…A mysterious and difficult condition.
Idiopathic Laryngeal Obstruction (ILO – also known as paradoxical vocal cord motion (PVCM) and vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)) is a condition in which the vocal cords almost completely close when someone is trying to breathe. Because the vocal cords sit at the top of the airway, one can only breathe normally when they are open. Someone with ILO will find that they become breathless very easily on exertion (but feel the breathing difficulty originates in the throat), or they may have sudden acute attacks of being unable to breathe that are momentary. This little-known condition is often confused with asthma and therefore many ILO sufferers are prescribed asthma medications unnecessarily.
Idiopathic or refractory chronic cough often (but not always) co-exists with ILO. This is an ongoing cough that is usually non-productive of much phlegm and is from an unknown cause. It can be called ‘irritable larynx’, as it often feels like a chronic irritation.
People with ILO and chronic cough are often passed around from professional to professional and are made to endure multiple tests and medical interventions with little positive outcome. This is because nobody really knows what is going on. Luckily, Madeleine is a specialist in this area and can help to draw all of the information together to formulate a proper treatment plan and get rid of that laryngeal ‘irritation’ once and for all!