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Feeling throat congestion after recovering from flu. Have intermittent diarrhea and chest tightness. Reason?

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Hello, I have had a "lump in lower throat" feeling for the last few weeks. There is no pain but it is really annoying. It started when I had the flu about a month ago. I took Zpak and prednisone a month ago which helped me get over the flu-like symptoms (scratchy throat, fever, aching muscles, coughing up phlegm), but the lump in throat feeling persists. I was also having intermittent diarhea and occasional stomach aches but have been avoiding dairy for the last few days and the stomach seems better. Any ideas what this could be?
Oh, by the way, I also have occasional slight tightness in the chest along with the lump in throat, but feels different than heartburn or indigestion. Also, it seems to go away at night when I sleep and feels ok in the morning when I get up, then comes back during the day, especially after I eat breakfast.
If it matters, I am a 50-year old male in otherwise good health and exercise and surf frequently.
Thank you, XXXXXXX
Posted Mon, 8 Apr 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 30 minutes later
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. The most common reasons for a 'lump in the throat' feeling are:
a. Acid reflux which may be LPR (LaryngoPharyngeal Reflux) where the symptoms of heartburn or indigestion are missing.
b. A Post Nasal Drip (PND) of mucus after a flu -like illness. Get an X-ray PNS (Para Nasal Sinuses) done. Mucolytics and decongestants and steam inhalation are recommended. The phlegm and mucus accumulated overnight probably loosens up while eating breakfast.
c. Lymphoid hypertrophy in the throat. This will require a Videolaryngoscopy to rule out.
d. Allergy to something that you are eating.
e. Antibiotics and steroids upsetting the normal gut flora. Probiotics and multi-vitamins will help.

2. Once you have done the above investigations, you may narrow down the cause.

3. You may request your doctor to start with anti-reflux medication, probiotics and multi-vitamins, a mucolytic decongestant, regular steam inhalation and a medicated oral rinse to soothe the throat. Anti-allergic medication may dryness and further worsen the symptoms (hence may be used for a short duration).

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Feeling throat congestion after recovering from flu. Have intermittent diarrhea and chest tightness. Reason? 1 hour later
Thanks for your reply. I forgot to mention that the lump in throat feeling temporarily goes away while I am eating food and temporarily feels much better when I am talking and using my voice, and I don't have a hoarse voice. The feeling seems to be worst when I am just sitting at my desk. Does this extra information help to narrow down the list of possibilities that you sent me?
One more question: If PND after the flu-like illness is the cause, will it go away on its own? Are the mucolytics and decongestants only for relieving the symptoms or for also healing the problem?
Thanks, XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 10 minutes later
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. While eating and speaking, the increased salivation helps relieve the dryness and irritation in the throat, reducing the discomfort and spasm (tightness).

2. While sitting at a desk, the attention is drawn more easily to the discomfort in the throat. This is very common. Any activity draws attention away from the discomfort in the throat.

3. The medication suggested is not only for relieving the symptoms, but to heal the source of the problem.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Feeling throat congestion after recovering from flu. Have intermittent diarrhea and chest tightness. Reason? 6 minutes later
Thanks for the additional info...are the mucolytics/decongestants something that I can get over the counter or do I need to see my doctor to get a prescription?

Thanks again, XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 7 hours later
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. Most OTC Cold medications will contain decongestants and mucolytics. However it is recommended that you take this medication only under the strict supervision of your doctor.

2. Do not use OTC decongestant nasal drops or sprays for more than two weeks continuously.

3. Regular steam inhalation is an excellent decongestant and mucolytic.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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