Anxiety Can Affect Your Throat

Anxiety can cause physical symptoms in just about any area of your body. But the throat seems to be a hotspot. There are multiple throat problems that can occur as a direct result of anxiety. Since there are multiple throat problems that anxiety can cause, it’ll be best if we take a look at them one at a time.

 

Burning Throat

This is possibly the most unpleasant throat problem that anxiety can cause, and when it lasts for extended periods of time it can be quite scary.

 

Why Does Anxiety Cause a Burning Throat?

You produce more stomach acid than normal when you’re anxious. You’ll feel this as a knot in your stomach. If the excess acid refluxes into your throat it will irritate the delicate tissues there and cause burning hypersensitivity. When you are anxious for long periods of time a large amount of adrenaline builds up in your system, causing hypersensitivity throughout your body. In the throat, this often presents itself as burning.

 

How to Stop a Burning Throat Caused by Anxiety

To stop a burning throat, you can either treat the symptoms as they appear for short-term relief, or you can treat the root-cause to stop the problem from ever happening. When your throat starts to burn, try the following tips: sip cool water, avoid hot drinks, chew gum to increase saliva, gargle salt water, put your head over a bowl of hot water and breathe in the steam. If acid reflux is your root cause you’ll need to make some changes to your diet. The solution is to find ways to give yourself moments of peace. Listen to relaxation sounds, go for a short walk, take a hot shower or bath, and find comfort in things you love like old movies, books, and music. Do whatever relaxes you often enough and your hypersensitivity will fade.

 

Why Does Anxiety Cause a Lump in the Throat and a Tight Throat?

With anxiety often causing excess stomach acid, it increases the likelihood that some of it will reflux into your throat. If this occurs for long enough the acid will irritate your throat, causing a lump in the throat sensation or a tight throat. If your anxiety causes hypersensitivity, you’re more likely to become allergic to something. An allergy will produce excess mucus in the back of your nose and throat. When the excess mucus trickles down your throat (post nasal drip), it can make you feel like you have something stuck in your throat or that you have a tight throat. There’s a ring of muscle in your throat that opens and closes to let food down into your stomach. When you’re anxious this muscle can become tense, causing the feeling that something is stuck in your throat or that your throat is tight.

 

How to Stop a Lump in the Throat and a Tight Throat Caused by Anxiety

There’s a different approach to stopping these sensations in your throat depending on which of the causes is responsible. If acid reflux is to blame then you need to make a few dietary changes. If post nasal drip is to blame there are a few things you can try. Use a neti pot in the morning and at night to flush out the sinuses. Place a humidifier where you sleep to combat dry air. Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to treat any undiagnosed allergies. Consider cutting dairy and wheat from your diet one at a time to see if either of them is causing your problems. If muscle tension is to blame, you need to find ways to relax the muscles in your throat region, speech therapy can help.

 

Dry Throat

A dry throat is a common problem when you have anxiety. It’s not unbearable like some anxiety symptoms can be, but it’s annoying and something you’d be much happier without.  Stress and anxiety produce excess acid in your stomach, and if the acid backs up into your throat it irritates the delicate tissues there, making your throat feel dry. When you’re anxious, your body releases adrenaline into your system. One of adrenaline’s effects is to shut off your salivary glands, which quickly leads to a dry throat. When you’re relaxed you breathe through your nose, as you should. But when you’re anxious you tend to breathe through your mouth. This exposes your mouth to more air than is normal and this dries out your throat.

 

How to Stop a Dry Throat Caused by Anxiety

First try to determine which of the potential causes is responsible for your dry throat. Then treat that cause appropriately. The best way to treat acid reflux is by making some simple changes to your diet. Excess adrenaline is hard to get rid of until your underlying anxiety is dealt with. But for short-term relief use “anxiety timeouts” to give yourself a break from your stress and anxiety. Good ways to do this: going for a walk, hot baths, hot showers, listening to music, listening to relaxation sounds, getting lost in old books and movies you love. The only way to combat mouth breathing is to force yourself to breathe correctly for short periods throughout the day. Do this enough times and you’ll naturally start to breathe correctly. Every couple of hours, sit with your hands on your stomach. Take a controlled breath in through your nose for a count of 4 while gently pushing your stomach out against your hands. Then exhale through your nose for a count of 4 while gently pulling your stomach back in away from your hands. Do this for 2 minutes several times a day.

 

The Takeaway

Your throat is a sensitive area and ongoing anxiety can lead to several problems developing there. The symptoms themselves are annoying and distracting, and the symptoms can lead to more anxiety since you don’t know what’s causing them.

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