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Old 03-05-2003, 05:48 PM   #1
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Unhappy lump in throat when swallow, constant need to swallow, i am a singer

Hello all

Please help me.

I constantly feel like I have something in my thraot and a need to swallow over an over again, but like something wont go down. I am not coughing up phlegm as much as a couple of weeks ago, but it still occurs, and its thick when it does. Colorless.

I discovered my singing voice late..sophomore year of college......after I already was bullemic.

I stopped for a summer, this past summer. I told one good friend.

Then I got back to college (its my senior yr) and i started to do it again. Not as often.

But this past winter, I was sick, and eating alot, and going out to bars, breathing in alot of smoke,etc.
One night, I puked and i felt as if I ripped something...not major though...and I was coughing up thick phlegm. In one "phlegm ball" was a spec (seriously, just a spec) of blood. Ive been paranoid ever since.

A week later I went to a psychologist and admitted my condition. She is referring me to a bullemia specialist.

I chickened out on telling two doctors to check my throat. One gave me a perscription for GUAIFENESIN, she said alot of singers take it to loosen congestion. She said I probably was still getting over being sick. I couldn't bring myself to admit the fact I am Bullemic to a doctor.

Yesterday I was feeling depressed and puked a bit. I stopped myself. It was very difficult. Now I regret it. A few days prior I pucked up bile becasue I drank too much vodka/beer the night before. I do not do the latter often.

I just practiced singing right now, I havent for a couple weeks, and the "something stuck in throat" feeling is amplified. It feels dry in one spot, and i feel a need to swallow, instead of clear my throat (cuz I know its bad for your vocal chords to do so). Is this because Im bullemic, or because I am still sick?

I am talented and it is a gift from god...but I fear I have ruined myself...I, pretty much, hate myself.

******Any suggesitons on what I might have? Where I might go? Who might know? Anything you can say is a huge help because I have found no information online directly relating to this. ANY experiences you can relate relating to the condition of my throat in particular relative to singing and bullemia is GREATLY appreciated.****

Please help inform me so I am am better able to judge the validity of any future diagnosis.

THANK YOU!!!!

side note: I guarentee, once I am over this eating disorder, I am going to help others who have my problem. It is terrible to not understand something as basic as how to feed myself properly. It is something taken for granted, that needs to be made clearer to maturing individuals in this superficially based society.
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Old 03-06-2003, 11:35 AM   #2
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I'm glad you're seeking counselling about the bulemia-- a lot of people seem to think that they can handle it without tellnig anyone. Some probably can, but other people knowing has this tendency to put pressure on the patient to succeed... relapses are rarer.

As for the thing in your throat, it wouldn't be a bad idea to go see an ENT doctor and just have it checked out. Maybe get a referral from your family doctor. ENT stands for ears, nose and throat. He's the guru of most things from the eyebrows down and the shoulders up.

He'll be able to stick a slender little video camera down into the back of your throat while you're awake and alive and breathing (they'll spray some anaesthetic in so you won't gag and puke all over the place) and this way they can get a direct look at anything that is actually visibly wrong down there. The camera itself is flexible as rope and about as big around as a drinking straw. Expect to have something put in your mouth so you can't bite down on it -- it costs thousands of dollars, to replace or repair, and they won't want you wrecking it.

Since what you're describing is something you can feel it out of place, I'm betting it is probably just something torn, or an abrasion, possibly from your stomach contents, who knows, and since you're not puking up blood or expectorating anything REALLY nasty, it probably isn't anything hideously serious, but it doesn't hurt to check.

An ENT doctor would probably be able to handle it right there if it's non-serious enough.

But you DO need to go see a doctor -- it doesn't have to be something serious but most likely you can't take care of itself, and you shouldn't leave it alone, telling yourself 'it'll go away', because if it doesn't, you might be pooched. Not trying to scare you, but what words of assurance you need you're not going to get from me -- you're going to get it from a doctor who knows what the heck he's talking about.

