Swallowing Problems and Globus Pharyngeus
Difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing can lead to choking, bringing food back (regurgitation) and weight loss. If problems with swallowing last more than a couple of weeks then it is important to get a full assessment in the clinic. There are some rare but serious causes for swallowing problems and tests for these may be suggested at the assessment in clinic. A flexible camera through the nose (nasendoscopy) may be used to further assess the swallowing mechanism. This is a quick, painless procedure and an important part of the assessment.
Stomach acid can produce small burns in the throat and this occurs most commonly during the night whilst the person is asleep. This is called ‘silent reflux’ as a patient is often unaware of the cause of the problem apart from having a constant feeling of something stuck in the throat. This sensation is sometimes called ‘globus pharyngeus’. People can have this sensation even though there is no evidence for acid reflux.
Occasionally the structures of the throat require examination under general anaesthetic whilst someone is asleep. A pharyngoscopy may be recommended to asses the upper oesophagus (swallowing pipe). The type of examination will depend upon the symptoms someone has and the details of the procedure will be discussed at the clinic consultation together with any risks involved.