Laryngospasm: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

Laryngospasm: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies. Laryngospasm is a rather common medical condition characterized by an involuntary contraction of the vocal cords that causes a brief and partial breathing blockage. While the blockage lasts less than a minute and only prevents breathing in (not breathing out), the fact that it catches people by surprise may result in panic. This is especially true for small children as well as first time sufferers. Laryngospasm is often accompanied by symptoms such as stridor (a high-pitched sound during inspiration), difficulty breathing in or air hunger.

Retractions of the chest wall due to reduced air pressure inside the chest as a result of the breathing blockage as well as fear, anxiety and panic attacks due to experiencing a feeling of imminent death are common symptoms. Some people may experience watery eyes and sudden and excessive sweating. Laryngospasms can occur both in children and adults, both during the day and during the night. In the latter case, they are often triggered by acid reflux and will most likely cause sufferers to wake up from their sleep.

Laryngospasm

When it comes to children, laryngospasm represents a potentially serious medical condition that needs to be addressed by a medical professional immediately. Children are much more susceptible to oxygen deprivation and lack the control needed to manage the breathing blockage.
Types of laryngospasm. The condition can be classified as minor laryngospasm and illness-induced laryngospasm. The former occurs and resolves by itself and sufferers are advised to keep calm and breathe slowly until the attack passes. Drinking water can also help clear allergens. The latter can be a result of illness affecting the airways, acid reflux, allergy, hypocalcemia (low blood calcium levels), anesthesia or various medical procedures acting on the vocal folds. In this case, sufferers need to address the cause of their laryngospasm attack such as taking acid reflux medication or keeping away from potential irritants or allergens.

What are the causes of laryngospasm?
1) Gastroesophageal reflux. Laryngospasm occurring especially at night is often caused by gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux, which can be symptomatic or asymptomatic (learn more about acid reflux symptoms). If your healthcare provider suspects acid reflux is the cause, he or she can prescribe you special medication called antacids to treat the underlying condition. However, some antacids (especially the tablets that disintegrate or the powder antacids) can encourage a laryngospasm episode themselves. This is possible because when they disintegrate in the mouth, they may leave grainy particles stuck to the throat. These particles may dry out the mucous membrane and lead to an episode.

If acid reflux is responsible for your laryngospasms and the tablet or powder antacids dry out your throat, talk to your doctor about a better alternative for you. Drinking a bit of room temperature water after taking the antacid can help wash down any particles potentially stuck to your throat lining. Also, when dealing with a midnight laryngospasm episode, remember to keep calm, breathe slowly and drink water at regular intervals. It is important that the water be at room temperature.

2) Low humidity. Low humidity in your home means the air might be too dry and this may trigger laryngospasms. A good night’s sleep requires air moisture to be between 40% and 50%. While setting pots of water on radiators or stoves or leaving damp clothes to dry in the room might create a little bit more humidity, you can achieve more by purchasing a good humidifier.

Laryngospasm remedies

The use of indoor heating during winter in particular can make air humidity drop as low as 10%, in which case you will need a good humidifier to help prevent the lining of your throat (and nose) from drying and causing laryngospasms. Also, as a general rule, it might be best to avoid sitting or sleeping next to a radiator, convector or other heating device that might also blow warm air because it can dry out your throat faster and encourage an episode (I speak from experience).

3) Sore and dry throat. Everytime our throat lining becomes dry and sore, we are at risk for laryngospasms. Contracting the flu or a common cold or any other respiratory disease for that matter will most likely cause a sore throat, while air pollutants, irritant substances, pollen, allergens, cigarette smoke or swallowing salty sea water will cause your throat lining to dry out. Practicing good hygiene, avoiding going out on hot and dry, windy days and staying away from irritants can significantly help reduce laryngospasm frequency.

