What is a laryngeal spasm?

Laryngeal spasm, also known as laryngospasm, is a condition that affects the larynx or voice box. It involves the involuntary contraction of the vocal cord muscles, leading to the sudden and severe closure of the vocal cords. The spasm may temporarily interrupt airflow, leading to breathing difficulties and, in some cases, complete cessation of breathing for a moment.

Causes of laryngeal spasm

Laryngeal spasms can be triggered by various issues and while the exact cause may not always be clear, common triggers include:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Stomach acid that flows back into the esophagus and the throat can irritate the larynx, potentially leading to spasms.


Allergic reactions can cause inflammation in the throat, which may contribute to laryngeal spasms.


Exposure to irritating substances, such as smoke or chemicals, can lead to laryngospasms.

Emotional stress

Elevated levels of stress and anxiety may exacerbate laryngeal spasms. 


Some medications, especially those used to treat high blood pressure or heart conditions, can be associated with laryngospasms as a side effect.

Background media

What are the symptoms of laryngeal spasm?

Laryngospasms can manifest with various symptoms, including:

  • Sudden choking or gagging: A sensation of choking or gagging due to the temporary closure of the vocal cords.
  • Breathing difficulty: Difficulty in breathing, often accompanied by a wheezing or gasping sound.
  • Voice changes: Hoarseness or changes in the quality of the voice.
  • Chest discomfort: A feeling of tightness or discomfort in the chest. 

Are there ways to manage laryngeal spasms?

While laryngeal spasms can be distressing, there are management strategies that can help:

  • Lifestyle modifications: Identifying and avoiding triggers such as allergens, irritants, or dietary factors is an essential step in managing laryngeal spasms.
  • Medications: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms or treat underlying conditions that contribute to laryngeal spasms.
  • Speech therapy: Speech therapy and vocal exercises can help improve laryngeal control and reduce the frequency of spasms.
  • Stress reduction: Techniques for managing stress and anxiety, such as relaxation exercises or therapy, can be beneficial in reducing the occurrence of laryngospasms.
Background media

When to seek professional care

If you or a loved one experiences frequent or severe laryngeal spasms, it is advisable to seek professional help.

At Louisiana ENT Specialists, our team of experienced ENT specialists is well-equipped to diagnose and manage laryngeal spasms.

You should consider consulting a healthcare provider if you encounter:

  • Frequent or severe laryngospasms.
  • Persistent voice changes or discomfort in the throat.
  • Difficulty breathing or choking episodes that are affecting your daily life.

Our team at Louisiana ENT Specialists will work with you to perform a thorough evaluation, identify the underlying causes, and develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs.

Why choose Louisiana ENT Specialists for laryngeal spasm treatment?

Choosing Louisiana ENT Specialists for managing laryngeal spasms means selecting a team of dedicated ENT specialists with a reputation for delivering high-quality medical and surgical care.

With over 45 years of service and a network of over twenty-five physicians and specialists across six locations in Louisiana, Louisiana ENT Specialists prioritizes a patient-first philosophy. We take the time to understand your unique needs and deliver personalized care to ensure your well-being.

Do not let laryngeal spasms disrupt your life. Contact Louisiana ENT Specialists today to schedule an appointment and find relief from laryngeal spasm-related issues. Our team is here to help you breathe easier and speak more comfortably.

Background media


Are laryngeal spasms a life-threatening condition?

Laryngeal spasms can be distressing, but they are not typically life-threatening. However, in some cases, they can cause temporary breathing difficulties. If you experience frequent or severe laryngeal spasms, it is advisable to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and explore treatment options.

Can specific foods or drinks trigger laryngeal spasms?

While numerous factors, including diet, could trigger laryngeal spasms, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some individuals may find that certain foods or drinks exacerbate their symptoms, while others may not notice a direct correlation. It is essential to monitor your symptoms and discuss any potential triggers with a specialist.

What is the difference between laryngeal spasms and vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)?

Laryngeal spasms involve the involuntary closure of the vocal cords, which can lead to breathing difficulties. Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), on the other hand, is a separate condition where the vocal cords paradoxically close during inhalation, causing breathing problems. While the symptoms may overlap, the underlying mechanisms and treatments can differ.

Can laryngeal spasms be managed without medical intervention?

Lifestyle modifications and stress-reduction techniques can help manage laryngeal spasms to some extent. However, seeking professional medical advice is advisable in cases of frequent or severe spasms. Healthcare providers can offer a more accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatments or therapies.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

Find Your ENT Request Appointment
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (225) 769-2222.

We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customer ability to make phone calls to our facilities. If you are unable to reach us, please use this phone number 786-348-2775. We are in touch with AT&T to resolve this issue.

You can request an appointment HERE.