hoarse voice and choking : Hi, I am wondering if... - Thyroid UK

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hoarse voice and choking


Hi, I am wondering if this is my problem alone or if others have the same. Lately I keep choking on my food and I have developed a cough which won't let up.

I sound and feel like I am getting laryngitis but it never eventuates. Is this normal? I had a bleed some months ago from a nodule on the thyroid and nothing was done about it. I do not understand what's going on. Docs don't make any comment so I think it must be normal.

Have been on thyroxine for about 16-20 years. Have suffered insomnia and many other irritating symptoms but never get any advice from GP.. am on 75mcg and am always burning up. I sometimes think this is "the end".

Does anyone have similar problems.. no energy, weight gain etc etc.???

Thanks to anyone who can help.

32 Replies

You sound as though you could be under medicated and 75 mcg isn't a huge dose. Have you got any recent results? If you could post them with their ranges if would give us a better idea on that. You are entitled to ask your GP for a copy Under the freedom of information act and they are allowed to charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of the paper and ink. i have at one time had a cough but it cleared up when I was better medicated so that may be the cause.

haras in reply to silverfox7

thankyou silverfox I will, when I find the energy, just do that.. I have put it off for way too long as I'm terrified that it might be cancer.

silverfox7 in reply to haras

Another reason to get it looked into as other possibilities can't be ruled out but check on your thyroid readings as many of us have been told 'they are fine' but in acrual fact they could be better. Many doctors think if you are within the range you are good but we all differ on what is good for us but generally results need to be high in the range, definitely over half way and preferably in the top third or even the top 25%. Generally the ranges are quite wide. The ranges are important though as they differ from lab to lab.

I too have a hoarse voice and feel like I'm choking on food or it's stuck in my throat. I'm on 200mcg and have been medicated since 2010. I'm told everything's normal but I don't feel any better, tired, weight gain thinning hair etc. I've asked my GP for my results with ranges and she refused but now I know I'm entitled to them I will go back and ask for them. I don't know what "type" of thyroid condition I have just that it's under active and GP can't advise as I think she doesn't know. If anyone can help explaining thay would be great as it's quite a complicated condition.

Go see your GP haras & I hope you get/feel better soon!.

If the hoarse voice persists get yourself checked out. If you have no joy from your usual GP see another. Under NICE guidelines you have symptoms that need to be followed up.

Choking on food and a persistent cough does need some further investigation as these are the signs of dysphagia: a difficulty with swallowing where food and water can enter the airway. This can also lead to chest infections so definitely see your GP. Thyroid probs can cause dysphagia if the thyroid is enlarged. Nodules would explain the voice probs too. Hope you get it sorted

Hi there, your symptoms sound so similar to mine and where I was a year ago. I'd been banging on my Dr's door for 2 years having basic testing which always came back as acceptabley with in range, finally I broke down and insisted on a referral to a specialist, who found my thyroid had enlarged inside my throat and was growing around my trechia and oesophagus, that's why I couldn't swallow and was breathless, and had voice change.......I had met thyroid removed May 2015, the surgeon post op said it was a total mess, should have been in theartre for 2 hours but was in for 6 and the thyroid had pushed my vocal cords up into my jaw......it was all growing internally without showing externally, only a slight goitre. My surgeon was brilliant, and although I'm not cured he said he hoped the TT would vastly improve my life.....and it has. Good luck.

This is not normal and while it is quite possibly connected to your thyroid problems it must be borne in mind that these could be symptoms of a completely separate medical condition. I would get back to my GP and ask for further investigations , this could be a problem with the oesophogitis

Hi , I don't have the cough or chocking sensation , but by the end of each day my voice goes hoarse. I've had the camera down and there nothing there , it must be some thing we have to put up with,

Baggiebod in reply to Jomo19

Hi Jomo please don't think there are health problems which are connected to the Thyroid such as choking and hoarse voice are symptoms that we "have to put up with". The camera down the throat may not have been the best way to diagnose the problem - many doctors are really not that well informed when it comes to the Thyroid unfortunately. Please ask for a full Thyroid blood test and ask for a print out with the lab ranges, post the results on this site and hopefully one of the numerous well informed members will be able to give an opinion of whether you are under medicated or have an insufficiency in one or more of the relevant vitamins and minerals which need to be optimum in order to be able to fully absorb the Thyroid replacement hormones. There are lots of people who believe that doctors are infallible or at least much more knowledgeable than they really are who pay the price of their blind faith by becoming seriously ill or worse.

