Foreign object in the throat - Disease - Saglik Lokman

Glossary of diseases

Foreign object in the throat

Medical name (Foreign body in the throat)

Possible Symptoms

Difficulty in swallowing Pain on swallowing Shortness of breath Chest pain

Short description

A foreign body in the throat describes an object that does not belong in the throat. This includes any wanted or unwanted object stuck in the throat. A foreign body stuck in the throat can cause serious problems, for example, apnea. When a foreign body is stuck in the throat, it is recommended to do the Heimlich maneuver and, if possible, to try to hook it out from the mouth or throat with the fingers. If the stuck foreign body cannot be removed immediately, then instant medical treatment is necessary.


A foreign body in the throat happens when an object is put or stuck inside the throat accidentally or voluntarily. A foreign body means anything that is not supposed to be in the throat, for example, food, coins, marbles, pins, buttons, insects and even vomit. A foreign body stuck in the throat can happen to people at any age, but especially to children.

Occurrence and Symptoms

Small pieces of food, toys, pins, dirt and other tiny materials are often the common objects that are swallowed or stuck inside the throat. Sometimes when people are unconscious, vomit, blood, or some fluid can also block the throat. Such an accident can happen to people at any age; however, children have a higher risk of being affected due to their curiosity. A foreign body in the throat can cause: 1) Damage to the throat: if there is a foreign body stuck in the throat, it may damage the mucous membrane of the throat due to sharp edges or pressure. As a result, it may cause symptoms such as bleeding, pain, fierce coughing, and difficulty in swallowing, breathing and talking. 2) Obstruction of the airway: when there is a foreign body stuck in the throat, it can cause an obstruction of the airway. People then may respond with coughing and difficulty in breathing. Furthermore, if the foreign body cannot be removed, it may lead to loss of consciousness or apnea.

Consequences and Treatment

The treatment of a foreign body stuck in the throat is mainly to remove the lodged object as soon as possible. The Heimlich maneuver is the first aid needed in such a situation. The applied pressure on the abdomen will increase the air pressure in the lungs and airways, which hopefully will clear the airways. Also the mouth and throat should be checked for an object that may be able to be removed manually. If it is too difficult to force the foreign body out, then it is strongly recommended to seek prompt medical help. In severe cases, surgery to remove the stuck object is necessary.

Where could I go?

Internal medicine Otolaryngology Pediatrics

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