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Irritant vocal cord dysfunction and silent acid reflux
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Irritant vocal cord dysfunction and silent acid reflux

Every once in a while I have an attack when I'm drinking something as simple as water or eating something and I suddenly feel like my airway just shuts down. I went to the doctor several years ago and he diagnosed me with silent acid reflux, said my throat was red and irritated from acid reflux. I tried meds but hated the way they made me feel, very moody. I haven't had an attack for a long time but this morning while drinking a smoothie I had another attack. It is soooo scary!  I literally feel like I can't breath in and start making a wheezing sound just to get some air and to breath out is impossible. I tried a technique the doctor showed me but it made it worse. I finally just leaned over against the counter  and worked toward getting myselft to breath again. My throat hurts and I'm hoarse and my chest hurts. This was the worst attack yet. While it was happening, my chest hurt clear into my shoulders and up the left side of my neck. I looked up my symtoms (symptoms) and found vocal cord dysfunction and it sounds just like what I experienced. Does anyone else have this or knows anything about this?
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63984_tn?1385441539
Yes, I had this condition.  I think you are dealing with multiple issues caused by the same problem, acid reflux.  

In my case, acid reflux affected my vocal cords, but also affected my ability to swallow.  My triggers were ice cream and tuna fish.  I would react exactly as you did. It's a very serious condition.  When your swallow reflex is compromised, you can panic, and that can lead to all sorts of problems.

I would suggest you have an Endoscopy and also have the test that looks at your ability to swallow.  In my case, my vocal cords eroded, and my teeth turned black as the acid eroded the enamel, and I developed a pre-cancerous condition.  I had a very successful surgery that corrected the problem (also had my teeth capped).  However, I have to have an annual test to be sure the pre-cancerous condition doesn't become something worse.

I'd strong urge you to get tests to determine the cause.  I know, I think, exactly what you are experiencing.  Stay in touch, and best wishes.
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63984_tn?1385441539
Yes, I had this condition.  I think you are dealing with multiple issues caused by the same problem, acid reflux.  

In my case, acid reflux affected my vocal cords, but also affected my ability to swallow.  My triggers were ice cream and tuna fish.  I would react exactly as you did. It's a very serious condition.  When your swallow reflex is compromised, you can panic, and that can lead to all sorts of problems.

I would suggest you have an Endoscopy and also have the test that looks at your ability to swallow.  In my case, my vocal cords eroded, and my teeth turned black as the acid eroded the enamel, and I developed a pre-cancerous condition.  I had a very successful surgery that corrected the problem (also had my teeth capped).  However, I have to have an annual test to be sure the pre-cancerous condition doesn't become something worse.

I'd strong urge you to get tests to determine the cause.  I know, I think, exactly what you are experiencing.  Stay in touch, and best wishes.
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1655526_tn?1330659229
Thank you for responding and for the advice. I had an Endoscopy a few years ago and they said my throat was just red and irritated caused by acid reflux which I never expected because I don't ever have the heart burn and burning stomach issues. The doc put me on  prilosec and another one I don't remember. After a few days I felt very depressed and moody so I stopped that asap and just tried to make a few changes in my diet like not drinking as much diet pop.

Recently my back issues have flared up so I've had to take aleve as an anti inflamatory which helps so I think that's why the acid reflux is back. I only take one aleve a day instead of 2 but I guess I can't even do that which is frustrating.

Whenever I have an attack, it starts with a tickle feeling, i'm supposing on my vocal cords. It feels like there is absolutely nothing I can do about it when it starts but brace myself. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve on how to get the vocal cord to relax so I can breath again?
I've read that if you pass out the vocal cord will relax but I worry that it won't. It is such a helpless feeling.

I'm going to call a new doctor today. Wasn't very happy with the last one. He suggested that if the meds didn't work to stop the attack I might see a psychiatrist. I'll keep you posted.
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1655526_tn?1330659229
Went to the ear, nose, & throat specialist. I have Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. He put me on two types of meds, Prevacid and something else (haven't picked up perscription yet) for 2 months. Says it is a slow cure and to relax when I have an attack, pretty hard to do when you can't breath.
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63984_tn?1385441539
I don't think your vocal cords have anything to do with your problem breathing during an attack.  My vocal cords are severely damaged, but that's a result of being burned from acid.
Some foods can affect the ability of the esophagus to swallow.  I think that you are experiencing this.  Another cause is the vagal nerve.  This can cause a person to pass out, and when it is stimulated, it's very frightening.  I saw my son eat too large of a portion of food and the vagal nerve was affected, and he dropped.  From what you are describing, I'm betting you have a problem with your 'swallow' reflex.  I assure you, your vocal cords aren't causing the problem.  
Previcid is a great product when taken as directed.  What is the other drug?  
Don't mess with this problem, take the drugs as prescribed, and exactly as prescribed.  Also keep a log to see what foods trigger the problem, then eliminate them.  
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1655526_tn?1330659229
Actually, the doctor showed my on his diagrams how the vocal cords, if irritated, close up to protect anything from going down the windpipe. He said the acid from reflux has the vocal cords already irritated and when  anything else irritates them sometimes even water they spasm and close. The other morning when I had the choking episode, it was on a smoothie with flax seed that I blend in for the omega 3. I hadn't had anything else to eat yet and was just starting to drink it. I felt something tickle something in my throat (speck of flax seed I suppose) and that's when the wheezing for air started. I've choked on water before. My husband did the heimleich and got it to stop. If it's the foods, it seems that very small things bother it like the flax seed, or after eating almonds. One time I was biting on a sucker and felt a small piece fly to the back of my throat before the attack.