LAHs in reply to Jomo19

Jomo, I had to have that "camera thing", an endoscopy, before the surgeon saw a problem within my throat. I had to insist because just after my TT my larynx had been damaged and the scar tissue was preventing it from vibrating. I was mute for six months and I kept going back and insisting that there was something wrong. On the third look, he saw it. The despairing thing was that after the second one he told me it was selective mutism, it was "all in my head"! God that was awful, I am the last person on earth to let neuroses get the better of me. But anyway, I had a second op. and all is well now.

Big bird -it might be that your GP doesn't know!! Lol....

Were the antibody tests ever done?

200mcg is supposed to be a full replacement dose but you might need a little more if your uptake is low. Do you have any blood tests you can post with the ranges, figures in brackets.

Other possibilities are -Maybe you will feel better if some Liothyroine (T3) was added in or you switched to a NDT. T3 is the usable thyroid hormone, Levothyroxine (T4) is the storage form so your body has to convert it to T3 to use it.

You might want to look at Thyroid UKs booklist on their website. They do have library you can borrow from for a nominal charge. Knowledge is power! Barry Peatfields book called Living with your Thyroid is a good one.

Thank you wavey lines I will look for that book. I've asked for T3, antibody tests etc but GP said I don't need them as other results are within acceptable ranges. Don't unfortunately have any test results as they refused to give me them. I will be going for more bloods shortly so I'll insist on getting the results & I'll post on here for some invaluable advice. I don't think people understand what it's like to have this condition they think pop a few pills and you're all sorted & my problem is I'm a wimp so I try and ignore it hoping it'll go away or wonder if I'm imaging it. I'll get sorted soon I'm sure.

Hi waveylines

I didn't know 200mcg was classed as full replacement, I'm taking that my thyroid doesn't function at all then which I've never been told. So thanks for explaining that.

Thanks for your help it's appreciated!

Hoarse voice/persistent cough can be connected to B12 deficiency. You could ask GP to test B12 (and you may as well ask for folate and ferritin at the same time ;-) )


Can also be connected to sensitivity to grains/gluten so you could try cutting them out and see if it improves.

But I also think you should get a second opinion if GP is not taking it seriously.


If you are feeling v tired and can't bear arguing with your gp and being fobbed off any more, write her a letter saying you are have a choking sensation when eating and it is making it difficult for you to eat. Please could you be referred for scans and tests of your thyroid.

Then say, despite a high dose of Levo symptoms of hypothyroidism are remaining, ask if it is possible that you are a non converter of T4, and ask for copies of recent tests.

If they ignore such a letter they risk serious consequences if your problem turns out to be a growth because there is proof of your making a reasonable request and mentioning symptoms which could be very serious.

Are you losing weight?

On the rest, is it possible that they have only been checking TSH, not T4? Once you are referred you should be able to raise this possibility further with the specialist. If your GP has been ignoring your choking on food she is either careless or clueless. If you can afford it, of course, you could do a private blood test straight away including Free T3 and antibodies.

Bigbird7912 in reply to Hidden

That's great advice Aspmama, my GP has suggested that I

My gut may not be absorbing my medication as I also take blood pressure meds. From what I've seen tests show T4 & TSH but nothing for T3 when I questioned why was told no need as T4 & TSH are fine? I wish I was losing weight lol. I would definitely be willing to do a private blood test then at least I'd know I've been tested for everything not just what GP wants testing, thanks for your advice.

I, too have been experiencing horrible raspy voice since this past year along with spasmodic episodes of choking and or coughing and choking. This along with inability to swallow food correctly or taking medications and having the pills or capsules get stuck going down my throat as if something was in the middle blocking the way.

I've also had a terrible increase of colds and sinus and ear infections with one entire month, October suffering from Bronchitis and having to take two separate prescriptions of antibiotics. This landed me in the ER and a breathing treatment then sent home with nebulizer and medication for treatments at home till cleared up.

I also complained about ear pain which actually started about the base of neck up into the sides and then in the ears themselves. This would hurt so much at times, I would actually put a heating pad up under or around the base of my neck and ears for warmth and to try and stop the pain.

Unfortunately, every time I had these issues and complained, my GP would simply say it was due to the colds or sinus infections. Regardless of the fact I'd NEVER suffered from so many colds in my entire life. This along with terrible ear pain or red and painful,swollen throat with terrible raspy voice which at times would also cause me pain or actually cause me to lose my voice for short periods of time. On one visit to my GP's office, the NPA told me my throat looked as if thought it was all 'blotchy' or something to that effect. It was then she suggested I see an allergist. So, off I went only to be told my symptoms were all probably due to seasonal allergies plus a number of other things. He wanted to perform a skin test and rule out all allergic stuff to my body and system but since he'd only recently opened his office and lab wasn't set up I'd have to return in eight weeks. I said okay and waited to be called which needless to say never happened. After calling them three separate times, I finally gave up. Well, it was a couple months after this visit that I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism!

