Vocal Cord dysfunction?
Has anyone had a very frightening episode, very similar to drowning, where your vocal cords spasm, and close? No air can get in your lungs and it literally feels like you will die without air.
This has happened 3 times, a long (several years or months) time between attacks. It lasts about 2-3 minutes but of course feels much longer.
I do have appointment with a ENT dr. in several weeks, but am frightened it will happen again before I see him.
Any exercise or preventative hints?
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I didn’t have breathing problems but developed nodules on my vocal cords when I regurgitated during a routine procedure while under anesthesia and lost my voice. Until you see the ENT I would try some gentle breathing exercises, drink plenty of fluids and, to keep your lungs open may I suggest steam. You can use the old fashioned method of putting a towel over your head while bending over a pot of boiling water. I ended up going to speech therapy and these were some of the things I was told to do for the vocal cords and also to keep your lungs open. Do what you are comfortable doing and don’t let stress interfere…I can imagine how scary this all is. Remain as calm as you can as stress may trigger an episode.
Thanks for your tips, they are very much appreciated. I do have a steam humidifier & use it before bedtime. The problem, as you might imagine, is that no air can get past my vocal cords until the spasm passes. But if it happens again, I shall try. The humidifier is set up by my bed & ready to use.
This is a horrific condition- I can only hope the dr. can help before it happens again.
Hello, I have a few vocal disorders and about two weeks ago had my second vocal procedure/surgery. 3 days post op I started to have a very tingling, prickling sensation in my vocal cords and that's followed by several twitches and spasms. They happen in clusters then stop. Some are more severe then others and it feels like my airways is obstructed till the spasm stops. Anyone know what this prickling and spasming sensation could be in the vocal cords? It's very frighting and I'm not sure what I do. Thank you!
Hi @jennymccormick. With this new development of vocal spasms after your recent vocal surgery it would be important to have that checked out by your physician. You mentioned that this is your second surgery for a vocal disorder. Did the spasms happen after the first surgery too? Have you contacted your doctor or surgeons office?
Thank you for the response. I have a follow up appointment today with my Dr/Laryngologist so I'm hoping he can let me know what this is. I did have a bit of a prickling sensation after the first procedure but there wasn't actual spasms like this. It's like they escalated into full blown attacks of spasms this time. Have you ever heard of anything like this? Thank again!
Hi Jenny, it’s good that you’re able to see your doctor today. They’ll be the best person to give you answers. This is out of my area of experience but my gut reaction was to have you be seen sooner than later. Especially since the long holiday week is approaching.
I wasn’t able to find anyone in our forum with similar symptoms. But your experience will be a good one to share. We never know how many people we impact by sharing our stories. Let me know what you find out, ok?
Hello I did find out from my Laryngologist that I'm having what is called Laryngospasms. It's spasms of the vocal cords that can vary in severity but the vocal cords can spasms and totally close cutting off the airway. We went over rescued breathing techniques and other plans for my case. For my case it's nerve injury related so mine should dissipate soon. Very scary stuff ..
Hi Jenny, the news that the vocal cord spasms aren’t serious has to be a relief. And now you have a plan going forward for those panicky situations when you do have the constricting events.
I know sometimes we tend to not want to ‘bother’ our doctors when we have unexplained symptoms we hope will go away on their own. But I’ve learned from experience to just call or get it touch via patient portal and go right to the best answer source. Our medical partners would rather we ask than suffer in silence. 🙂
I’m glad this worked out for you and I hope the spasms end soon. Did your laryngologist give you a time frame for recovery?
Just noticed your 2020 post. Yes- I was diagnosed with laryngospasm (unusual folds in vocal cords) and have had the actual spasms on 4 different occasions over the past 5 years. It causes my trachea to seal shut and NO AIR in ! I almost pass out but if I start to calm my self down it slowly releases and I get to gasp air in a little at a time. Scares me everytime. My ENT gave me some things to try and also suggested that when it happens again I should get comfortable in the floor and be prepared to pass out. He said if I actually pass out it would release the spasm and I would start breathing again.
Here’s what I follow now and it works. :
Try not to panic or gasp for air. Remaining calm can help you relax more through the laryngospasm.
Take small sips of club soda. This will help wash away any irritants that may have come in contact with your vocal cords.
Apply pressure behind your earlobes. The soft spot behind your earlobes and just above your jaw is known as the laryngospasm notch. When you apply forceful pressure down and inward on this pressure point, it can help your vocal cords relax.
I keep small cans of club soda in the fridge, my purse, my car, and with my dentist office. This always works for me. Good luck and hope you have found a good technique.