Reviewed by Speech-Language Pathologists Heather L. Hodges (Gustafson), MA, CCC-SLP, Julie J. Bergquist, CCC-SLP, MA, Kristina Johnston, MA, CCC-SLP
Possible triggers of vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) [or paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM)] are often similar to asthma triggers. However, it is important to know that not all people who experience VCD have asthma.

The following are some common triggers for VCD:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Exposure to airborne irritants (e.g., pollution, chemicals, allergens)
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux (i.e., "silent reflux")
  • Strong odors or fumes
  • Cigarette/fire smoke
  • Exercise/exertion
  • Singing
  • Laughing
  • Environmental change (e.g., cold air, change in temperature or moisture)
  • Heightened emotions
  • Stress/anxiety/tension

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