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Food stuck in pharynx, excessive mucus, sore throat. What can I do?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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hi, last week i got food stuck in my pharynx, in the cavity where it meets my throat, and i didn't do anything about it thinking it would fall out in my sleep or some other way. However, 3 days later i started suffering from an excess of mucus in my pharynx and a soar throat, and i can't help but think its due to the food particles that got stuck there in the first place. What can i do about this?
Posted Fri, 5 Oct 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 8 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. You seem to have an acute pharyngitis (throat infection) which makes the throat hurt while swallowing, including the feeling of food particles getting stuck in the throat and excessive phlegm. Do you had fever or cough? Is there any chance of a foreign body like a fish bone? Mostly it is an injury caused in an inflamed throat.

2. You need to get an ENT Specialist to examine your throat. A Videolaryngoscopy is a simple procedure to look all the way down into the throat. Especially if this is happening again and again. If the Videolaryngoscopy is clear then it means that the foreign body sensation (of food stuck in the throat) is due to the sore throat and sometimes lymphoid hypertrophy. This feeling will subside in a few hours or a couple of days. A throat swab or any discharge may be sampled for culture and antibiotic sensitivity. Routine blood tests may be advised by you doctor.

3. You may require a course of antibiotics, pain killers, anti-allergics, medicated gargles and steam inhalation. This should be done under medical supervision. Your diet should be absolutely bland, with no cold, spicy or sour foods. Try a medicated gargle immediately to soothe the throat.

4. You may share your throat culture and blood investigation reports here for more specific treatment options.

I must emphasize that there is no cause for worry. Food rarely gets stuck in the throat. Get your throat examination and correct medication prescribed by a local doctor for prompt relief. Inform your guardians or parents as the case may be.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Food stuck in pharynx, excessive mucus, sore throat. What can I do? 5 hours later
thank you for taking the time to reply. i know for a fact that there is/was a piece of hamburger meat stuck in my pharynx 2 days before the infection started. Also, if it is of any relevance, i still have my tonsils and i wonder if they may be the cause for food getting stuck in my pharynx? the reason i think this, is because you stated that food getting stuck in someones pharynx rarely happens, but it happened to me on at least 2 prior occasions, however those incidents didn't lead to infection. I was also wondering if gargling salt water would help stop the infection? thank you.
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

1. Generally speaking, if there was a piece of a bone in the meat, it would show up on an x-ray. Only boneless meat is hard to detect on an x-ray.

2. The palatine tonsils have fissures and crypts on their surface. The tonsils rub against the food bolus as we swallow and tend to pick up food debris in the tonsillar crypts. This entrapped material is used to generate immunity in childhood. The largest crypt is near the upper pole of the tonsil and known as the Crypta Magna. Food usually gets stuck in this leading to formation of tonsilloliths. As you have rightly concluded, this may happen often if you have a wide Crypta Magna.

3. Interestingly, many foreign bodies such as fish bones and other foreign bodies tend to get stuck in the soft tonsil tissue.

4. Gargling with lukewarm salt water will help. However it is better to use a medicated gargle such as Betadine or Hexidine.

5. Get your throat examined if this happens often.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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