortable, but it can also be terrifying, especially since you can’t figure out the cause.
However, what you’ve experienced is a very common condition that people all over the world have to deal with every single day. And while it might seem scary, there are a variety of treatments that you can rely on. So, here’s why you are feeling like there’s hair in your throat and what you can do about it.
What Is It Called?
Doctors refer to a persistent sensation of hair or lumps in your throat as the “globus sensation.” While the sensation can feel really uncomfortable, it doesn’t usually interfere with the ability to eat or drink.
It’s also important to note that globus is not a painful condition, and it isn’t dangerous. Even so, globus can be a sign of an underlying health issue, so you shouldn’t dismiss it and its symptoms.
Why Do You Feel Like I Have Hair in My Throat? 3 Possible Causes
As previously mentioned, the most common cause of feeling like you have hair in your throat is globus. Unfortunately, the exact cause of globus is currently unknown, with doctors still debating about it.
However, there are a variety of theories and possible explanations for globus that could help you get a better understanding of this annoying condition.
1. Internal Causes
Most specialists believe that globus is due to a problem with the coordination of the muscles involved in swallowing. More specifically, there are a variety of muscles that need to be relaxed and tense in the correct order for swallowing to occur normally.
In people with globus sensation, when they try to swallow saliva, some muscles are not able to relax, leading to a sensation of hair or a lump in the throat. Keep in mind that swallowing food doesn’t cause globus since food stimulates the muscles differently than saliva or liquids.
Additionally, some doctors mention that reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus can also contribute to the globus sensation. The main theory is that the acid can disrupt the relaxation of the throat muscles. Not only that but postnasal drip can cause or make the symptoms of the existing globus worse.
And lastly, there are a few medical conditions that can cause globus. From sinusitis to hiatus hernia and cricopharyngeal spasm, globus can be a symptom of some underlying health problems. In some rare cases, hypopharyngeal cancer can lead to globus, so make sure to check with a doctor if symptoms continue to persist.
2. External Causes
External factors such as climatic conditions are known to cause globus. These include:
• Cold or dry air
• Cigarette smoke
• Being around chemicals
• Air pollution by traffic or smoke
3. Psychological Causes
Throat anxiety can cause a weird sensation in your throat, similar to globus. In fact, anxiety alone can give you a feeling of tightening in your throat.
But why is that the case? To put it simply, when you are anxious about something, your throat muscles can start tensing up and lead to the uncomfortable globus sensation. Similarly, people suffering from panic attacks describe feeling like they have hair stuck in their throat.
It’s important to mention that the more you stress about globus, the more likely it is to cause throat anxiety. In other words, you should avoid thinking about how the globus feels, or you might risk triggering it again in the future.
There are a variety of conditions similar to globus that can make you feel like you have hair stuck in your throat.
Odynophagia is a condition that makes you experience pain when swallowing. It usually occurs due to an infection or inflammation of the oropharynx or esophagus, which is the part of the throat directly behind the mouth.
Achalasia is a rare medical condition that can cause you to have difficulty swallowing. When you have achalasia, your esophagus has trouble allowing food to pass into the stomach. As a result, food becomes trapped in the esophagus, which causes:
• Mild or intense chest pain
• Weight loss
• Coughing during the night
Dysphagia is a term used for those who have difficulty swallowing, similar to achalasia. However, while people suffering from dysphagia are completely unable to swallow, food doesn’t get trapped in the esophagus like it does for achalasia.
Some common symptoms of dysphagia include:
• Weight loss
• The sensation of having food stuck in one’s chest or throat
• Clearing the throat constantly
• Preference for semisolid food or liquids
Like with any condition, the treatment for the globus sensation depends on what’s causing it. For example, if your globus is caused by anxiety, the best way to treat it is to make lifestyle changes to calm yourself down.
These include meditation and relaxation exercises, as well as improving your diet. And, if that doesn’t work, you can always check with a psychotherapist and get his professional advice.
In contrast, if you are dealing with external causes of globus, you should avoid the triggers entirely. That means staying clear of smoke, pollution, cigarettes, or allergens. Additionally, avoiding cold or dry air can prove very effective, especially if you suffer from asthma.
However, sometimes, the only way to get rid of globus is to treat the underlying condition. Possible treatments include antacid and acid suppressing medicine, nasal spray, or even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Just remember to check with a doctor before you attempt to treat globus by taking medicine.
How Can You Ease the Sensation?
According to the NHS, there are a couple of things you can do to ease the sensation and relax your throat muscles:
1. Swallow whenever your throat feels uncomfortable, preferably water.
2. Try to yawn with the mouth wide open often.
3. Keep moving the jaw up and down and open the mouth at least two fingers wide.
If that doesn’t work, you can follow these steps a few times a day:
1. Shrug the shoulders all the way up to the ears and hold that position for a couple of seconds, release and repeat.
2. Turn your head to the left slowly. Bring it to the center and lower your chin to the chest. Then, raise the head, turn it to the right, and bring it back to the center. Repeat the procedure four times.
3. Drop your head to the chest while keeping your mouth open. Slowly roll the head in a circular motion and repeat the procedure in the other direction.
Tips for Preventing Globus
Luckily, you can stop worrying about globus by checking out these easy tips:
• Reduce Smoking: Cigarettes can damage your throat, mouth, and sinuses, causing a variety of health issues that are known to trigger globus. So make sure to reduce the number of cigarettes that you’re smoking or avoid them entirely.
• Don’t Shout: When you shout, you can end up wearing out your vocal cords. Eventually, you could increase the tension in your throat muscles and cause the globus sensation.
• Drink Lots of Water: Water helps secretions and fluids move smoothly throughout your body. That can lower the risk of phlegm, which is often what causes the feeling of having something stuck in your throat.
When Should You See a Doctor?
As previously stated, globus isn’t a serious condition and shouldn’t pose any long-term health consequences. But if you are concerned, you can always talk with a healthcare professional. You should also seek medical advice if the condition is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
• Weight loss
• Throat or neck pain
• Bleeding from the throat or mouth
• Muscles weakness
• Pain or difficulty swallowing
• A mass that can be felt or seen in or around the throat or neck