During a laryngeal spasm, your vocal cords suddenly seize or close when taking a breath, blocking airflow into the lungs. It often happens at night, with people waking up from a sound sleep unable to speak or breathe. It’s a frightening experience that usually goes away within a few minutes.
Laryngeal spasms are commonly associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). With these conditions, stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and causes irritation. When this happens regularly, the damage can reach the larynx and lead to vocal cord spasms.
Other causes include:
To identify the underlying cause of your laryngeal spasm, your SFENTA physician will examine your vocal cords for abnormalities, dysfunction and signs of GERD. Based on the findings of your exam, he or she will offer treatment recommendations to prevent future episodes.
Preventing additional laryngeal spasms will involve treating the underlying cause of your symptoms.
In most cases, this will involve a combination of the following:
If you experience a laryngeal spasm, try to stay calm. The experience is undeniably alarming, but it is not life-threatening. Contact SFENTA today to schedule an appointment, and our ear, nose and throat specialists will guide you through treating the underlying cause and preventing future occurrences.
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