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Question
For a few months now my five year old has been habitually clearing his throat. I assumed it was just a tic that would eventually pass on its own so I've been ignoring it. But now a few times he's said that there's something stuck in his throat, and that he can't wash it down with water and he can't get it out by clearing his throat. He's probably mentioned this two or three times over the course of a couple of weeks. Could this be part of a tic or something more concerning? We have high deductible insurance so I'd rather not take him to the pedi for something as minor as a tic, but at the same time I don't want to ignore something that might turn out to be serious.

Thank you in advance.

Answer
Hi, Sarah,

This is still probably a tic.  Some points that you can look at that would support the diagnosis would be lack of symptoms while asleep and eating OK.  If he is only mentioning this a couple times over a couple weeks, I would still try the ignore it and it will get better approach.  If he persists in this feeling, one that has been called "globus pharyngitis" then a visit might be in order.  If that happens, be prepared for the possibility of doing a barium swallow to definitively rule out something obstructing the swallowing mechanism.  I would just watch for now.

Good luck, D.r Olson

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David Olson, MD

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I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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