Since then my throat and voice issues have only become worse and I have to admit it's even affected my hearing. Does anyone or has anyone had this problem? Last night I was in terrible pain all night that I never fell to sleep. The pain in my right side of neck and up into right under my right ear was so bad, I took Alleve, Tramadol, Ibuprofen and Tizanadine...all with no relief. I also used my heating pad and alternated with a cold gel pack. It feels as if though I've been hit with something and it feels swollen inside my neck region. The pain or area is also pretty tender and makes my turning my neck to the right very uncomfortable.

What I'd like to also know is has anyone else had excruciating pain in the back of their neck or cervical area down into their shoulder blades? I ask because this has been going on for almost two years and thought it was all related to an auto accident in 2005. My pain specialists also thought it was related and had treated me twice with steroid injections to the back of my cervical area this past year. The last injection was early October. But it wasn't until after I was diagnosed with Hypo that I started to wonder if there was a link somehow between the Hypo disease and the excruciating neck/upper shoulder pain? I wonder because when I first started the Armour, this pain disappeared almost immediately along with the horrific joint and body aches all over! Plus, lost 9 pounds in less than a week only to gain it back 10 days later plus return of all aches and pains and intense heat or hot flashes. I increased dosage to 2 Armour 60 mg daily for 2 days during Christmas but when returned to see OB/GYN he told me to get back down to 1 60 mg daily to check situation with Estrogen and or Menopause due.

As if this wasn't enough, I've also become insomniac! Tried Trazadone for some time for my chronic back pain from an old work injury (slip & fall 1994) but it no longer worked so asked my doc for something else and he suggested an antihistamine which was called Hydroxizine. In beginning it worked and finally slept but this quit working this past year yet I continued and would take with my Tramadol and Tizanadine at night. It helped a bit and I was able to fall asleep for at least 2-3 hours but since last summer, late I've had literally days where there are ZERO hours slept! The bags, dark circles and all the other issues attached to insomnia have made my life a living hell!!

It affects my memory, alertness, driving, concentration, appetite and above all my energy level which is zilch!! I am separated from my husband and staying with friends or family so need to find a job but going around with no sleep, exhausted, drained and feeling like I'm going to collapse at times makes it extremely difficult.

Another question I have for anyone out there is if you're having or had these same issues what happened or what did your doc find? I'm scheduled for a scope of my throat/neck to check for Thyroid issues plus the person is a specialist who's a Certified Thyroid Disorders/Endo Specialist and Certified Allergist. I feel quite lucky to have the doctor's who've seen me so far because they're all trying to find the problem and get me to feeling better right away. While my GP and my OB/GYN differ on thyroid meds; OB/BYN diagnosed me initially and put me on Armour 1 Grain, 60 mg daily and we increased med to 1 1/2 tablets then back down to original dose of 1 tab to now 1/2 this is fine as I understand and have read it took a while to become Hypo so treating it may take a while as well.

Since I am also Menopausal (and have been experiencing the worst hot flashes since October last year & flashes last for up to 45 minutes ...I have actually timed the darn things..My hair/head will literally get soaked and drip down my face and neck and upper torso...especially if I'm cleaning house, loading or unloading washer/dryer or doing anything requiring any type of physical activity...even for a few minutes..it's disgusting)

My GP feels I should be on Levoxythrine (excuse spelling if wrong) and told me it's the easiest thing to treat a low or under active thyroid patient. He told me a person simply tweaks their Levoxythrine up or down until they find what works best for them and then simply continues to follow up with their doc for regular blood work. He then asked if I wanted to switch but after having discussed the med situation with my Pain Specialist the week prior, she suggested taking Armour for 10 weeks consecutively and then be tested again for TSH and if issues still persist to go from there. She explained the body needs time to adjust to the medication for any type of results.

So, as of last week's visit, my OB/BYN thought it best to take me off the Estradiol Patch twice weekly and put me on 1 MG Estrogen daily to try and alleviate the hot flashes.

