Vocal cord dysfunction is the uncontrolled closing of the vocal cords
when you breathe in. The symptoms can seem to be the same as those of
asthma and may occur alone or along with asthma. If
you have asthma and vocal cord dysfunction, it may be difficult for you to tell
the difference between symptoms of the two conditions.
Sometimes vocal cord dysfunction happens quickly and may require a
trip to the emergency room. The condition occurs in both men and women but may
be more common in women who are high achievers.
If you have asthma, you probably keep at least one inhaler with you at all times. These portable gizmos let you breathe in bursts of medication. A control inhaler is used on a regular basis to prevent the inflammation that blocks your airways. A rescue inhaler can deliver treatments for the sudden onset of symptoms like:
Shortness of breath
Tightness in the chest
Usually has normal results
on lung function tests, such as
May not respond to standard
The attacks usually do not occur at night. Also, the harsh,
high-pitched sound of air coming into a tight airway (stridor) may be heard at
Some forms of vocal cord dysfunction occur in people who do not have
asthma and/or GERD. In these people, vocal cord dysfunction may be associated
post-traumatic stress disorder, and a history of being
This condition may be treated with psychotherapy and speech
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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