Finding the Answer to Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD)
Also known as Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM), VCD is a vocal and breathing symptom which is usually caused by a restriction of your airway at the larynx. This unintended restriction of your vocal cords (folds) results in the breathing or squeaking sound you often hear when exercising excessively. The most common cause of VCD is injury or disease of your vocal cord. It is not known why some people are prone to it while others are not, but there are a number of factors which can be taken into consideration, including age, genetics, medical history and lifestyle.
In addition, it is possible for vocal cord injuries to be a result of a trauma to the neck or head. The symptoms that are often associated with VCD include hoarseness, choking, coughing, wheezing, hacking, humming, whistling and lisping.
Some of the triggers for VCD are the same as those for asthma, but others are different. These can include:
- Stress or Anxiety
- Psychosocial issues
- Post Nasal Drip
- Cough from irritants or viral illness
- Voice strain – yelling, singing or excessive talking
There are various treatments available, such as surgery, physiotherapy and vocal exercises like singing. However, unless you experience only one or two of these symptoms in a minor way, it is important to seek out an explanation for the discomfort, to ensure that your problems are actually caused by vocal cord dysfunction, rather than asthma, or something else.
After seeking advice from your doctor, to ensure you have a correct diagnosis, you may choose to look at alternative treatment methods. One popular solution is to seek assistance through vocal training with a speech therapist. There are several different techniques, and some work well for some people while others do not. The technique that works best depends on the person, and what kind of treatment they are looking for.
Another way of solving vocal cord problems is with surgery.
Whichever method you choose to solve your vocal cord dysfunction, it is important to bear in mind that it can take time for you to notice an improvement. It may seem like your condition is improving, only to find that a couple of weeks later that your symptoms have returned. If you have had VCD for a long period of time, or if your condition has been chronic, it may be difficult to correct the problem quickly, so consult your medical adviser to see if an alternative treatment might help.