While keeping yourself away from irritants, allergens, cigarette smoke, maintaining good humidy levels in your home and avoiding outdoor activities on dry, windy days can be great ways of reducing the risk for laryngospasm, it is just as important to know how to act when you feel your airways are closing and you cannot breathe properly.
So here are 7 great useful tricks and remedies for dealing with laryngospasm:

1) Keep calm and breathe slowly. Keping as calm as possible when having a laryngospasm not only helps you better assess the situation and see if you should seek medical help or not, but also allows you to preserve your energy, sanity and control over your breathing. Panicking can increase your oxygen need and, since you are already not getting enough air, it might just make things worse. Reember to avoid talking, unnecessary movements or physical effort.

2) Drink water. Slowly sipping on room-temperature water when having a laryngospasm is extremely important. More often than not, laryngospasms are triggered by allergens or irritants acting directly on the throat lining. Water helps render such substances inactive which can stop the spasm almost immediately. For me, naturally sparkling water is sometimes more effective than still water because of its bubbles which seem to help my airways open quicker. Moreover, I feel that sparkling water is better and more efficient at inactivating allergens or washing down bothersome substances.

Make sure you have a glass or bottle of water within arm’s reach at all times or carry a small 500 ml water bottle with you all the time, especially when doing outdoor activities. Also, make sure the water is at room temperate so you don’t stress your larynx even more.

3) Hot steam. In the event of a severe crisis, get some water and go straight to the bathroom. Turn the hot water on in the shower, sink, etc. and let it fill the bathroom with hot steam. The entire bathroom should fill with steam in less than a minute. Not only will the hot steam increase air humidity to a maximum, allowing you to breathe better, but it will also help inactivate allergens and irritants from your hair, throat, nose and clothes. Sip water slowly and try to relax and breathe the steam into your lungs. After the crisis has passed, remember to change your clothes (which may also contain allergens) and keep well hydrated.

4) Pay attention to colds and flu. Laryngospasms may occur with greater frequency when you cough or when your throat is full of phlegm due to a cold, for example. Practicing good hygiene and staying away from crowded places in flu season can make a great difference when it comes to preventing laryngospasm.

5) Treat your gastric reflux. Seen that acid reflux is a major trigger for laryngospasm, make sure you treat the condition properly by taking antacid medication prescribed by your doctor. Also, remember to never lie in bed as soon as you’ve eaten (digest first, then sleep) and learn to avoid the foods and beverages that may irritate your throat and stomach lining such as spicy foods or foods that you might find particularly hard to digest, such as bell peppers or garlic, coffee, sodas and others (find out more about what foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux).

6) Drink herbal teas. Drinking a not-too-hot cup of tea every now and then can have a beneficial effect on your vocal cords, helping them relax and reducing laryngospasm occurrence. Herbal infusions made from camomile, echinacea, lavender or Rooibos, for example, help relax your throat area and reduce inflammation that may contribute to worsening the condition.

7) Take your vitamin C. I speak from experience when I say that taking vitamin C supplements daily can improve your health considerably, especially when it comes to laryngospasm, asthma or allergies. If you feel your throat and vocal cords are irritated or inflamed due to exposure to allergens, cigarette or any kind of smoke, irritants and so on, pour yourself some water and take an effervescent vitamin C tablet of 1000 mg. The water will help inactivate allergens, while vitamin C will act as a potent local anti-inflammatory that can potentially prevent a laryngospasm episode. I take vitamin C every day because it also helps me control my allergies.

Conclusion. While it is a serious medical condition, laryngospasm can not only be kept under control, but also successfully prevented, should you learn to avoid the causes triggering it. Remember to remain calm, breathe slowly, avoid talking, turn on your hot water faucet in the shower and let steam fill the bathroom and drink room-temperature water in sips. Should you feel, at any point, overwhelmed, seek medical attention immediately.

78 Replies to “Laryngospasm: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies”

  1. Just a couple of small tips I read elsewhere and which helped a bit with laryngospasms: during a laryngospasm, put you fingertips behind your earlobe on your neck and press hard. It’s called the Larson Manoevre (Larson Maneuver). Also, after a laryngospasm, or before if you get warning and the airways feel tight, close the mouth and sniff hard. You should find this helps a little to free the airway.

    • Thank you for the tips, Marie. I am confident many people will find your advice useful and maybe get over laryngospasms a little bit easier. Wishing you lots of health.

