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Avatar universal

swollen epiglottis

Every now and then my epiglottis doenst relax like it should. I know the epiglottis works like a flap, so food and water doesnt get into the airway. It tenses up to cover the trachea and when its not working it relaxes and rest agianst the wall of the throat.
It starts with that feeling that there is something in my thoat and I need to clear it,  but I can't. I feel the need to swallow saliva every 5-10 seconds. It normally happens when I am tired due to lack of sleep and have a really dry mouth. I tonly happens late at night. Usually after midnight. I am a smoker and drink a decent amount of soft drinks, which causes my throat to be a little dryer.  I don't have any symptoms that lead me to believe this is serious such as, actual sore throat, fever, headach, or swelling anywhere else. I know any difficulty swallowing is concidered serious, but it only gets so bad, which doesn't impare my breathing, drinking, or eating. It is more annoying then anything. It is hard for me to go to sleep when it is swollen/tense. I end up staying up until I am so tired that nothing can keep me up.  I always wake up in the morning and it is back to normal. I have tired drinking thinker drinks that kind of coat my throat..like milk and thinker juices. I also take a pretty warm bath to breathe in moisture....which really helped while I was in the bath.
I'm just curious if this happens to other people and if anyone may know of any ways to soothe it?
84 Responses
Avatar universal
I could have written this myself. For the past two weeks, I have what feels like something in the back of my throat.  I know that it's where my epiglottis is located and feel that it's swollen. But why, I can't imagine. It happens only at night, around 7:30. I drink several clear carbonated seltzers during the day and often in the evening. Nothing but time seems to help. I've taken antihistimines.. but fall asleep with the problem, and as you, wake up with my throat feeling fine. It is extremely annoying, and a bit worrying since I have had serious allergy reactions in the past. There is nothing that is related to allergies here, though. I'm at a loss. Have you found anything that helps, or a diagnosis?
Avatar universal
I am having the exact same problem!  It is the most irritating thing, and it feels like I need to swallow every few seconds because there is something in my throat.  I can actually see it in the back of my throat if I tense up my tonsils, and it looks like a little flap is protruding from my throat.  I haven't found anything that stops the swelling, but this has been persisting for the last 2 weeks or so without any other symptoms.  I have also noticed that it is gone in the morning but soon reappears, and it is much worse at night or after I have had wine.  Is this still persisting for you?  I'm wondering how long this will last, and if a doctor would have any useful advice.  Perhaps it is caused from a food allergy??
443898 tn?1229703680
It is possible to have a foriegn body lodged in your eshophagus that will cause you salivate profusely and feel the need to drink to "clear the passage."  Most significant occlusions will not allow you to swallow but you will feel the need to frequently spit because there is no place for the saliva to go.  If you have frequent symptoms of reflux along with the feeling of something left in your throat, I would recommend that you see a GI doctor, who can perform an endoscopy to see if you either have a forgein body or possibly esophageal stenosis (narrowing of the esophagus) which can be treated.
Avatar universal
All the stuff yall sed it happing to me but i haft to swallow like every 2 seconds and i do that like for days .I have reely easy gag reflexes and i thro up alot .
I always having to cary water with me or ill gag
Avatar universal
I have had the same problem it started about a year ago and only happens once in a while, but it usually stay for a couple of days or just a day then goes away on its own after I go to sleep. It drives me crazy especially if I take a pill or something it get caught there...yuck!! I don't really drink pop or carbonated items and I quit smoking a couple of year ago. All though I am a big fan of wine. Any Ideas anyone ??
Avatar universal
this is becoming common.  Why can't anyone tell you all something.  
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing these same symptoms for over the past two months... gag reflux so bad that I can barely keep anything down in my stomach.. I have lost over 17 pounds ( ok not such a bad thing, but not for a good reason), my back of my throat is swollen as well as my voice box, which are swollen quite badly. I cough to the extreme as to try and clear my throat.. to the point where I vomit, and my head feels like it is going to explode. I have had a Upper GI done and it came back no problems.. I think they need to do more tests and I am going to make sure they do................Oh and with this.. I have totally lost my voice, I lost my voice 7 weeks ago and now I cant talk for more then a few minutes without coughing and then gasp for air..... this is not a good experience and I wouldnt wish it on anyone
Avatar universal
I've been having this problem too over the last couple of months.  I thought it might be related to stress.  I sure hope to hear some good results from one of you.  I'm going to contact my doc and see what he has to say.  It really does drive me crazy.
262294 tn?1236180470
My 16 mos. old daughter gags every time she drinks water. She constantly puts her fingers down her throat and gags herself and grinds her teeth. She also seems to have a lack of control to swallow her drool. I thought this was all due to teething, because she is teething. Then, tonight, she began gagging and when I asked her to show me her mouth, I saw this thin (the size of her pinkie finger) protrusion coming up the back of her throat almost touching her uvula. She began coughing (and has continued coughing, but not croup-like or anything) and then threw up. It didn't seem to really bother her, but she keeps gagging herself. HELP! I don't think it's epiglottitis, so why can I see her epiglottis? I'm sure that is what it is.
Avatar universal
Ive been having this same damn thing. Its like theres somthing stuck in my throat and every time I try to clear it it doesnt come out. Ive been told bye doctors who often find nothing wrong that its my anxiety but I have no history of anxiety. It more annoying than anything I just want it to pass already. Everytime I eat its like it doesnt want to go down. When I talk I can only make out sentences cuz then I have to gasp for air. Then sometimes I feel like it interferes with my breathing but doctors say that my oxygen levels are fine every time i go in. They did find abit of swelling though in my throat one time and gave me a steriod shot but that didnt really work. Ya its usually the worst at night and I lose sleep over it so I say well ima go to the doctors in the morning but morning comes and the feeling is gone to an extent and I think im getting better then next thing you know the damn thing is messing with me again. If you guys find out what it could be please share Im deperate.
Avatar universal
I'm actually up right now at 4:45 am with this feeling in my throat like theres something in there or its tight and its driving me crazy I feel like I cant breath right and I feel like there is something really wrong with me. I  can't eat right through the day because I;m scared its going to make my throat feel like this. My mouth and throat also gets very dry and I don't know what is going on but Ive been to the upper GI  Dr. and they have only ran blood test so far. I have lost weight and sleep over this problem and it just started a few weeks ago. I just want to be back to myself again.  Im scared something going to happen to me before the DR. finds anything out, I like want to go to the ER almost every night but I don't. My heart rate has also been really slow like in the low 40'S.
Avatar universal
Thank goodness i found this site and all your comments. Was wondering if i had a life-threatening condition. Started taking Fluoxetine and a week later started having this problem i.e feeling of something stuck in my chest at first and spasms of pain. Stopped taking the fluoxetine after 6 weeks because couldn't stan d the discomfort any more, but it has left me with a feeling of someting stuck in my throat and when it is bad my epiglottis is visible. Going to the ENT Department in July so will fine out more then, but at least having found this forum know it is not uncommon, so thanks for that and wish you all well.
Avatar universal
i think i have the same thing you guys have. Just in the middle of no-where my throat just seems a little bit swollen. Sometimes melted-cheeses or not as well done steak cant go down as well. I think my throat is swollen but im going to the doctor tomorrow to see what the issue is, i hope that i can either get a steriod shot to loosen the swelling and make it a little bit easier to breath and less swelling and swallowing, i wish you all luck with your treatments.
Avatar universal
well i got back from my doctor and my throat seemed to be fine. For all of you with the same symptoms as me I would visit your doctor for your throat and ask if it is allergies. Mine was because my "saliva" would drop back into my throat as i slept and it would become "slimy" and "sticky" everytime i woke up or anytime i chewed gum or random foods. She put me on some nasal spray and it seems to be working fine! Also if you take an allergen medicine daily i would reccomend blowing your nose before you go to bed/when you wake up, it will reduce the flem or "snot" that is in your nose going into your throat. I wish you all luck with your treatments.
Avatar universal
I have the same thing.  Started about 1 year ago around the season changes.  Certain situations exasperate the issue such as a high exposure to allergens.  I went to an ER and and ENT a week ago about this.  I had a throat X-Ray and a nasal scope done.