As I am also taking Progesterone 100 mg once daily at PM, I simply take them at same time nightly. I have to say there has been some relief for which I am so grateful for. The flashes aren't completely resolved but I plan to give it some more time for my system to adjust to the changes. I take my Armour in am at same time on empty stomach and wait for about an hour to eat afterwards as I've read the body absorbs it better. Plus,my doc suggested it best this way. Also, not to lay back down after taking the Armour...forgot why he said not to do this..have to ask him again and will post reason.

I've read of a number of women who are experiencing both Menopausal and Hypothyroid issues at the same time. As if things weren't bad enough with Menopause our bodies are put through pure hell with this Hypo and other illnesses!. How many women are dealing with this same thing now? Any advice or suggestions?

Last but not least; Add Uterine Fibroids to this whole situation and you'll get an idea as to what I'm dealing with daily. Last summer ultrasound showed two fibroid's along with

erratic spotting and bleeding and discomfort. Latest Ultrasound shows the largest is the size of a golf ball with 4 additional ones and Adenomyosis. I've been too exhausted to even think about surgery let alone anything else at this time. Had considered Ablation or Fibroid Removal via Ultrasound or where they insert grain to stop growth of fibroid's and stop bleeding but found it's only a temporary fix. So, hysterectomy is the only way to get rid of this. As my age is 56 and no children are in future plans this is best route per my doc, except I still consider it an extensive and major surgery. The question I have is anyone else experiencing this problem along with the Hypothyroid & if so, what are you doing or your docs suggestions?

One more thing I'd like to ask. Has anyone experienced a TSH level in the beginning of 3.59 and then had it drop to about 0.45? My original TSH of 3.59 is what the doc diagnosed me as Hypo in October but on Jan. 20 my TSH came back at 0.45 (I don't have exact # forgot to give me result print out) so OB/GYN is a bit perplexed as to how this could happen as levels aren't quite what he expected in the short time span of 3-4 months. I have secretly been hoping this whole thing is a case of Thyroiditis and or an infection in my Thyroid and once they scope will find out exact cause. Praying it's not Graves, Hashimoto's Disease or Cancer of the Thyroid or Lymphoma. My mom passed away at age 56 of Lymphoma so that's in the back of my mind too!

Back to my OB.. he's decided to have me continue Armour of 1/2 tablet or 30 mg daily for a month and then have new blood work. We also discussed an Adrenal & Cortisol Saliva Test as I feel there may be Adrenal Fatigue going on. I'd rather cover ALL bases versus sit back and simply wait to feel worse or have no improvements in my health or symptoms. He also suggests I undergo hysterectomy right away as he says I will definitely feel much better after the surgery...still nervous so not sure ...yet.

As long as my docs cooperate and can give me answers I will continue to stay with the same ones but if no resolution to symptoms then I will definitely consider seeing someone else.

I know this is an extremely lengthy posting but just in case anyone else out there is suffering the same or similar problems, know you're not alone. While, I'm trying to eat right and taking vitamin supplements such as Vit B6, B12, Vit C, Vit D3 plus Magnesium supplements and a powder supplement called CALM which helps with stress and also constipation when combined with the Magnesium supplement as it too contains Magnesium. I will also be starting a slow-release ferritin/Iron supplement as my Iron level was pretty low yet not quite Anemic, my Pain specialist suggested getting started on this and having my other doc re-check this level as she explained it definitely will affect my energy levels. Having been quite anemic years ago due to a lung infection caught while on vacation to Mexico I can only say it was horrible.

Just one last thing in closing...I plan on having my Thyroid specialist look over my current and past lab results very carefully to make certain things are where they're supposed to be. I sort of have a feeling something may have been overlooked as far as an additional test needing to be run. I asked for Progesterone but don't think my OB ran it because the results weren't available. I'm not taking any chances..after reading so many posts from women who say their docs refuse to test certain levels or run blood tests to check a number of items it worries me these patients aren't getting the care they deserve. I've read so many say they've begged and pleaded and their docs either get mad at them for asking or simply refuse to make adjustments in their meds or put them on something new. Women and men....if this is the type of doctor currently treating you then by all means RUN...RUN now and FAR AWAY from this type of doctor! He or she DOES NOT have your best interest or health concern at heart! There are so many wonderful doctor's out there who can treat you and will treat you willingly...don't settle for less than what you and your body so desperately need and deserve.

God Bless and I will keep you all in my prayers! Amen...

Hi Haras my Mom had this happen to her years ago. Her nodule calcified and she was choking and losing her voice. She was given a partial thyroidectomy and she was fine. No meds. She is now 80 years old.

haras in reply to DebZQ

oh, thanks for that DebZQ... that gives me hope! really apprreciate your input.. all the other replies scared the pants off me.

