Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Vocal cord dysfunction describes the uncontrolled closing of the vocal cords when breathing in. Vocal cord dysfunction may occur with or without asthma, and may also occur as a result of postnasal drainage (postnasal drip), or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At the Center for Allergy & Asthma of Georgia, our specialists test and treat vocal cord dysfunction.

Signs and Symptoms of Vocal Cord Dysfunction

The symptoms of vocal cord dysfunction are very similar to those of asthma, and it may be difficult to differentiate the two conditions.

Symptoms of vocal cord dysfunction include:

  • Constriction of airways
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Stridor: high-pitched, constant sound

In severe cases, the skin may become discolored due to a severe lack of oxygen. Should oxygen deprivation persist, extreme cases may result in unconsciousness and require emergency care.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Vocal Cord Dysfunction?

In addition to people who suffer from asthma or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes excess stomach acid to backflow into the throat, burning the esophagus and vocal cords, vocal cord dysfunction also develops in people who:

  • Younger women, though younger men may as well
  • People who recover quickly from sudden attacks
  • Have more issues breathing in than out
  • Do not respond to asthma treatment
  • Produce normal lung function tests
  • Experience dry coughing
  • Experience postnasal drip

Vocal cord dysfunction is rarely triggered during the night, and it may develop in people diagnosed with anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Consult With an Atlanta Specialist About Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Our board-certified specialists at the Center for Allergy & Asthma in Metro Atlanta are highly experienced with treating asthma-related disorders such as vocal cord dysfunction. While vocal cord dysfunction may be debilitating, it is a treatable condition. Our offices implement a no-wait policy to ensure you receive the immediate care you need.

Schedule a consultation with our board-certified medical doctors in the metro Atlanta area to begin your vocal cord dysfunction treatment.


Our offices are conveniently located throughout Metro Atlanta, including offices in Hiram, Peachtree City/Fayetteville, Villa Rica, Smyrna/Vinings, Acworth/Kennesaw, Douglasville, Griffin, Newnan, and Carrollton. Speak with our highly trained staff at (770) 459-0620 or request an appointment via our online contact form.

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