Defining Globus

Globus (Latin for globe or ball) is the sensation of a lump or ball in the throat, typically felt in the throat at the level of the Adam’s apple. It is commonly experienced with an intense emotional experience. The "globus response" is a common human experience. Globus seems equally prevalent in men and women.

It seems likely that most people experience globus at sometime in our lives. However, no cause has been demonstrated and there are no serious consequences. Despite anecdotal reports and observations, there appears to be no association with other gastrointestinal disorders such as heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome. Reported associations with headache or other conditions likely result from referral bias – that is, observations of patients sent to specialists.

Globus, like tears, may express an emotion. Its apparent relationship to emotion means some people will be unnecessarily troubled by the symptom. Those with anxiety, depression, panic or other emotional distress may benefit from treatment or advice concerning these other conditions.
Causes of Globus

As with all the functional gastrointestinal disorders, the cause of the globus sensation is unknown. Hypersensitivity of the upper esophagus is suspected. One observer suggested that nervousness leads to a dry mouth, repeated swallowing, and enhanced awareness of the throat.

Several attempts to demonstrate alteration in the contraction of the muscles of the upper esophageal sphincter have garnered inconsistent results, and no related anatomical abnormalities have been observed in the throat and larynx. Nevertheless, a troubled patient may be greatly reassured by an ear, nose, and throat specialist examination.

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