Is the full feeling in my throat heartburn or something else?
September 27, 2012 8:05 PM   Subscribe

For the last several days, I have had the feeling that something is stuck in my throat or the urge to swallow. It lasts for hours and seems to occur after eating. Is this heartburn? Is it something else?

[I know you are not my doctor.]

It sounds silly, but I don't actually know what heartburn feels like, and googling has led me to believe that I might have heartburn. I don't, however, have any tightness or burning in my chest, just the feeling like my throat is full.

This initially occurred two months ago, during a vacation, after I admittedly ate a lot late at night (after drinking) and then went right to sleep. It lasted, on and off but mostly on, for about a week. I took some over the counter heartburn medication but that didn't seem to do much. It stopped and I chalked it up to getting too old for late night drunken munchies.

But it started again the other day, after I had a moderate meal in the middle of the day, and the over the counter medicine hasn't seem to help much. Is this heartburn? Is this something else that I can treat? Is this something where I need to see a doctor?

Physical characteristics in case it influences the suggestions: 30 year old woman, generally healthy, about 5-10 pounds overweight but active, usually exercise 3-4 times per week but spent the end of last week getting over a cold so less active recently than usual. I have a desk job but even when I don't get to exercise I walk 2-5 miles per day in my commute. Eating habits fairly average - no dietary restrictions.

Any suggestions or guidance is appreciated.
posted by Caz721 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds more like post nasal drip, probably related to your cold.
posted by at the crossroads at 8:31 PM on September 27, 2012

Hiatal hernia?

I'd go see a gastroenterologist.
posted by telegraph at 8:35 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

In my experience, this is probably EERD, which a close cousin to GERD, which is basically heartburn. I had the same thing with no classic heartburn symptoms but an overwhelming feeling, at times, of having something stuck in my throat. I was going to say that Prilosec is available over the counter in the US, if you're there, and could help, but I see you've already tried over the counter heartburn meds and they didn't seem to do much. So you probably want to see your doctor. In the meantime, the standard suggestions for this kind of thing are to eat small/frequent meals, avoid acidic foods, don't eat right before bed and avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
posted by kate blank at 8:38 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Globus pharyngis

At least for me it is, usually a stress response, when it gets bad enough it becomes uncontrollable gagging... lovely. Cosette had to sign the mortgage papers without me as I was in the car, gagging.
posted by Cosine at 8:56 PM on September 27, 2012

posted by vegartanipla at 9:09 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have had a similar experience, and also have acid reflux. I'm not certain they are related, but taking a prescription med (pantoprazole) has helped.
posted by gilsonal at 9:29 PM on September 27, 2012

One of the symptoms of my increasing thyroid problems (years ago, back when I still had my thyroid) was a similar sense of fullness in the throat -- it felt kind of like trying to swallow "around" something. Your doctor can tell if your thyroid is swollen or not by a simple check of your neck.
posted by scody at 9:47 PM on September 27, 2012

I've had the same, usually after eating, after many days of regular vomiting. My research at the time seemed to point to irritation or small tears in my esophageal sphincter. It healed over a few days once I was no longer vomiting every day.
posted by WasabiFlux at 9:49 PM on September 27, 2012

I have the exact same thing happen sometimes - the stuck in throat feeling. It is really really uncomfortable. I had it off and on all summer; then it went away for a while; then I had it so bad a couple nights ago that I couldn't sleep. I talked to an advice nurse, who recommended Maalox and following up with my doctor.

The Maalox helped a lot that night. Then, I saw my doctor a couple days ago. I was diagnosed with GERD, and given a prescription for Pepcid.

Since I'm not a doctor, I don't know what's going on with you, but I am glad I saw a doctor.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:49 PM on September 27, 2012

Eosinophilic esophagitis. See a doctor.
posted by arimathea at 9:53 PM on September 27, 2012

I second the possibility it is Globus.
posted by Dansaman at 12:19 AM on September 28, 2012

The symptoms you describe are exactly that of eosinophilic esophagitis (EE - which I have). You need to see a gastro, who will likely recommend blood tests, possibly a barium-swallow x-ray, and if those are inconclusive, a throat biopsy.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:38 AM on September 28, 2012

Thirding globus. My doctor tried to convince me it was heartburn and it most certainly was not. Usually goes away after an extremely annoying few days, week at the most. Because it's probably stress-linked, and because the nasty feeling can prevent sleep (making you MORE stressed out), I took an analgesic to help get to sleep, which in my experience makes it go away faster.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:56 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

In my experience, this is probably EERD, which a close cousin to GERD, which is basically heartburn.

My dearest friend recently had these same symptoms for that amount of time. Doctor suspected and treated for acid reflux. Symptoms persisted for two more weeks. MRI then found cancer at the base of his tongue. Chemo and radiation are being commenced immediately, surgery is being held off as the final option. He wishes that he could have acted two weeks earlier.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:55 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had this and had a piece of popcorn shell stuck in my throat. Also had it when I took a pill lying down, without enough water, and damaged my esophagus because the pill sat there a long time. Drink a couple cups of hot tea, and eat some soft bread to dislodge anything that could be stuck. Try some prevacid, or other OTC acid reflux med. You can call your doctor and ask for advice. My current doctor's advice is always "Come in to the office" but my previous doc's office often gave great advice by phone (wish she hadn't moved). If it's still a problem Monday, definitely call your doctor.
posted by theora55 at 10:07 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older What is your homebrew sanitization process?   |   What might be causing round marks on an Asian or... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.