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This information was reviewed and approved by J. Tod Olin, MD, MSCS (9/1/2017).

Treatment for patients diagnosed with vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) or inducible laryngeal obstruction (ILO), includes medical and behavioral care. Medicine alone will not help alleviate the condition.

Behavioral Treatment

Speech therapy is the basis of treatment. Individualized exercises and techniques are taught to help you:

  • Learn and feel comfortable using different breathing techniques. National Jewish Health invented the latest breathing methods

  • Increase awareness of body posture

  • Encourage throat muscles to relax

  • Decrease vocal cord sensitivity to odors, temperature changes, exercise and other triggers.

The goal of therapy is to teach you techniques to prevent, and ultimately eliminate VCD/ILO.

Our speech-language pathology team offer office sessions and challenge sessions. During a challenge session,  we expose patients to their triggers or exercise environments and teach symptom management.


Therapeutic Laryngoscopy

Specialized providers use real-time video footage of the throat to help you learn breathing techniques.



If you also have the conditions below, you will be treated for them too.

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Chronic sinus problems
  • Postnasal drip
  • Reflux.



Supportive counseling is an important part of treatment. It  can help people adjust to a new diagnosis and a new treatment program. Counseling can also help identify and deal positively with stress. Stress may be an underlying factor in VCD/ILO. Most people with VCD/ILO find counseling to be very beneficial. Sometimes performance psychologists can be helpful for people with exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO).

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.