Resource Center

Learn more about Vocal Cord Dysfunction

If you are having trouble breathing, there could be a number of issues at play. While asthma is a common cause of breathing difficulty, similar symptoms arise from a condition known as Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD).


As the name suggests, vocal cord dysfunction is a condition that causes the body's vocal cords to function improperly. It is also known as paradoxical vocal cord movement (PVFM), or laryngeal dysfunction.

Like asthma, vocal cord dysfunction is often triggered by strenuous exercise, stress, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LRD), infections, exposure to allergens and other irritants, and other factors. In addition, VCD often presents similar symptoms to asthma, such as coughing, wheezing, and tightness of the throat. However, while VCD has triggers and symptoms that are very similar to asthma, it is not an immune system reaction.


There are certain signs that indicate a patient may be suffering from VCD instead of asthma. These include:

  • More difficulty inhaling than exhaling when there is a flare-up of symptoms
  • Ineffectiveness of asthma medications
  • Results from pulmonary function tests or other asthma tests that return normal

Vocal cord dysfunction is generally treated by means of speech therapy and special breathing exercises. Since the treatment for vocal cord dysfunction is very different from the treatment for asthma, and asthma medications are ineffective in controlling symptoms of VCD, it is important for a trained medical professional to make an accurate diagnosis of the condition.

If you are suffering from wheezing, difficulty inhaling, a hoarse or tight throat, or other asthma-like symptoms, you may be coping with vocal cord dysfunction. The trained allergists and medical professionals at Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco can determine whether you have VCD, and provide you with the appropriate treatment options for this condition.

You might also look for

Learn more about Allergies and Asthma

See all articles

Skin Care: part two

Last time, we discussed the importance of eliminating the likely triggers to flare you and your little’s skin and the most crucial step to treating your sensitive skin. So, it’s time for a pop quiz! What ARE those 2 biggest triggers to flare sensitive skin? And what is the first step to treating your sensitive skin? (Don’t worry, answers will be below!)

Read more

Skin Care: part one

As promised, I wanted to take a few moments to address something we see in the Allergy clinic on a daily basis — sensitive skin. Almost all our patients, especially those who also have asthma and allergies, have some degree of sensitive skin. The severity of each patient’s skin sensitivity varies, and many of our patients struggle with the most severe form of sensitive skin — eczema.

Read more

Indoor Allergens

The most clinically relevant indoor allergens are cat, dog, and dust mites. For purposes of this post, I’m going to group cat and dog together and then provide 3 highlights for each one.

Read more

Food Allergy Key Concepts

Even as the prevalence of food allergy is increasing (up to 8% of kids in the US have a food allergy), it seems that the myths surrounding food allergy are also increasing. One of the things I love about my job as an allergy fellow is helping patients and their families work through these myths and establish true allergy versus intolerance.

Read more

Teal Pumpkin Project (Food Allergy Reasearch and Education - FARE)

Check out Dr. Gharfeh's segment with KCEN earlier this week on the importance of spreading food allergy awareness this Halloween.

Read more

6 Skin Allergy Conditions and Their Treatments

Allergies come in many different forms, ranging from mild reactions treatable with some quick over-the-counter medications, to others that can be severe and even lethal. While the worst case scenario is scary, there are ways to monitor and prevent potentially life-threatening reactions. Most commonly, you'll be facing much lighter, more treatable allergens. These can often be painful to deal with but won't necessarily result in risking your life.

Read more

Environmental Allergies in Children

Many children are excited because the school year is about to start up again and these next few weeks will be their best days of summer. With the free time coming to a close, families are eager to spend time outside, away from computers and other electronics. But for anyone dealing with seasonal environmental allergies, being outdoors can lead to sneezing, asthma attacks, and even rashes.

Read more

The Difference Between Food Allergies and Food Intolerances

Being uncomfortable is never a good feeling, regardless of what it's caused by. When you feel that type of unease, your body may feel tired or itchy, or a million other ways. If it's caused by allergies or intolerances, it's something you can pinpoint and avoid as needed. Additionally and fortunately, those uncomfortable feelings are acting as little alerts to let you know that something isn't right.

Read more

Ready to go home healthier and happier?

Our experienced and caring staff will work with you to determine the best course of action to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. In addition, we offer a variety of services to meet your individual needs, including allergy testing, immunotherapy, and education about allergen avoidance.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.