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Vocal Cord Dysfunction


Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD), also known as Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM), is a condition that stops the vocal cords from opening properly. When they are not opened properly, it becomes difficult for them to close properly. This makes breathing a challenge.  Someone experiencing VCD has trouble expelling hair from their lungs. 

How is VCD Different From Asthma?

Asthma and VCD are frequently confused because of the similarities in symptoms. For Vocal Cord Dysfunction, the vocal cord muscles tighten, whereas with asthma the bronchial tubes tighten. In addition, VCD is not considered an allergic response that starts in the immune system and Asthma is.

The confusion with Vocal Cord Dysfunction and Asthma can most likely be seen from people experiencing both conditions together. This confusion can be threatening if is it not taken care of.

Treating VCD  and Asthma is also another major difference. VCD treatment includes speech therapy and deep breathing techniques, whereas Asthma treatment includes allergy shots and sublingual tablets. The trouble of both of them being so similar is that they a patient may be misdiagnosed with no relief from the symptoms.

Causes of Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), or more commonly known as Acid Reflux, has been seen as one of the major possible causes of Vocal Cord Dysfunction symptoms. The inflammation of the airway may be caused by GERD and Rhinosinusitis. Listed below are other causes of VCD:

  • Post-nasal drip
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Upper Respiratory Infection
  • Stress
  • Exercise


With similar symptoms of Asthma, VCD is difficult to spot.  If you experience any of these symptoms or believe you have been misdiagnosed, check in with your local allergist.

Most symptoms of VCD are:
•    Difficulty breathing
•    Throat tightness
•    Hoarse voice
•    Voice changes

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