Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) also known as  Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM) occurs when the vocal cords (voice box) do not open correctly. This disorder is also referred to as paradoxical vocal fold movement.

Symptoms of asthma and VCD are alike that’s why VCD is sometimes confused with asthma. Many people with asthma also have VCD but unlike asthma, VCD is not an allergic response starting in the immune system. Although the two may have similar triggers and symptoms, the treatment approach for VCD is very different than treatments used to manage and control asthma. This makes proper diagnosis essential.

Symptoms of VCD can include:

  •    Difficulty Breathing
  •    Coughing
  •    Wheezing
  •    Throat Tightness
  •    Hoarse Voice
  •    Voice Changes

Unlike asthma, VCD causes more difficulty breathing in than breathing out. The reverse is true for symptoms of asthma.


Diagnosing VCD can be challenging. It can be helpful if you discuss with your doctor your history of breathing difficulties when taking in a breath, having a hoarse voice or experiencing voice changes.This may lead to further tests such as spirometry or laryngoscopy.

  • Spirometry is a breathing test that measures airflow.
  • Laryngoscopy involves looking at the vocal cords through a camera attached to a flexible tube. Vocal cords should be open when taking in a breath. In some people with VCD, the vocal cords actually close instead of opening.



Treatment for VCD is different from asthma. It usually involves involves activities that relax the throat muscles including:

  •    Speech therapy
  •    Deep breathing techniques

If you suffer from asthma, allergies or GERD, managing these conditions will help in treating VCD.

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