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  • Writer's pictureJanet Savva

What is Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction?

Updated: Mar 27

Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction (ILO) is a disorder where the vocal cords may try to close instead of staying open when you breathe in. This squeezing makes the airway narrower and makes it harder to pull air into the lungs.  Laryngospasm is the severest form of ILO when the vocal cords slam together suddenly, forcefully, and involuntarily and block off the upper airway. This disrupts breathing and can cause audible gasping sounds.


Other terms for ILO include Paradoxical Vocal Cord Motion (PVCM), Laryngospasm and Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD).


Causes of Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction:


There are many different possible causes of ILO. Often no cause can be found. It may be caused by:


  • Upper respiratory infection (cold)

  • Strong odours or fumes

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Post-nasal drip

  • Strong emotions and stress

  • Exercise


Symptoms of Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction:




How can Speech and Language Therapy help with Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction?


As a Speech and Language Therapist I have an expert knowledge about the complexities of larynx and upper airway.   I will work with you to assess and diagnose your breathing difficulties.  This may require additional investigations such as an examination of upper airway and larynx (voice box) by an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant to aid diagnosis and treatment planning.  Furthermore, you may require investigations with a Respiratory Physician to rule out any lower respiratory tract illness such as asthma.  


At your initial consultation I will take a comprehensive case history which will include a review of your medical history, any medications you take regularly and your lifestyle.  We will explore how these could be impacting on your breathing difficulties.   I will work with you to identify the triggers of your ILO and coach you in strategies to terminate an attack. 


You may need to return for individual behavioural therapy in which I will coach you in a variety of activities aimed at body awareness, relaxation, breathing and breath control exercises.  The number of therapy sessions you require will depend on the cause and severity of your breathing problem or any contributing medical problems.  However most importantly your progress will be influenced by your commitment to making lifestyle changes and practicing your therapy activities outside of sessions.    


Contact me for a free 15 minute telephone consultation to see if I can help you.

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