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Comment & Response
May 2018

A Child’s Complaint of “Throat Freeze”—Not Brain Freeze—and Experiences With Zenker Diverticulum

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;144(5):461-462. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.3443

To the Editor I have come to learn that a Zenker diverticulum is an outpouching esophagus, diagnosed usually in older men. Mine was diagnosed in 2000 at age 32. My symptoms were consistent with those described in the literature. When eating grapefruit, gurgling was so loud that others commented. Sneezing occasionally produced food.

But the symptom I felt first was “throat freeze” as a child. Readers likely identify with brain freeze from eating ice cream. That affects the forehead of course, at least mine does. But after soccer as a child, when a parent bought slushies, time after time my first sips zapped a freeze into my throat that was overwhelming. I remember palming my throat for warmth, hunching over seeking relief, urging the burn to pass, which it quickly did. I would rise and ask, “Do you guys get throat freeze?” No one knew what I meant.

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