(And if you feel it when you swallow and not when you talk, and if it doesn't make you cough, I'm reasonably certain it isn't a problem with your voice, but you should still see a doc to be sure.)

[This message has been edited by wrin (edited 03-06-2003).]

 
Old 03-06-2003, 08:33 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for your advice and reassurance.

I will make an appointment for as soon as possible since I've already put it off for too long.

And Ill let you know the turn-out.


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Old 03-19-2003, 10:20 AM   #4
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so I went to the ENT Doctor yesterday...
And I am pretty mad at myself bc I was nervous and didnt know the right questions to ask - the condition of my throat in relation to singing - and he was busy, you could tell he over-stacked his appointments...

I told the Nurse Practitioner about my ED and she sprayed stuff in my nose to make it numb. Then the doctor came in and said the NP told him about my problem...he was talking all sweet to me (overly-sweet, like fake) and he looked down the back of my throat and said I had like a scab on the back of my throat. He said that this is common in the population. What is this?

Then he inserted a very thin telescope, about the half the size of a straw, down my nose, past my septum, and I make a couple sounds like "eee" and "aa". He asked me if I had heartburn and I said no. He said that the back of my vocal chords are worn from stomach acid and that he can perscribe something for that so I was like sure fine whatever, cuz he was doing everything so fast, I was so overwhelmed and couldn't think straight. It all happened so fast I can barely remember anything. I wish I had brought my father in there with me cuz he knows the right questions to ask and hes concerned for me. I am figurativly kicking myself in the behind.

So he lef tthe room and the NP came back with a perscription for Nexium. I asked her if I shoudl stay away from acidy liquids, like coffee and soada and she said yea but thats kinda impossible, and that the perscription would make me feel better in a couple days. but why did he perscribe me a heartburn medicine if I dont have heartburn and I havent been purging so no acid is there? Does it make it heal?

I feel like I was concerend about my throats condition in relation to singing and I didnt get that answer....

And I am sooo upset because now every time I sing, I am going to think about my ED...even though I havn't purged in two weeks...

what do i do? Do I not sing for a while? wait for the medicine to kick in? Do I get a second opinon? Who would no better? I am soo confused...

I am an emotional wreck and I hate myself, even though I know its not the worst that could be...I cried all morning and decided to come and post to see if you could all help me....
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:50 AM   #5
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Lots of people have untreated reflux that they don't know they have. Many peoples' symptoms happen when they'rel ying down at night -- and it takes a fair amount of acid to cause physical pain.

A scab or an ulceration is probably not going to cause any problems in the future and will heal on its own -- the 'heartburn medication' he gave you is an acid-reducer. It means the stuff you reflux when you have acid regurg will not be acidic or will be less acidic and there will also be less stuff, this means that if any of it makes its way to your vocal chords, it will probably cause less damage.

Singing probably won't hurt anything. Keep your vocal chords working, actually, now that I think about it -- they're muscles, and letting them get out of training isn't such a great idea. You not having purged in two weeks doesn't necessarily mean that the ulceration isn't from that -- it can take awhile for things to heal in the constantly-moving-environment of your larynx. Also, your stomach could be producing too much acid now because you've been purging. You need that acid to regulate your body's pH. (Sounds hooey, I know, but it's true.) If you are constantly throwing it up your body will start producing more of it more often thereby trying to ensure taht some of it makes its way down into your bowel. This could also be the cause of your acid reflux.

The reflux meds you might not have to be on for the rest of your life but taking them now certainly can't hurt.

In the rest, I wish you good luck. The diagnosis you got actually was not all that serious -- as in, once your throat is not being beaten to shreds by stomach acid, the vocal chord ulceration will heal. There's no reason to get horribly down on yourself for it, but I hope you will investigate seeing a therapist for youR ED, and try to get a therapist who specializes in that. There's no reason for you to hate yourself over this.