  2. Hi Marius and thank you for your reply. Today my voice seemed much better, the best in weeks and I met up with a friend which unfortunately involved lots of talking although I was limited by how much I could speak. Alas since being home I have coughed more and had more laryngospasms so the lesson here has been learnt the hard way and I’m back to square one. It’s easy to just talk when you feel and sound better but utterly soul destroying to have the spasms back as frequently as they were a few weeks ago. Clearly silence for me will have to be the way forward.
    Regarding the acid thing, if I do have it then it’s the silent type and I feel disheartened having to take meds for something I may not have. Whilst GERD seems to be the main cause of chronic laryngitis and laryngospasms, I feel sure my problems was caused by violent coughing over a prolonged period, even though the doctor could not see an obvious injury. It may of course be silent GERD which coincidentally has flared up. I am looking at how to mitigate acidity in my diet and also looking to lose a few pounds too. Thanks again. Best wishes and good health to you too.

    • Hi Marie,

      I am experiencing the same symptoms as you described. I had a cough for several weeks and then last week when I started coughing, I had the laryngospasms. This week my coughing has reduced greatly but still have spasms when I cough or today had one when I sneezed. I am going to see an ENT tomorrow and hoping to figure this out.

  3. Hello, about 6 weeks ago I started having a light cough which started getting worse over the next week. After about 10 days I went to Urgent Care and was prescribed Mucinex and something that was suppose to stop post nasal drip and was told to return if the cough didn’t stop in next 10 days. It didn’t help and was than prescribed antibiotics which didn’t help. So into the 4th week I started waking up in middle of the night gasping for air. I did this for 3 nights and than started sleeping in a chair which did help. I am now having these episodes several times a day but can mostly control them by breathing slowly through the nose and calming myself. The night time ones are another story because they are more severe. I went to a ENT which said it was my acid reflux and told me to take Nexium OTC 3 times a day and elevate the head of my bed 6 inches. That was 6 days ago and it really hasn’t helped but I am hoping it is something that needs time to heal. I return to the ENT Doctor in 17 more days. I am also watching what I eat and I don’t eat anything after 5:30 PM. At this point the cough seems to be loosing up and not so dry but laryngospasms continue. I really hate the night ones. I am 60 years old and this is the first time I’ve experienced something like this.

    • I am sorry to hear about this, Michael. It seems you started having laryngospasms because of a bad acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when, for some reason, stomach juices rise up into the esophagus and sometimes as far up as the mouth. This damages the fine mucous lining and even affects the vocal cords, potentially causing hoarseness, coughing, burning sensation and laryngospasms. The reason why laryngospasms happen at night or seem to be worse during the night is because you are lying in bed which makes it easier for stomach juices to escape into the esophagus. It also takes longer for you to feel the acidity and wake up from it. Sometimes, it is not strong enough to wake you up, but still damages the esophagus. It is important to take the medication your doctor prescribed as recommended to reduces the production of stomach acid and allow the esophagus to repair itself. It’s just as important to learn what foods to eat and what foods to avoid for acid reflux.

