Let’s talk about vocal cord dysfunction

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Vocal cord dysfunction is known as an abnormal expansion of the vocal cords during breathing and it can also be called paradoxical vocal fold motion during the respiratory cycle. Vocal cords are located deep inside your throat and in your larynx. Your vocal cords open during an inward breath. These help transfer breath to your trachea and lungs. If you are suffering from this disorder, you can contact the best ENT specialist in Lahore.

This inaccurate vocal cord motion induces an abnormal narrowing of the voice box. The voice box narrowing leaves only a little opening for air to flow through the vocal cords, which can result in a feeling of difficulty moving air into or out of the lungs. This condition can appear in people of any age, but this problem is common in the age group of 20 to 40 years. Women are more prone to it than men.



This is a type in which your vocal cords begin to shrink. Your ability to speak is impaired and you may experience a lot of difficulties breathing. Environmental irritants and reflux (GERD) can cause this type.

Exercised induced VCD:

This is when the vocal cords advance toward the center when you are breathing during high-intensity activity, making it tough to take air in.

Irritant-induced VCD:

Fumes, strong scents, pollutants, and chemicals play an important role in the development of Irritant-induced VCD.

Stress-induced VCD:

Stress disorders, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks can cause this type of vocal cords dysfunction. So it is important how to manage your stress.


VCD can occur suddenly and be either benign or intense. If an acute spell is mild, you may not have any signs. When you do hold symptoms, most of them are caused by inhaled air pushing through a shorter area than normal. They arrive unexpectedly and can have an asthma attack.

Some of the symptoms of vocal cord dysfunction are explained below:

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling suffocating
  • wheezing, especially during breathing
  • chronic coughing
  • chronic throat clearing
  • throat tightness
  • very weak voice
  • a feeling of tightness in the chest
  • A high-pitched wheezing sound
  • Frequent coughing
  • Voice modifications.

These symptoms can be alarming, particularly when they come on unexpectedly. Some people feel tense, and frightened when they acquire them. This can produce it even harder for you to breathe. In somebody with asthma, similar signs can mean they’re having an extreme attack that can be life-threatening and requires prompt treatment. One significant dissimilarity between them is that wheezing is listened when you exhale with asthma, but it can also be heard when you inhale with VCD.


Some experts consider it a psychiatric disorder and believe that it is related to anxiety and stress. Recently, vocal cord dysfunction has been combined with gastroesophageal reflux disease. VCD shows its effect in various ways. Stress and anxiety are major triggers during social gatherings.

Other people have their VCD triggered by GERD or the inhalation of different environmental irritants such as strong scents or fragrances.

The following causes may induce vocal cord dysfunction:

  • Breathing in irritants
  • Exercise
  • A cold or viral disorder
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Psychological illnesses
  • Stress and anxiety disorder
  • depression and panic attacks

sinus infection and some drugs

Neuroleptic medicines like phenothiazines


Vocal cord dysfunction is a symptom that can be easily determined with a scope. Frequently patients with VCD will have noticed a pulmonologist and may be on inhaled steroids as many of the signs are equivalent to those of asthma or additional restrictive airway situations.

Difference between VCD and asthma:

Both asthma and vocal cord dysfunction can cause breathing difficulties. Signs and symptoms of either infection can contain coughing, wheezing, and throat tightness, but they’re two different conditions.

Vocal cord dysfunction is the strange closing of the vocal cords when you respire in or out. It’s also named laryngeal dysfunction, a paradoxical vocal cord movement disorder. Like asthma, vocal cord dysfunction can be started by breathing in lung hassles, including an upper respiratory condition or exercising.


Try to avoid anything that directly affects your vocal cord dysfunction. Stay away from places that generate smoke and give up the drugs that have side effects. Do not include foods in your daily life that aggravate your GERD.

For further consultation, you can contact the best ENT specialist in Islamabad.

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