 
Old 03-21-2003, 11:19 AM   #6
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WRIN, thank you so much for your awesome advice. I did go back to the doctor after posting and most of what he said rhymes with yours. It was probably the presence of my father that helped the situation, but this time the doctor took the time out of his appointments to talk to us and make sure everything was clear. (should I send a thank you note to the doctor, or is that inappropriate?)

I just have a couple more questions I would appreciate if you could clarify and some responses too.

<<<Lots of people have untreated reflux that they don't know they have. Many peoples' symptoms happen when they're lying down at night -- and it takes a fair amount of acid to cause physical pain. A scab or an ulceration is probably not going to cause any problems in the future and will heal on its own -- the 'heartburn medication' he gave you is an acid-reducer. It means the stuff you reflux when you have acid regurg will not be acidic or will be less acidic and there will also be less stuff, this means that if any of it makes its way to your vocal chords, it will probably cause less damage. >>

**I see. So then should I avoid acid drinks? Like, not have coffee drinks (I love frozen coffee drinks)? The ENT said to avoid spicy food, which is hard, cuz I love it, but I will do it for my voice. But what about things like Olive oil and garlic? Is there any foods/drinks I can have that would help the healing process? Should I try to sleep at an angle? Is being full after a meal also a cause of reflux? The vocal chords are above the esophagus, right? Is there someplace you know of, online if possible, that has a good picture and explanation of the anatomy of the throat and larynx? I donít understand this and I feel the need to. Also, sometimes, after I drink a frozen coffee drink for example, I cough up this phlegm-like mucus. What is that from?


<<Singing probably won't hurt anything. Keep your vocal chords working, actually, now that I think about it -- they're muscles, and letting them get out of training isn't such a great idea.>>

**Good point, I didnít think about that. The ENT told me that I can keep singing, but take care to keep within my range, so the vocal chords donít smack together when going to high. Also, to keep my chords lubricated by drinking a lot of water. I drink roughly 5 liters of water a day though, so I donít think that will be a problem.

<<Also, your stomach could be producing too much acid now because you've been purging. You need that acid to regulate your body's pH. (Sounds hooey, I know, but it's true.) If you are constantly throwing it up your body will start producing more of it more often thereby trying to ensure that some of it makes its way down into your bowel. This could also be the cause of your acid reflux. >>

**I see; its logical. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

<<< The diagnosis you got actually was not all that serious -- as in, once your throat is not being beaten to shreds by stomach acid, the vocal chord ulceration will heal. There's no reason to get horribly down on yourself for it, but I hope you will investigate seeing a therapist for your ED, and try to get a therapist who specializes in that. There's no reason for you to hate yourself over this.>>

**The reason I hated myself was because I started the ED before I knew I had talent, and it is major regret that because of a grave mistake and bad decision making, I ruined what god gave me. Even though Iím still angry at myself, I no longer hate myself because, as you said, it could be worse. I was scared to have an experience like ďlalaland2Ē, one of the posts at this same thread in the ED healthboard section (http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/Forum47/HTML/001555.html). Plus, hating myself would just be continuing the behavior that made me bulimic in the first place, aka not having control over something and beating myself up about it. I have already scheduled sessions with a bulimia specialist psychologist starting March 31st, and want to get down to the issue. Not only am I ready to get better, I am highly motivated to.

Thank you again for your help, WRIN especially, and everyone. Taking the time to post to me makes me feel very supported, and I am grateful.


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[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 03-23-2003).]
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Old 03-21-2003, 01:06 PM   #7
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No, that doesn't mean you have to avoid acid drinks. Consider that the acid produced in your stomach is a strong acid (remember grade 11 chemistry?) It's hydrochloric acid, which typically has a pH of around 1. That's enough to burn a hole through a concrete floor. Citric acid, on the other hand, (which is what is found in things like orange juice,) is a weak organic acid with a pH much much closer to 7. You might find it to be more comfortable to avoid these acidic foods while you have throat irritation since they tend to make it hurt a little bit, but generally speaking they won't increase or decrease the time required to heal the scab, nor will they make it come back.

