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my granddaughter has a tube like piece in the back of her throat that sticks up when she opens her mouth and you look down her throat you can see. is that her esophagus or laranex or what.can it cause her harm

By Anonymous January 12, 2009 - 3:28pm
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my daughter was told when she was a baby that as she got older it would go down to where it would not be seen. she is 8 and it still sticks up. can she choke from that?will it ever go away? she seems to have bad breath all time, is that the cause?

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Anon, do you remember what the doctor called the tube when your granddaughter was a baby?

Could it be her eustachian tube? This is the tube that connects her middle ear to her throat. Or was it called something else?

Are the doctors at all concerned about it now? What does your granddaughter's pediatrician say now that she's 8?

The eustachian tube is responsibile for equalizing pressure inside our ears with that in the outside world. It's why, for instance, your ears "pop" when you're on an airplane. In children it's quite short, and in fact that shortness is one of the reasons so many children get ear infections and/or ear tubes. Here's a diagram of its path:


You probably don't have to be worried about choking; that happens when a foreign object has actually blocked the upper airway.

Does your granddaughter still have her tonsils? Small pockets in the tonsils, called tonsil stones, can actually trap food particles until they rot, which could be responsible for her bad breath. They appear as small white nodules on her tonsils.

Here's a web forum discussion of tonsil stones in children:


Does any of this help? Please feel free to write back with more details and let us see if we can help with better answers.

January 13, 2009 - 10:26am
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Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

It's her epiglottis. It's supposed to be there. It closes off the windpipe from foreign matter and channels food down her esophagus. Her bad breath is probably due to her tonsils.
Your doc was right. Most people's epiglottis's drop down farther into their throats as they get older. She's fine.

August 24, 2010 - 1:42pm
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