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Hiatal hernia & throat constriction

  I am 33 yr old female with a history of GERD and peptic ulcers since I was 19.  For the past 1.5 yrs, I have felt a constiction in my throat.  I have gone through allergy testing. I have had blood work done at least once every three months.  I have been taking Prilosec for over a year.  For the past 3 mos, I have been taking the Prilosec twice a day.  A few months ago, I had a video swallow, which was negative.  Last week, I had an EGD and throat dilation.  I was dianosed with a hiatal hernia and GERD, but no narrowing of the throat was observed.  Immediately following the EGD/dilation, my throat felt 100% better.  But, the following day, the consticted feeling returned to my throat (I'm assuming the relief I felt was probably due to a topical anesthetic used during the dilation).  The assistant of the Dr. asked the Dr. right before the EGD if perhaps the constriction was due to stress, which had happened to him as a child.  I'm now beginning to wonder if he might be on to something.  I do get a small measure of relief from the Prilosec.  However, in retrospect, I think the most relief came when an ENT (who did a sinus/throat endoscopy to rule out a polyp) prescribed Zanax, thinking perhaps with the stress in my life at the time and continuing I might be feeling "closed in".  Any chance that stress might indeed be the cause?  Whenever I try to introduce this with my gastro, he doesn't seem to consider this possibility.  I really would like some relief from this feeling!  Help me!
Dear HSW,
I believe that the feeling of throat constriction can sometimes be associated with an anxiety or panic disorder. Patients with anxiety or panic disorder can have symptoms that can be confused with medical illness. For example, patients with chest pain occurring during a panic attack often present to the emergency room thinking that they've just had a heart attack. I would assume that if your symptom responds to an anti-anxiety agent such as alprazolam (Xanax), stress may have something to do with your symptom of throat constriction. In addition to medication, counseling or stress reduction techniques may also be helpful for you. Good luck to you.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you would like to be seen at our institution, please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
*Keywords: throat constriction, stress, anxiety disorder

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