DebZQ in reply to haras

You just need to go get checked out . If it would be something serious you need to be ahead of the game. Hugggzzzz!!!!!!


I've had this awful cold/chest infection/allergy thing yet again this year. It seems like I start with a cold and sore throat and then it develops into allergy symptoms and I can hardly breathe and my voice box makes involuntary noises when lying down. I have reacted like this to thyroxine before and so went to the doctor. I have changed my brand yet again and my doc has given me an increase, now on 125 mcg daily. Even after three weeks I have been left with hoarse voice and occasional choking. I also have begun to think this is connected to being hypoT and the meds cos I have never been one for bad colds either. Symptoms did improve after changing brand.

haras in reply to Hidden

hi.. thanks for your reply.. I really am believing that we are being poisoned by thyroxine.. it apparently contains fluoride which is the last thing we need in our state of health.. too too toxic!

Afraid you're going to have to be a bit more assertive with your doctor. I started out with a hoarse voice and difficulty swollowing, they gave me a hospital appointment to see an ENT consultant - that's what you need in fact demand it is your right your health and you sometimes have to fight for it. So the consultant put a tiny camera down my throat - they spray your nose with an anesthetic insert a fine tube and the camera - totally painless it really is. The inside of your throat comes up on their screen and you get to have a look. He found my voice box was completly swollen all the way round and the diagnosis was Reinke's Odema. I was given Ranitidine tablets which were a great help. The problem slowly starts to improve as mine has since I was diagnosed 3 years ago now.

I personally think it had a lot to do with me being autoimmune which kicked it off - immune system attack which I've had on certain parts mainly in the mouth lost teeth etc, swelling of the face. I did ask the consultant at that time if he would check it was because I was autoimmune but he wouldn't. I have recently been proved right with immune DNA blood tests and others, seen another consultant and recently been diagnosed with Lupus.

I hope you go on alright but as I say you have to push sometimes to get help.

Good luck.

haras in reply to JanW

thanks so much JanW.. I will try to be more assertive.. sorry to hear your problems with lupus and swelling etc.. that must be an absolute pain!

I wish you all the best and will try not to live in fear as to what is causing this

as I tend to put everything off until I feel like I'm about to die.. that's a slight exaggeration.. but will try to do better.

If you have been on Levo for that long, no wonder. Have you read, "Stop The Thyroid Madness"? This will explain why you can't sleep, why you are choking and so many other issues...it is not NORMAL to have these and sometimes being allergic to the fillers in Levothyroxine can cause the choking, coughing...so open your mind, read books on the subject, and get yourself a better and more updated doctor...good luck.

Hi.. I might tell you I am not a complete uneducated idiot as you are implying. I have read and re-read soooo many articles my head is spinning.. but, for your info, will take your smartarse advice on board and read yet more on the subject..

FYI I have scouted the best part of the west coast of Australia to find a good doctor as I am very much under the impression that they know a big fat NOTHING here!!!

Thank you for your input, as smug as it is!

JanW in reply to haras

I agree with you haras a very condescending and unnesessary remark from MSC56 and a shame as most people on here are very helpful and the administrators very knowledgeable. Just ignore it.

thanks for your kind words JanW... feeling much better now.. was thinking that maybe I was being a smidgen touchy, as this thing is prone to make one at times.

I had some very similar symptoms, but because I was not already on any thyroid meds, I think it was taken more seriously by my GP. maybe if you see the docs again but this time complain of a 'lump in your throat', and ask for an ENT referral, you may get a proper answer. Sounds to me like you need an up to date ultrasound if nothing else. Incidentally, I have ended up having my whole thyroid removed but it was not until I went on a gluten free diet that the feeling of something stuck and the cough finally went!

You are not alone. I have had such problems for 12 years. Cessation of all thyroid meds cured all the dysphagia, ibs, etc. that cost many thousands of dollars and much personal misery. It's hard to believe that one tiny little 25mcg tablet could cause so many digestive problems! The doctor believes I have not an allergy, but a systemic reaction to the thyroid.

Since my thyroid was not real low in the beginning, at this point, the doc is watching the thyroid carefully in hopes that my natural thyroid will kick in and I can continue to feel good- and swallow and have a real life again.

Having read all these comments it has got me thinking. I have been on Thyroxine for 10 years now, 125mg and according to my blood tests levels are OK but, I get this dry catching cough which starts up periodically for no reason at all. I cough and choke for several minutes before it settles down again and I am now wondering if it could be connected to my thyroid.

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