The ENT said my epiglottis was swollen and had quite a bit of mucus on it.  As well, he gave me a fair diagnosis of Acid Reflux diseases. Steroids, Prilosec and an antibiotic were prescribed.  Did they work?  Not sure but at this point, it still occurs and I need my sleep without feeling that I am going to suffocate at night.  Everyone here needs help with this issue as do I.   Is there anyone that can help instead of having clueless responses and physicians?
Avatar universal
I found an article that may pin this condition as a Flu related condition:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000605.htm
Avatar universal
Has anyone discovered a true cause or a cure yet?  I experience the same thing...In fact, I am bothered by a swollen epiglottis right now.  3:15AM and can't sleep a at all.  To worried.  I am having all the symptoms that everyone has described above.
Avatar universal
I feel for all of you seeing I'm going through the same thing, I would like to know if anyone can see their epiglottis when they cough or clear their throats, and does it look like brownish flem? Just wondering because that's what I see and it's freking me right out, Can someone set this stressed out mind at ease? Thanks and God Bless
Avatar universal
I woke up with this same thing one month ago.  I felt like something was in the back of my throat and pressure on my throat.  Plus I had alot of sinus drainage at the same time.  I waited two weeks and went to an ent who put the scope through my nose and saw my epiglottis was swollen.  Since I have a hiatel hernia and was diagnosed with acid reflux last year, he also felt my acid medicine wasn't strong enough and that is what was causing the epiglottis to be swollen.  He gave me another acid medicine to use and a nasal spray (omnaris) to try for my allergies.  I have been faithfully using this medication for almost two weeks now and I went from monday until saturday without any symptoms of the choking feeling.  I had it yesterday for a brief moment, and it went away.  I never had this before and it really scared me, but so far I am having alot of good days now. I encourage all of you to go see an ent and have them scope your throat for an accurate diagnosis.  Don't suffer with this if you don't have to.
Avatar universal
I too have been having this same problem for the last few months. I have an ent appointment in july and I hope he finds something. I have hardly slept for ages now. Last night I was up all night. I suffer anxiety disorder too so it has only made that worse for me. I will post when I get something back from the ent next month. The first few post are me to a tee.
Avatar universal
i am in the same situation as most of you here and sorry to say, have not found a treatment. mine started after i tried unfiltered cigarettes for a week or two, and started having a very sore throat. whenever i then smoked a regular cigarette, what followed was a very sharp pain, which got worse and worse after each cig. it never healed and after a year when it got to a point where i couldnt handle it i finally went to the Doc. he couldnt find anything wrong, and put me on antibiotics and the post-nasal drip spray some of you talked about. however, none really fixed the problem. i think the antibiotics helped because the pain is significantly reduced however i am started to cough like crazy whereas i use to just have pain and the feeling of something stuck in my throat. also my whole deep voice is gone. i cant speak with a low voice anymore. its sick.

