What Causes My Throat to Feel Tight?

It can be very uncomfortable when your throat feels tight. If you do not know why your throat feels tight, this may even make you feel alarmed. Depending on the cause, the problem may be constant or intermittent. Although you may be able to diagnose the problem on your own, you may also need to see a doctor to rule out more serious issues.


Anxiety can cause your throat to feel tight, but, ironically, worrying about your throat can make the anxiety worse. Symptoms of anxiety can include difficulty breathing, tightness in your chest, sweating and rapid heartbeat. Tension can also cause you to clench your jaw, which may also make your throat feel tight.

Thyroid Disorders

A thyroid disorder can cause your throat to feel tight or to feel like you have a lump in your throat. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. Hypothyroidism occurs when your body produces too little thyroid hormone. Nodules on the thyroid can make it difficult to swallow. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, cold intolerance, depression and insomnia. Hypothyroidism must be diagnosed by a blood test and can be treated by prescription medication. Nodules on the thyroid may be surgically removed.

Food Allergy

Food allergies and intolerance can also lead to a feeling of tightness in the throat. This may also feel like your airway is being constricted or like it is difficult to breathe. Although these types of allergies are uncommon, they can be very serious. Foods that may cause this reaction include shellfish, sulfites, dairy, soy, corn and eggs.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux or GERD, can make you feel like something is stuck in your throat. This tight feeling in your throat is caused by the stomach acid splashing back up into the esophagus. Reflux is often treatable with over-the-counter medications, eating smaller meals, avoiding spicy foods and raising the head of your mattress by 6 to 8 inches.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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