      From my own experience with acidity, gastritis and laryngospasms, coffee, caffeinated foods and beverages, chocolate, cocoa, green tea, black tea, white tea, alcohol are the worst foods. You can read more about what to eat and what to avoid for stomach acidity in the article here. Also, there are other lifestyle tips on how to reduce the effects to stomach acidity in the article here. For example, drinking water as soon as you feel stomach juices rising into the esophagus helps wash them down and reduce damage. What I did to manage my severe gastritis and relentless acid reflux was to complete my treatment with proton pump inhibitors and eat right. My safe foods were boiled foods for the most part, like soft boiled eggs, potatoes, spinach, chicken, rice and a few others. What I can tell you from my experience is that you can’t make dietary mistakes at this point because even a cup of coffee or a little chocolate can cause a big setback and one post-meal acid reflux episode can take you back weeks. Your esophagus needs time to heal completely and a strict diet can help you achieve that. To manage the laryngospasms, read the article above and the comments and maybe you will find useful information from other people’s experiences too. It does come as a surprise and is quite disconcerting to get laryngospasms later in life, but, fortunately, they can be managed and in many cases they even disappear completely after the causes are dealt with, in your case stomach acidity. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  4. My 15 year old son started getting laryngospasms 3 weeks ago. The first one happened during the day while at a baseball game. We thought he was choking on “Dippin dots” and that it was an isolated incident. He had had a bad cough for at least 2 months leading up the the first episode and he was treated with prednisone and antibiotics. The cough got better but never went completely away. Then a little over a week ago he woke up in the middle of the night unable to breathe. We called 911, by time they got here the episode had resolved itself. It is notable to say when he was finally able to catch his breath it happened simultaneously while expelling quite a bit of saliva or mucus. Went to emergency room, all vitals good and chest and throat X-ray normal. 6 nights later he had another episode, waking up in the middle of the night. This time it was less chaotic as we knew what was happening. Same scenario when he finally caught his breath and he expelled a lot of saliva or mucus. However around 15 minutes later he had a second episode. The second episode wasn’t nearly as bad as the first. Wondering if whooping cough could have been missed in his initial diagnosis. He says he does feel any type of acid reflux. Currently on second round of prednisone, Mucinex, Flonase and Zyrtec. Prior to this no known allergies. Anyone else experience the saliva or mucus issue?

    • I am sorry to hear about this. It must be difficult for you and your family to be dealing with this situation. If you are unsure of the diagnosis or suspect another, you can always ask for a second opinion. It’s actually advisable. Laryngospasms themselves can be difficult to manage and scary when they occur because they leave you breathless. If your son has been prescribed allergy medication, then you should see an allergist and see if he has any allergies. Mold, dust, pollen, food allergies are all possible. If the laryngospasms happen during a certain season, it can be allergies. If they occur mostly in the house, it could be a mold allergy. If you’ve recently hot a pet, the pet hair might be an allergy trigger too. It could be a bacterial cause together with an allergy, which is why you need to investigate this further with a specialist. As for the acid reflux, it can be silent too, meaning he won’t be having any symptoms, but the stomach juices still rise into the esophagus and cause damage to the lining. If the laryngospasms occur mostly at night, acid reflux is definitely a possibility because the horizontal sleeping position allows for stomach juices to rise into the esophagus easier. The mucus is also a symptom to be taken into consideration. Excess phlegm or mucus can be a result of allergies, bacterial infections of the lungs, sinuses etc. It could gather in the lungs, the nose, drip on the back of the throat etc. What color is the mucus? Is it clear white, yellow, brown, clear with gray streaks or other color? In any case, to manage laryngospasms, make sure he stays well hydrated, the air in the house isn’t too dry (maybe get a vaporizer if it is), he avoids foods that cause acid reflux and consider other aspects presented in the article. And investigate the matter further with specialists. Wishing you lots of health.

  5. I am having same symptoms as others here. Had a cough for several weeks and last week started having laryngospasms when I cough and today when I sneezed. I am being tested for whooping cough and also have an appt with ENT dr tomorrow. The anxiety is as bad as the spasms and my dr has increased my Lexapro and also has me in antibiotics. I have read that magnesium deficiency can cause these so started taking that as well.

    • Hello, Shelly. I am sorry to hear you are experiencing laryngospasms. Hopefully, your doctor will help shed some light on things. My question: have you considered acid reflux? Every medication upsets the stomach and can cause acid reflux. Antibiotics are the best example of medication causing acidity. Maybe your laryngospasms started out as a result of a cough, allergy or other cause, but they may continue or get worse now with the antibiotics on top of the other medication. Ask the doctor about this during your appointment. Also, what I can tell you from experience, it is great to always have a bottle of water with you, either still water or, better yet, sparkling water. The bubbles in the sparkling water work almost instantly when you’re having a laryngospasm. Also, try to avoid anything that might irritate the vocal cords or throat lining, such as coffee, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, spicy foods, too much dairy (dairy thickens saliva, making it more likely for allergens to get stuck to the throat lining; it also causes acid reflux), smoke of any kind. Ask the specialist more about the potential causes of your laryngospasms and how you can best avoid them. In my experience, vitamin C also helps with laryngospasms, especially those caused by allergens exposure. Hope to hear back from you with good news and wishing you lots of health.