Avoiding spicy food is something of a touchy subject -- a little bit of spicy food with plenty of carbs or something to keep it from being straight-spices swimming around in your stomach will probably not hurt you, but the stuff that makes your eyes water will likely not be too great an idea. Olive oil and garlic are not things you should worry about, I wouldn't think.

Sleeping at an angle certainly couldn't hurt. Lifting the head of your bed 2-3 inches might make your mattress slide off the bottom -- if you sleep on your back or side if you can elevate yourself comfortably with pillows it would do just as good, and keep you from having to reposition your mattress. I don't think it's imperative if your doctor hasn't recommended it.

Being full after a meal is not necessarily the cause of reflux -- eating smaller meals certainly helps because it means the stomach empties faster, but if you try to not lay down for the half-hour after you eat it should help. Being full might aggravate reflux because it makes it easier for food to reflux past the cardiac sphincter.

Your vocal chords are actually located inside your trachea, which is right next to your esophagus. The acids can reflux up past your epiglottis, at the top of your esophagus, and make their way into your breathing tube. [url="http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/stutter.asp"]http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/stutter.asp[/url]
The picture at the top of this page gives you an idea as to how the trachea and the esophagus separate -- you can't see the whole esophagus but it's better than nothing for description. I could scan something out of my textbook but I'm not sure if they'll let me post my site up here.

Coughing up mucus after drinking thick liquids that coat your throat is a common thing -- mostly you're coughing up the coating the liquid has made inside your upper respiratory tract and swallowing it so that it doesn't have a chance to dribble down into your lungs.

Your ENT is right -- try to take care not to strain your voice. I had forgotten to mention that.

The vocal chord nodules are a rarish occurrence, but the more you purge the more likely you are to get them. I'm glad you're learning from someone else's mistake and that it took a relatively unserious medical condition to convince you that your ED wasn't worth it. For some people, it's the first time they're defibrillated when their heart stops.

Congratulations on having the courage to speak up and admit you have a problem, and taking steps to solve it. So many people lack your bravery, and you're setting an example for others in your situation. I will hope you'll speak for others who are too afraid to speak for themselves, and try to help.

 
Old 03-22-2003, 12:14 PM   #8
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Wrin, you are a blessing to me to volunteer your knowledge. Thanks again for taking the time, it is great to know there are good-hearted resources like yourself out there, and places like this exist to come to "incongnito" in time of need. I will take your advice in stride.

One last question.

I just ate breakfast, some leftovers from last night warmed up, fried yucca and fried bananas, and I have that phlegm stuff again. You said "mostly you're coughing up the coating the liquid has made inside your upper respiratory tract and swallowing it so that it doesn't have a chance to dribble down into your lungs." This leads me to belive that maybe, with all my purging, I weakened the epiglotis, and food stuff will slip down the wrong tube quite frequently. Is this a reasonable theory? Should I not clear my throat? Because singers are often told not to clear their throats, but I don't know if that is related.
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Old 03-23-2003, 08:40 AM   #9
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I doubt that you've weakened your gag enough to aspirate all your food. If you have, you'd have a rather disgusting pneumonia right now. They're called 'aspiration pneumonias' and they're from gut bacteria getting into the mostly-sterile area of your lungs.

The phlegm stuff could be from saliva moving down your throat, and some of it is bound to miss. Or maybe, because of the morning, the phlegm that's settled inside your lungs during the night is finally being brought up. It is most likely something totally harmless. Trust me, if you've weakened your gag enough for you to accidentally inhale some of your food, you will very shortly be very sick. You would also be coughing like crazy -- there's a cough reflex past your larynx, deep, deep inside your lungs.

