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Globus: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About globus

Globus also known by the name of ‘Globus hystericus’ or ‘Globus pharyngis’ - is a functional disorder characterized by complaints of experiencing a lump in the throat. It usually has no pathological basis.

Globus: Incidence, age and sex

Globus is an infrequently encountered problem in the general population. It has a distinct gender predilection with a higher frequency in women, as compared to men.

Signs and symptoms of globus: Diagnosis

Individuals affected with globus, complain of a sensation of lump in the throat. Some individuals may also experience difficulty in swallowing. But most of the affected patients experience relief on eating or drinking. It is characteristically a painless condition.

It is advisable to consult a specialist when one encounters such symptoms. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed wherein both gastroenterologists and psychiatrists may be consulted for correct evaluation of the condition. A detailed history and a comprehensive physical examination are needed to exclude any pathological disorder that may mimic such clinical features. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is one of such disorder. Furthermore, a hysterical personality trait or the presence of other psycho-social factors may point towards the diagnosis of globus.

Causes and prevention of globus

The exact cause of globus is not very clear. It is a functional disorder which does not have any underlying structural or pathological problem. It is considered to be mostly psychogenic in origin and mainly seen in young and middle aged women.

Globus: Complications

Since globus does not arise from underlying physical cause, no structural complication is seen. However in some instances, it may be associated with digestive disorders like reflux disease. This may lead to cancer of the oesophagus in future. Moreover recurrent complaints of a lump in the throat may lead to distress and rarely depression in the affected individual.

Globus: Treatment

Globus requires comprehensive evaluation not only for establishing correct diagnosis but also for evaluation of other associated features like oesophageal spasm or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Associated disorders require appropriate treatment. Psychotherapy including behavioural and family therapy is the mainstay of treatment. Some individuals who show anxiety or depression may be prescribed anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressants respectively, for effective management. The prognosis is usually good in cases where no associated disorders are present.