  6. A bit of an update from me, my laryngospasms have greatly reduced. The reason is my cough has gone. I was coughing for nearly 8 weeks, the most violent coughing ever which not only affected my larynx in terms of me losing my voice, but it also irritated the nerves in the larynx, hence the spasms. Every little thing as well as a cough triggered a spasm, be it a yawn, deep breath, laugh (not that I’ve had anything to laugh about).
    Whilst acid reflux will not help, if you have had prolonged violent coughing you may need to just learn how to deal with the spasms and they will ease once the cough goes.
    I am still prone to the laryngospasms but I know what can trigger them so I try to prepare. The Larson Manoevre is an essential and simple way of breaking the spasm and giving you back some control.
    Learning how to breath during a spasm and keeping panic under control is also essential.

    • I am happy to hear you are getting better, Marie. Hopefully, you will recover fully and never experience laryngospasms again.

  7. I started having laryngospasm about two weeks ago, after coughing for two weeks. The cough has gone now, but the laryngospasm still persists. It happens daily, sometimes even multiple times daily. When it’s about to happen, my throat itches and I can’t hold in a cough so I cough out really hard and then my airways get blocked for 15-20 seconds. I can’t breathe but I swallow lots of air and my eyes tear up. So much fluid is coming out of my throat that there was a couple of times I felt like I was about to throw up while having an episode. I’ve gone to the doctor who just prescribed me cough medication and antibiotics which didn’t help. I will be getting a second opinion, but I’m terrified of this. It’s good to know that it isn’t life-threatening, but it really is scary! I guess I was wondering if there was another cause of laryngospasm that might be life threatening? My current doctor advised me to get an X-ray so I’m going to have that done in the next couple of days.

    • Hello, Charlynn. There can be so many causes behind any symptom we may experience. I know it’s scary, I have been through this too so many times so I honestly understand your concerns. But the truth is we can’t imagine the worst scenario every time we experience a symptom because if we do, we can become overwhelmed with worry and anxiety. The human body is so resilient and can go through so much and recover fully. But we need the right mindset too. So have a little faith it will be okay.

      Laryngospasms take time to disappear completely, so it may take a while. The better you take care of yourself, the faster the recovery. And to be able to care for yourself you need to investigate all possibilities. So have the tests your doctor recommends. You mention your throat gets a little itchy right before a laryngospasm. Have you investigated the possibility of an allergy that is causing them? Can you think of possible allergens or irritants you may be exposed to? Dust, mold, perfume, air fresheners, cleaning products, pet hair, pollen or maybe acid reflux (it can be silent too). All of these are valid triggers of laryngospasms and can contribute to yours. You can also check for thyroid hormone levels. Hypoparathyroidism causing low levels of parthyroid hormone is a possible cause of laryngospasms too.

      You can talk to your doctor and address these factors too. I know how scary it can be, but it’s only been two weeks. It takes longer to fully recover from the flu. The important thing is to have all the tests needed to rule out any serious causes and just take care of yourself, especially try to prevent and best manage your laryngospasms. Having water with you at all times and having a sip or two when you feel a laryngospasm coming can prevent it altogether if it’s caused by an allergen or acid reflux, for example. Avoiding foods that cause acidity can help too (see here which foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux). Wishing your lots of health and hope to hear back from you with good news.

    • Hello, Mr. Mayur. First of all, I am not a doctor (it says so in the disclaimer). Secondly, remedies for preventing and making laryngospasms easier to deal with are written in the article. For example, always having water with you and taking a few sips when you feel a laryngospasm is about to occur. Avoiding dry, windy days when pollen count is high or turning on the hot water in the bathroom to make steam to help you breathe easier. There are more solutions in the article, so please read it.
      Also, remedies are tailored to the causes behind the condition. With this in mind, what is causing your laryngospasms? Allergies, asthma, acid reflux, silent acid reflux or something else? Laryngospasms themselves should not be dangerous, but the condition behind them may pose health risks. For example, if you have asthma, then a laryngospasm could lead to an asthma episode which would be serious. Please consider the cause behind your laryngospasms and we can talk more from there. Wishing you lots of health.