I've had to use vagal manuevers many times before to stop my heart from racing 250 bpm.(just had an ablation for SVT) So I don't think it's the vagal nerve. They could mimic the attack but I don't want to do that...no way. Thanks for the thoughts on it. Whatever it is, is definitely related to the reflux. I haven't picked up the perscription yet so I don't know what the other med is. I'm reluctant to take meds because of heart arrythmias. If it's not one thing when you get older, it certainly is another.
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1655526_tn?1330659229
I've been researching the vagal nerve and I think you're on to something with it. When the vagal nerve is irritated it can cause dizziness, choking, swallowing problems, heart palpitations, and digestion problems which in turn can cause acid reflux. I have all of those issures. The vocal cords can be affected by the vagal nerve so it's all making more sense. Don't know if I really need the reflux meds. He said my throat was mildly red. Going for the natural cure.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have severe acute VCD also called Paradoxical Vocal Cord Dysfunction which has led to being intubated and on the vent 18x in 6 years. It mimics a asthma attack so unless the dr is VERY educated on VCD, they can make it worse. GERD, which I also have, is a very small part of VCD. For me, this condition has led to complications and heart problems such as microvessel heart disease and diabetes d/t all the steroids. I am in the icu approx every 8 weeks. I now get Botox injections every 6-8 weeks which paralyzes my vocal cords and I can only whisper but it keeps my vocal cords from going into spasm. My dr also found that when I am having a bad attack if they put me under conscious sedation it completely relaxes my body and stops the attack immediately.,I was a ICU/ER nurse for 10 years before this Dx and in fact was dx'd w/ severe asthma after going into respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest (I was 32) before going to the UCSD and finding out w/ the real problem is but the damage to my heart has already been done. I go into SVT very easily so controlling my heart rate during an attack is crucial. People that say VCD is "no big deal" obviously are uneducated or has only a mild case. A bad attack can lead to complete resp failure. If you even think you have this go see a ENT at major research hospital like at a university. The National Jewish Center for Health in Denver (don't let the name fool you, it's not only for Jewish people :)) specializes in VCD and has been a wonderful resource for my DRs & I. This disease coupled w/ my heart condition had left me disabled and on oxygen. Getting supplemental o2 during an attack is critical. Sometimes a anti-anxiety med given IV can stop a bad attack right away, but if not, let them do whatever they need to do to stabilize you. In the very worst cases patients end up w/ a tracheotomy. Asthma meds wil make it worse. Please see a knowledgeable MD as many ENT's are familiar w/ VCD but not experts and don't know all the treatment options. It sounds like you have a much milder care then me but it can get worse so look at the info on the National Jewish Health Center as they are the best in the Nation regarding respiratory problems and VCD. I live near San Diego and have been petitioning my insurance for me to be seen there. So far I have been denied but we will keep trying. Also speech therapy can be a big help in teaching VCD pt's how to redirect their breathing patterns. Best of luck to you.
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This info might help as well: http://www.theasthmacenter.org/index.php/disease_information/vocal_cord_dysfunction/
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681148_tn?1285160820
I have VCD and had surgery for GERD, so I can truly say that I feel for you.  And, I agree that no one should be telling you that it's "no big deal".  After all, if the vocal cords close when they should be open, that does affect your breathing.  For years doctors thought I had asthma, too.  I saw with the camera down the throat what the vocal cords were doing--the opposite of what they should be doing.  It happens less often since having the nissen fundoplication, but it's still a much bigger deal than people assume that it is.
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Hello, my son has severe VCD, he is triggered by so many things, perfumes, cleaning chemicals, smoke, grass, flowers, anxiety, exercise, etc. He is 20 years old and has not left the house for over 3 months, except for Dr. Appointments. He has had so many attacks that now his epiglottis is damaged. They said he now has laryngomalacia, which the doctors we have taken him to have never seen before.  We are waiting to find out if anyone at the mayo clinic can help him. He has silent reflux which is what they think caused it. It will be a year this march since he was diagnosed. The only thing that helps him when he has an attack is Ativan.  Do you think the national Jewish hospital could help him?
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