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Choking Feeling
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Choking Feeling

Can a swollen thyroid make you feel like there's something filling up your throat?  I'll explain----
I've had a feeling for a long time that comes and goes, but feels like there is something in my throat that makes me feel like I'm going to choke.  I had excess tissue on my vocal cords and I thought that's what was causing this feeling, but after 2 surgeries on my vocal cords to removes the excess tissue, I still have this feeling.  

At one time when I went to the dr, he could feel that my thyroid was swollen, but next time, he said it wasn't.  Can it swell, then go down?  And if it's swollen, does it feel like there's something pressing against your adam's apple?  I thought maybe when I started with synthroid it might go away, but sometimes it's really bad - other times it's gone and my throat feels normal.  

I don't know what this is, but it's really uncomfortable at times.  Any insight?  

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9 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
My thyroid hurts and causes all kinds of pain.  Have your blood checked for TSH.  An elvated TSH shows a thyroid underfunction, which causes the thyroid to swell.  Also get an ultrasound of your thyroid.  this test is not that expensive and has no side effects.  It shows a lot, like nodules on your thyroid.
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519035_tn?1348279373
Sounds like you need to get your labs updated again. I would advise tpo testing and an ultasound just as markus said. Sounds like if your on meds, you might just need an increase tho. I would be checked for additional autoimmune diseases, like hashi's.
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Avatar_f_tn
Did you have a test to see if your thyroid is internally enlarged as well as externally enlarged. I have felt like I was choking since I was 13. Back then (40 years ago) no one even considered my thyroid but later they told me that it was probably enlarged back then. I just had CT and mine is compressing my trachea but dr said that it was growing down into my chest over my sternum and toward my clavicles so no surgery options. Ask for CT or thyroid scan to determine if yours is the cause of choking feeling.
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393685_tn?1325870933
Before regulation on my thyroid meds I complained here on the board contstantly about this issue.

Poor AR-10 had to hear me dozens of times telling him " I felt like Homer Simpson had his hands around my neck like he does to his son Bart!!"

That's how I describe this feeling to everyone when I had it.

I agree with the scan and TPOab testing - that may indicate an issue for you.

After medication altering and some Vit's and Mineral add ons - I hardly get it at all anymore.

When I do get it it is so minimal- hardly notice it and usually I found that when I stress out about something - or I am coming down with a cold or something like that - I get the pressure feeling back.

It subsides quickly for me now.
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393685_tn?1325870933
My TSH was always within the normal ranges when my swelling occured - I didn't see in a personal experience the TSH being the factor to use to compare on the swelling of my thyroid.

I know - Laura and Mommy here on the forum  too have the same thing - but no elevated TSH.

On the other hand - until I found the proper dosage of thyroid medication and raising my Free T3 level to the higher end of the scale is what really stopped that from occuring. Getting the right dosage of meds did two things. That was

1- Keeping my symptoms at bay and.....
2- Assiting in putting the Hashi antibodies in less of an attack mode on my thyroid -

that is when I felt the most relieved of the choking sensation.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Thanks everyone for your input.  I thought this feeling might be from thyroid, but since it comes and goes, I wasn't sure.  

I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism in Jun '08 and put on med so am very new at this - started out on 100 mcg and when my TSH came back at 0,03, they decreased my med to 88 mcg. I guess Stella's "Homer Simpson analogy" would just about cover this feeling I get - only it's not painful, just real uncomfortable and makes me fee like I'm gong to gag, which is what I do if there's anything pressing on my neck.  I had labs done a week ago and am scheduled to see my dr this coming week on Wed, so we will see what dr says.  

Is there anything else I'd need besides a TPOab and a scan?  What kinds of vitamins and minerals should I be taking?  I also have pernicious anemia so have to inject every 2 weeks with B-12.  I've also been keeping an eye on blood sugars, which are bouncing all over the place, so starting on a diet to try to get that under control and to lose some weight.  

I was beginning to think I was becoming a hypochondriac or something.  I mentioned it to dr once, but as had happened before, it was blown off as insignificant.  I was just wondering if there were more tests that I needed to ask for and are most drs willing to give whatever tests are requested?  All in all, though, I think I have a pretty good dr, so I will see how receptive he will be to ordering additional tests at my request.  
Thanks everyone
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393685_tn?1325870933
Does the tightness accompany any heat - Do you feel like it is a mild sunburn?

I would do all the thyroid panels

TSH
FREE T3
FREE T4
TPOab
TSI

Maybe if they are willing to do a TRH test too


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Avatar_f_tn
For me, an ultrasound was the only thing that gave the correct picture of what was going on with my thyroid.  I ended up going through several tests and eventually had to have it removed.  At no time was my TSH out of range.  I'm not saying you'll need that surgery but want to make the point that sometimes the TSH is not indicative of what's going on.

Since you did have surgeries in that area, I'd think that would be a consideration that it could be something other than thyroid.  On the other hand, (unlike my case) already knowing you have hypothyroidism might hint there’s something else to be investigated.

Are you going to a specialist for all of this, like an ENT?

“…are most drs willing to give whatever tests are requested?”  ~ I was recently reading something from drs who were saying medicine has changed so much in this way.  A lot of patients request the tests they think they need.  One dr (sarcastically) said his office even wants to provide a menu for folks in the waiting room.  They were all saying it has good and bad aspects.  Sometimes patients are correct, sometimes they’re way off.  Where it can get harmful is when a patient wants to go in one direction that could completely miss something in the other direction.

I think in your situation, and especially having had other surgeries in that area, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to bring up that you are aware of others who’ve shared your continued symptoms and got an u/s.

It kind of sounds like you want your mind put at ease and so I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to let the dr know that’s also why your brining up these tests.

Good luck.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Thanks for all the comments.  I had labs done a week ago for TSH, Free T4 and Free T3, so am waiting for my dr appt on Wed to find out what the results are.  I'm going to ask again about the feeling in my throat - feels like a lump, only I can't feel anything from the outside - it's just inside like something pressing against my windpipe.

I plan to ask for additional tests as well as an ultra sound to see if there is a problem.  The surgeries I had before were on my vocal cords, so not really in same area.  Those surgeries were done by an ear, nose & throat specialist and after everything was healed and I was again able to talk, he took one last look to make sure all was well with that.  I had this choking feeling before those surgeries, but ENT said they had nothing to do with vocal cords.  I guess that means that quite possibly, I had the thyroid problem long before it was diagnosed??  

We will see how things work out on Wed.  Will let you know.  
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