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Q. I have a constant feeling that there is a hair at the back of my throat. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 24, 2018 and last reviewed on: Jul 16, 2019

Hello doctor,

I suffer from a bad health anxiety. For the past few months, I feel like there is a hair at the back of my throat and it gets worse at night. My ear also pains and I can feel three pea-sized lumps on the right side of my neck. I got cold twice a couple of months back and I am taking Omeprazole from two days for acidity. I am a heavy drinker and smoke weed for a few years. I went to the doctors because of my throat issue, and he checked the back of my throat with a flashlight and did a swab, it all came back clear. I have been referred to an ENT, but I have to wait a few weeks. I just checked my throat and saw that my tonsil is swollen, and it feels like one side is numb. But I do not feel it when I swallow. I am so scared that I have tonsil cancer. Can you see the pictures and tell me if both my tonsils are swollen?

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

After seeing the pictures (attachment removed to protect patient identity), I can tell you the following.

You have pharyngitis, and your tonsils are inflamed. The foreign body sensation in the throat is due to a post-nasal drip.

Do you have any nasal congestion?

I suggest you get an x-ray of the paranasal sinuses done, and a throat swab for culture sensitivity, to see the cause of infection. And avoid smoking.

Revert with more information to an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hello doctor,

Thank you for replying. Yes, most of the time it is hard to breathe through my right nostril, there is a whistling sound that comes from it. But, when I lay in the bed at some angles, the whistling goes away. I can breathe normally after I clean my nostril. I have had a swab test done and got the results back, and they did not find any infection in the back of my throat. Why do you think my tonsils are inflamed? Are they both inflamed? I am scared that I have tonsil cancer. I have stopped smoking weed from three to four weeks, and would not smoke again as I am afraid of dying.

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

According to me, you have pharyngitis because of a deviation in the nasal septum.

The tonsils are a part of the pharynx, the are inflamed due to a post-nasal drip.

Just relax, there is nothing suggestive of any throat cancer. Neither your complaints nor the pictures of your throat show any throat cancer.

  • My advice is you should get an x-ray of the paranasal sinuses done.
  • Try taking oral decongestants and nasal spray twice daily, and use chlorhexidine gargles.
  • Send me the x-ray pictures, so I can suggest further treatment.

Revert with more information to an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hi doctor,

Thank you so much, I have been worried sick for days and not getting any rest just waiting for my appointment with the ENT. Is it normal that I could have this tickle for a few months from the post-nasal drip? As it has been almost three months, which is why I have been so worried. Also, I would like to mention that, from a few months now, I have been breathing through my mouth while I sleep. I have been suffering from heartburn during the week now, so I am worried that I could have Barrett's esophagus. So, I should not worry about tonsil cancer?

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • A deviated nasal septum is a very common nasal finding, and It needs intervention if it is symptomatic like a post-nasal drip or chronic throat infections.
  • Your complaints are pointing towards nasal septum deviation and not throat cancer.
  • For acid reflux problem, continue taking Omeprazole once daily, avoid spicy foods and aerated drink, and drink plenty of water.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hi doctor,

Thanks for the reply and help, it has been amazing. Do you think that after taking these medicines my throats will finally heal and my symptoms will go? I feel like I will have it forever. Thank you for reassuring that it is not tonsil or throat cancer. It all started after a few months at my new flat and after a heavy drinking night here, should I get a humidifier for my room?

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • Your symptoms will definitely improve on taking these medicines, but it will not correct the deviated septum.
  • So, get the investigations done, then only the exact diagnosis can be made and further treatment will depend on that.
  • Using a humidifier might help you with your symptoms to some extent.

For further queries consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hi doctor,

I still get a little post-nasal drip, but it is much better after two days on the spray and tablets. But, now I am scared that it is sinus cancer or nasal cancer, as the right nostril inside on the left has a little scab which I have been picking for like 2 to 3 months and has not healed. Is this from me picking it all the time? Also, if it were cancer would it always be blocked? I get whistling from that nostril and not the other one, and I am worried it is cancer due to the symptoms. I do breathe much better when taking the spray. But, it still whistles and when I breathe in quite hard, I can feel it closing up, and it does not happen on the left side. I have an appointment with an ENT doctor next month, and I am really scared that he is going to tell me I have one of these cancers, as I am having these problems for months now.

