ZocdocAnswersMy tongue feels enlarged and pressure in my throat - should I worry?

Question

My tongue feels enlarged and pressure in my throat - should I worry?

I was relaxing watching television this afternoon and all the sudden I started to feel like someone was putting pressure on my neck like a tight necklace or tie. Then shortly after I noticed my tongue felt enlarged in my mouth and throat. I can breath and eat and drink, but when I stick my tongue out the pressure feeling in better. I am going to see my primary doc tomorrow but I'm concerned it will get worse. It has been about 4-5 hours since this happened and it has stayed the same. It feels way worse when I start freaking out, I feel the anxiety build. Once I calm down I fell back to the pressure feeling. I know allergy such as anaphalaxic reaction can cause the tongue to swell and block air way, but I was under the impression that comes on rapidly. There are probably a million reasons my tongur could be slightly enlarged, but should I not go to sleep. Can it suddenly get worse if its been the same for hours? If it was an allergic reaction would the symtoms already peaked?

Answer

Any time that the tongue feels enlarged with a pressure sensation in the throat, this could be a sign of a serious allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis or angioedema. These conditions can be life threatening, because they can lead to significant swelling in the throat, impairing the ability to breath. If you are concerned about tongue swelling, then I would advise going immediately to an emergency room for evaluation. Because of the potential seriousness of anaphylaxis, this is not a condition that should be 'waited on.' Although symptoms typically develop rapidly, then can also gradually worsen over a period of hours. In the emergency room, the doctors will be able to examine you closely for any objective signs of tongue swelling, face swelling, wheezing, or other symptoms consistent with an allergic reaction. If any of these symptoms are found, they can give you immediate treatment with rapid acting medications to help reduce the swelling and keep you safe. Once the acute period is over, you will be able to follow up with your primary care doctor for help figuring out what might have triggered the attack and how to avoid similar attacks in the future. Go to the emergency room right away!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.