i was advised to go to the ENT, but i am a student and I cant even afford a second doctor visit with him.

I really think this is related to smoking; the pain and stuck-feeling gets substantially worse whenever I smoked, and now, when Im near someone smoking,
Avatar universal
I have been searching the web for hours now and this is the first and only site I have come acrossed that has given me hope that I'm not crazy.  For the last week I have had this feeling in my throat like something is stuck and it won't come out.  I don't have any pain, fever, or any other symtoms.  Then last night I looked and saw what looked like a small potatoe chip, but when I touched it and realize it was part of my throat it freaked me out. I have had numerous cases of Strep and Tonsillitis (sorry spelling is horrible) and have looked at my throat MANY times before and have NEVER seen this.  After looking at all the medical info. I now know its my Epiglottis and I can't find anyone to tell me if thats normal or not (to be able to see your Epiglottis).  I too suffer from allergies but I don't smoke or drink so maybe that is the link, ALLERGIES.  I sure do hope so...  If anyone can shead new light on this subject I would greatly appreciate it.  
Avatar universal
I am having the EXACT same problem rite now. I just started working 3rd shift now, and I haven't been getting that much sleep in the daytime, so I just wokeup from a nap, n my mouth just felt so dry, like my tongue got stuck to the roof of my mouth, n all of a sudden my epiglottis,  just started to hang low enough to touch my tongue, how long does anyone think this would last? I keep having to swaloow every few seconds, because it always feels like its in the way. Help!s
1425126 tn?1282758534
I think I may have an answer for everyone here. This is the 3rd internet thread I have found with people suffering from these same exact symptoms that are being discussed here, identical to what I have experienced for about 10yrs myself. First of all it's extremely comforting knowing that you are not alone with ANY condition, much less, one so obscure and difficult to get diagnosed. I have had these same symptoms for some time: located slightly behind and above Adam's apple area(just below base of tongue,Larynx); feeling of food being stuck, discomfort to mild pain in throat, difficulty swallowing and feeling as if when I do its going down my trachea and not esophagus, somewhat claustrophobic swollen feeling in throat quite severe at times, and even leading me to what I assume are mild panic attacks/very sore throat when rather severe. Then a  somewhat normal feeling in the morning. I'm 34, have no allergies, am on no medication, and a relatively healthy non-smoker. I notice that this generally occurs more frequently during colds in which I have sinus congestion, or when I aggravate my throat in some way; smoking, drinking thick liquids, acid reflux, or swallowing incorrectly and having water go down windpipe(trachea) causing me to cough. What I believe is much like what some have said here, that it is the epiglottis that is swollen or enlarged to the point where its proper functionality is compromised. I believe this is due to irritation of the glands in the larynx region of the throat, usually due to sinus drainage(and usually at night i believe because of posture...lying down,reclining). Here is where I think I have hit something different...I wonder how many of you are like me and have a natural sucking reflex on throat, where I try and clear the drainage from my throat and nose when simply coughing doesn't seem to work. I'm betting many of you, and sorry for the gross-out factor! Its not something I think about, and its something I've done as long as I can remember. I have always had severe sinus congestion with colds, and find myself really causing a sore throat from this action, when dealing with the more extreme bouts. My curiosity hit a peak about 6 years ago when I noticed after one such cold that my uvula(hangy-thing in back of throat) had become elongated and was reaching all the way down to my tongue. Short story, doc said at 1st it was uvulitis and would go away with time and meds...it did not. I have recently been back to the ENT and was told the elongated uvula could be a result of the sucking, and can be corrected through a 45 min., minor surgical, procedure. I believe this same thing is happening with my epiglottis when its swollen...I can actually feel a tug, like my throat is trying to swallow it, when it really gets bad.  I have another appointment for a FEESST test with the ENT next week to further diagnose this issue. I am fairly sure I'm correct with what is taking place, at least in my case. I mean, if the sucking on my throat had done that to my uvula, why not believe it happened to a similar structure in my throat in relative proximity? I will report back with anything i find out, as soon as i get home from ENT. Although I have no difinitive answer now, maybe this will give you some ammo to use should somebody read this before going to a doctor themselves. Hope this eases some peoples minds, or at least gives them a little confidence in their situation. Humanity is too big to feel like you're alone!
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