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • The scab is due to chronic picking of nose, so avoid picking it.
  • You do not have the symptoms of nasal or sinus cancer. The blockage in nasal cancer is static as you say and would not Improve with any medication. In cancer, there are other symptoms like bleeding from the nose.
  • The whistling sound is due to narrowing of the nasal cavity on one side caused by deviated nasal septum. So just relax and continue the medicines.

Do update me after the consultation with your doctor.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hello doctor,

Thanks so much, you have put my mind at rest. I still worry because, from the past week and a half, I have had a sore eye. I feel like my eyes are getting pushed, I do spend few hours looking at the computer, but I took a day off it, and it still burns even with eye drops. This all started when the doctor referred me to an ENT, do you think it could be from stress with worrying as I have had it every day? I breathe through my mouth a lot, sometimes during the day, but mostly when sleeping. Why does it feel that the right side of my throat is numb when I swallow? I can feel random pea sized nodes on the right side, which the other side does not have. But my pictures did not look like my throat has anything serious, right? Did both tonsils look inflamed a little, and not just one?

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • From the pictures (attachment removed to protect patient identity), your right tonsil is slightly more inflamed than the left. The little lymph nodes palpable on right are because of this. A FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) from the nodes can be done.
  • The eye strain is probably due to working long hours on the computer. A single day off would not help because, you are still using other devices like phone, tablet, etc. Put artificial tear drops in the eyes at least 8 to 10 times every day, and try to blink your eyes in between work. Manage the brightness of computer screen.
  • I do not think you have any serious disease, but examination has to be done to get a confirmed diagnosis.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hello doctor,

Thank you for replying. I saw on a website that if one tonsil is bigger than the other, then it is mostly always cancer. Why do you think that my right one is inflamed than the other? Do you think it is large because of the post-nasal drip? Do you feel after a few days or weeks of taking the spray and medicine that my tonsils will go back to normal? I am scared it is tonsil cancer due to them being inflamed for so long.

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I hope my answer helps you out.

  • Actually, both your tonsils are infected and it is common for one to be larger than other. In cancer, the appearance of tonsil is not like this.
  • But, it is better to get yourself examined by an ENT specialist,  unilateral tonsil enlargement can be cancerous but you have bilateral inflammation.
  • The nasal infection can be a cause for this inflammation, or else it is just physiological. I hope your ENT examination also say the same.

Feel free to ask any questions.

For further questions consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hi doctor,

Your answers help a lot, I have been worried sick that I have some throat or tonsil cancer due to my throat looking so red and also little red patches. If you zoom in on these updated pictures I just took now, you can see a red spot at the back of my throat behind my uvula, or is that normal? I hope it is just due to my right nose being blocked and causing post-nasal drip. When it first started, the tickle would only happen when I used to get in the bed, which used to make me cough. I have attached pictures and a video.

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I have seen the pictures and the video (attachments removed to protect patient identity).

You have a posterior paranasal wall congestion due to chronic post-nasal drip.

  • You should use chlorhexidine gargles. The white deposits are mucus, and it will be cleaned off with gargles.
  • I will suggest you to be relaxed and go for your throat examination. I hope until that time, and you will be better with the medicines you are taking.
  • Get a CT paranasal sinuses and throat swab for culture sensitivity done once you visit an ENT specialist. They will help to clear all your doubts.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply. Do you think I have nasal polyp which is causing my right nostril blockage? It is cleaned up after taking the nasal spray, which I have stopped as it has been four days. I still take the decongest tablets along with N-acetyl cysteine 600 mg, which I bought today. The left nostril is fine when breathing in and out, but the right still feels closed. The tickling feeling is so much better, do get tickles now and then when moving my mouth and sometimes during the day. And I get just a burning feeling in the back of my throat sometimes, but that is it. I am scared that it is a nasal polyp which is causing it. I have a friend's birthday party tonight, do you think I can drink alcohol?

Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Audiology Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It can be a nasal polyp or sinusitis with nasal deviation and congestion. This can be confirmed only on examination and investigation.

  • The nasal spray should be continued for at least two weeks, after that decrease the frequency to once daily and take for another week. This spray will decongest nasal mucosa and will aid in surgery too if required.
  • The oral decongestants should be stopped after a week and replaced with anti-allergic for another week. Do not stop the medicines suddenly, as the symptoms may revert.
  • As you are taking decongestants, please avoid alcohol. Medicines need to be stopped 48 hours prior to consuming alcohol.

For further queries consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist


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