The singers-being-told-not-to-clear-their-throats thing I don't understand, but I'll take a stab in the dark. I have a feeling it's because a lot of people would rather clear their throat than cough properly, and it's hard on your vocal chords. Coughing is rather easy on your voice provided you don't do it often and with gross vigour. With a cough, your vocal chords close and touch each other, making a seal inside your lungs so you can build up pressure. Then you open your vocal chords and the built-up pressure inside your lungs bursts out, air moving very quickly, taking large pieces of debris with it. Sort of like punching a ketchup bottle extra hard. When most people clear their throats, they don't close their vocal chords completely, which means that more time is spent with the chords being beaten around by heavy airflow. Not sure if I'm right.

Try the double-barrelled cough, not clearing your throat constantly. The cough-cough, two real coughs in rapid succession. That seems to be what the physiotherapists and such recommend for a 'proper' cough. Anything other than that, I've no idea. That'd be a question for your singing coach.

 
Old 04-05-2003, 07:48 PM   #10
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Hi Worried

I found this thread via a google search. I thought I was losing my noodle. For the past week, literally anything I ate would immediately feel "stuck" in the bottom of my throat. Then it would quickly, almost instantly turn into a burning feeling. I went to my primary care doc and described it to him, he either wasn't listening or I didn't describe it the right way. Anyway, he didn't do anything for me so I went to an ENT Hospital in Boston on my own. The doc in there sprayed the inside of my nose with some stuff, and then put a contraption in my nose, fed it down some, had me say "eee" several times, and said he saw a little infection near the adenoids, and some "mild" reflux. I didn't know I had reflux, but I did notice a couple times in a year my throat would hurt so much that I couldn't eat. It's that way right now. It's much too uncomfortable to eat - Even just a small pudding feels trapped and quickly turns to a burning feeling. Now I don't know what they consider "mild" reflux, but I have been consuming only clear liquids this week and lost 8 lbs. I just can't stand the way it feels when I eat something, even something small. Oh, so, to finish the story, the ENT doc put me on zantac for the reflux, and amoxicillin for the infection.
I basically just wanted to post because I wanted you to know you aren't alone. Wondering also if your throat has healing so that it feels "normal" again?
Hope you get a chance to come back here with an update on your progress. Hope you're feeling better.


Mish

 
Old 05-04-2003, 11:11 AM   #11
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hi,
i was looking through this column when i spotted your complaint "something n my throat when i swallow".
i too have this problem.
over the last few days ive had this sensation in my throat that feels like it is dry all the time. it is in a corner of my throat and is really bugging me.
it doesnt hurt but it does mean that i have to swallow a lot to try and get rid of it.
over the past three months i have been suffering from a viral infection of the respitory tracht which probably adds to it. also my glands have been pretty much swollen for them three months too.
it probably isnt anything to worry about and is probably some kind of minor infection of the throat. i do also suffer from heartburn sometimes pretty severly and this can only add to it.
i hope yous all get better real soon.
miike

 
Old 10-15-2003, 08:47 AM   #12
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I am having the same problems, just recently, although it feels like its below the throat and i have to swallow alot or I worry I might get saliva in my lungs, Its not bad at all right now though.

I think its my tonsils putting presure on the back of my throat and its making me react thinking there is something there. when its just the stupid tonsil. I hate my tonsils, they get infected all the time and the "krypts" build up stuff that don't smell to nice.

I read that I can get laser surgery to close the krypts, but thats besides this particular post. I was a little worried about this little swallowing thing so I looked it up in google and I found people that have just found it recently too. It seems to sound pretty common. Then again, maybe it is just caused by reflux, since I have been drinking alot of lemon cordial today (artifical kind not home made). It must be the acidity. I drank some skim milk an hour ago and double coughed, and now I seem to be fine. I wonder if it will come back tomorrow. I'm going to sleep now so lets see what happens.

I'll try to keep you updated.

BTW - I'm new to the forums hello to all, obviously its not a good sign if you became a local here, and too bad there is no annon reply, I don't want to become a member just so I can reply 1-3 times.

See ya

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