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Why am I getting prickling sensation in throat?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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I have had a prickling sensation in my throat for some time. Sometimes on one side sometimes the other. It lasts a short time then goes and often triggers a cough response. I am 63, a non-smoker and drink moderately.
Posted Sat, 15 Dec 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later

Thanks for the query

The pricking sensation in the throat is due to inflammation of the mucosa of the throat. The causes of inflammation are many. To mention a few; allergy, sinus related problems, smoking, alcohol, acid reflux, etc.

With the brief description you have given, I do feel the problem could be more of acidity related.

GERD or acid reflux, is a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach backs up or refluxes into the esophagus. The liquid that enters the esophagus (regurgitation) can damage the lining of the esophagus although visible signs of inflammation occur in a minority of patients. The regurgitated liquid usually contains acid that is produced by the stomach.

The reflux usually happens more in the night while lying down in supine position. Acid when it regurgitates from the stomach into the esophagus and sometimes into the throat, the mucosa of the esophagus and the throat gets burnt leading to mucosal inflammation. Inflammation of the mucosa in turn induces irritation and swelling, giving rise to foreign body sensation, dry cough, repeated swallowing, excessive collection of phlegm (to soothe the inflamed area), etc.

This is more common in the elderly, smokers and people subjected to stress.

My suggestions to you are:
1. To drink plenty of warm water
2. Avoid coffee/alcohol/stress/chilled beverages/retiring to bed immediately after taking food.
3. Try taking medicines such as proton pump inhibitor (Esomeprazole,
Pantoperazole) and prokinetic (Domperidone).
4. Try to lie down on semi-prone position and preferably on the left side.
5. There should be gap of at least 1 hour after taking your supper and retiring to bed. This is the transit time required for the gastric emptying.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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