Throat Obstruction

Do you every feel like you have a bump in your throat that’s interfering with your ability to swallow properly? If so, you probably suffer from a very common problem known as throat obstruction. There are different factors that could make you feel that there is a blockage or an obstruction in your throat. Most people who experience throat obstruction problems do so, because of swallowing a hard, foreign object, such as a fish bone or a chicken bone, which gets lodged into the throat. Some of the other common causes of throat obstruction include throat lumps or excess mucus in the throat. These factors block the passage of your throat, making it difficult for you to eat or even drink anything. At times, a throat obstruction could also lead to changes in the voice or hoarseness. People normally refer to this as a “frog in the throat”.

While the thought of a lump in your throat may sound like a very serious problem, rest assured it does not necessarily mean that you suffer from a grave affliction. This condition is more common than most people realize and in most instances, the causes are fairly mild too. On its own a throat obstruction is not a major problem, although it could lead to some amount of discomfort, pain, swallowing difficulty and perhaps even difficulty in speaking. If the obstruction is caused by mucus, it is usually temporary and disappears on its own, within a few days or weeks. However, in case there is a lump or a growth blocking your throat passage, you may need to undergo treatment to get it resolved.

This does not mean that it is alright to leave a throat obstruction untreated. A lump in the throat could be an indication of a major health problem in some cases. If you ever notice a throat or neck lump because of its visibility, but there are no other accompanying symptoms, then it would be advisable to consult your health care provider without any delay. At any point, if the throat obstruction causes breathing problems, it is absolutely essential to seek immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of Throat Obstruction

The severity and intensity of a throat obstruction could vary from one person to the other. In some instances, an obstruction is a very minor problem, causing no more than changes in the voice. This usually occurs when the obstruction is a result of excess mucus. In addition to the hoarseness, you may also experience irritation and a tickly feeling in your throat, because of which you may need to clear your throat repeatedly. However, if the obstruction is the result of a foreign object, the symptoms may be different. Some of the other symptoms that you may notice in this case include:

  • Wheezing
  • Gagging
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the throat, chest or abdominal area
  • High pitched breathing
  • Drooling

In case of a tumor or a lump in the throat, the symptoms are a lot more severe. At times, the abnormal growth could obstruct the airways or the esophagus, which is quite a serious problem. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor in case you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulties, where it feels like the airways are blocked or obstructed
  • Severe discomfort while swallowing, or even sipping liquids
  • The appearance of a physical lump, without any pain or throat infection
  • Presence of an infection in the throat, which lasts for more than two weeks
  • Persistent symptoms, in spite of using antibiotics or other medication
  • Purplish or bluish tint in the face, because of a lack of oxygen

It is not necessary that your body forms a lump because of a serious health problem. In fact, a lump in your throat can be a result of your body’s natural response to combatting an infection. Nevertheless, as soon as any of the symptoms for throat obstruction become evident, it is best to get in touch with a doctor and identify the possible causes.

Causes of Throat Obstruction

Contrary to what many people believe, not all causes for throat obstruction are serious or alarming. There could be different factors that lead to an obstruction in your throat, such as:

  • Swallowing Hard Objects: You may suffer from a throat obstruction problem, after a piece of food gets stuck in your throat. This is more common in case of chicken or fish bones. This is also very common in children, who could swallow a hard piece of candy without chewing it properly, or even other inedible objects.
  • Infection: There are many small glands, like the lymphatic nodes present in the neck and throat area. These nodes perform the important function of protecting your body against infection and are a part of the immune system. If you are suffering from a throat infection, these nodes have the tendency to swell up, as they try to combat the infection-causing germs.
  • Mucus:At times, you may feel the presence of a lump in your throat, which is actually an accumulation of excess mucus. While this is not exactly a major problem, it could lead to a sore throat or an infection.
  • Abnormal Growth: A tumor can develop in any part of the body, including the throat. Some of these tumors are benign, but in other cases, a lump in the throat could actually be a symptom of throat cancer, which is a major cause for concern and should be treated without any delay.
  • Enlarged Thyroid: In case your thyroid gland is enlarged, it could mean that your body is producing too many hormones, which causes the organ to grow more than normal. This may also be evident in the form of a lump on the thyroid gland, which presses on to the throat as well as the esophagus.

Remedies for Throat Obstruction

For more serious causes of throat obstruction like tumors, abnormal growths or enlarged glands, it becomes important to undergo traditional treatment, which includes medication or perhaps even surgery. However, if it is determined that an obstruction in the throat is harmless and does not need to be medically removed, your doctor may advise you to use simple home remedies to alleviate all the discomfort. Given below are some of the common home remedies for throat obstruction mainly caused by hard objects stuck in the throat or excess mucus:

  • Drink a lot of warm fluids, especially hot water, during the day. However, avoid hot coffee, tea or any beverage that contains alcohol. Green tea and soup can help dilute the mucus and relieve the symptoms of a throat obstruction.
  • Prepare a decoction from root of clematis herb, brown sugar as well as vinegar. Consume this slowly, preferably while it is warm.
  • Crack a raw egg into a cup and drink the entire thing in one gulp. This helps dislodge the obstruction, which then gets flushed out by the body
  • Swallow a large ball of rice that is sticky in consistency. The amount of rice should be large enough to dislodge any obstruction, even though it may be a bit difficult to do so.
  • Chew and swallow a large piece of bread (preferably an entire slice, without the sides) to which a coat of peanut butter has been applied.
  • Bite off a large piece of banana and just hold it in your mouth for a minute or two, without chewing it. This will moisten the piece of banana, which you then need to swallow as a whole.

Children are known to suffer from throat obstructions too, as they are more susceptible to the accidental swallowing of a foreign object. Many children manage to get rid of the obstructions just by coughing. However, any form of throat obstruction in children should not be treated lightly and needs to be checked by a doctor without any delay.

Diet for Throat Obstruction

When you suffer from a throat obstruction everything you eat and swallow will affect it in one way or the other. Therefore, while there is no specific diet for throat obstruction, you need to pick and choose your foods carefully.

For starters, it is best to consume a higher amount of liquid in your diet. Warm water with a dash of honey, hot soup or broth and green tea may help in alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by the obstruction and may also help cure the problem at the same time. However, you strictly need to avoid coffee, aerated drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Since swallowing can be a huge challenge, it is best to avoid any foods that are hard and crunchy. Instead, you should opt for foods that are soft and do not require to be chewed excessively. Given below are some of the foods you should include in your diet when treating a throat obstruction:

  • Warm milk
  • Oatmeal or porridge
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sticky rice
  • Soft fruits like papaya, mangoes or bananas (preferably mashed)
  • Your dietary habits also play an important role in the treatment of throat obstruction. Make sure that you chew your food carefully and slowly before you swallow it. Moreover, you should strictly avoid eating while you are lying down or are in a reclining position.

    Suggestion for Throat Obstruction

    Many patients need to use a combination of treatments in order to get rid of a throat obstruction. The prevention of this problem is a lot easier than any kind of treatment. Therefore, it is best to ensure that you follow appropriate eating habits at all times. In case you do suffer from an infection or thyroid problems, you could consult a doctor for ways to prevent a throat obstruction.

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