  8. I have posted here before but I have a question. I have had a slight viral infection the last few days which has given me a sore throat and a cough. Since having this I have had several Largynospasm attacks. Today, I have 5 in one day!! Is this normal? I normally only get an attack occasionally – maybe 2-3 times a year. Is it normal to have frequent attacks while ill with a cough or cold?

    • Hello, Julie. To answer your question, I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but it’s common for laryngospasms to become more frequent when you have a respiratory infection. Actually, most people who experience laryngospasms for the first time report having had them after more serious respiratory infections. Because your laryngospasms have become more frequent, it’s important to take really good care of yourself, especially deal with the cough. It could help to avoid going outside in the cold, wear large scarves to cover your neck and mouth and minimize contact with cold air for when you do have to go outside, drink warm teas and eat warm soup to help the vocal cords relax (nothing cold, nothing hot), honey for the sore throat if you are not allergic (see honey page here). Everything you can think of that would help you recover faster should help with the laryngospasms too. Hope this helps and if you have more questions, feel free to ask.

  9. I just found this really helpful site, had a spasm about an hour ago and I’m scared to lie down and go to sleep. I started with a bad cough early Christmas morning, then the cough got worse, I lost my voice and in the early morning of New Years Eve I think I had a laryngospasm. Living alone and suffering with anxiety I felt compelled to dial 111, an emergency ambulance was sent to me and the paramedics were able to calm me down. I was diagnosed with a chest infection and prescribed a course (7 days) of antibiotics. Nothing about my breathing was explained to me, just a vague question about asthma which I don’t have. Anyway I had a few more of the spasms since and didn’t know what to do so I panic. My mucous seems to be drying up but that could be making my throat more sensitive. My family think it is just another anxiety symptom. I’m female, 68 and single. 30 years or so ago I had this happen when I swallowed spittle the wrong way whilst eating chocolate. Is there anything else this could be?

    • Hello, Audrey. It is common for laryngospasms to occur after a bad respiratory infection, especially if it presents with symptoms such as coughing. Since you were diagnosed with a chest infection and have been prescribed antibiotics, it means that you had a pretty serious infection and it could easily be the reason behind the laryngospasms. I know how unsettling laryngospasms can be, but it’s important to remain calm to best get through it. Since you suspect the episodes may occur as a result of your mucus drying up which could also cause a dry throat, it could help to drink more water and make sure you always have a glass or bottle of water with you in case you feel a laryngospasm coming. Taking a few small sips of water could help prevent an episode. It could also help to use a nasal spray with saline solution to just keep you nose from drying up (not nasal decongestants). If your laryngospasms occur mostly at night, you should consider acid reflux as the cause. It can present with symptoms such as heartburn or bad taste in mouth, usually acidic or metallic taste. At the same time acid reflux a can be asymptomatic, but both require treatment to manage the acidity. Antibiotics and other medicines also cause stomach acidity. The cold weather and low temperature could also be a factor and so can the cough. A lot of people experience laryngospasms for weeks after their cough clears. Anxiety is also a factor and can bring about or make episodes worse. For more causes, please read the article above.

      Since your infection hasn’t cleared, it could take some time for the laryngospasms to go away. During this time, it should help to take good care of yourself by drinking lots of room temperature liquids, eating well, taking some vitamins, especially vitamin C, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium, resting, avoiding going outside a lot, covering your neck and mouth with a scarf so you don’t breathe in cold air, making sure the air in the house is not dry (a humidifier could help), eating two or three hours before going to bed and sleeping with an elevated pillow to avoid acid reflux and having water with you all the time. For you peace of mind, it is advisable to see a doctor and ask him or her if what you have are actually laryngospasms and, if they are, find out if they are simply a side effect of the respiratory infection or have another cause like acid reflux, for example. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  10. Thank you so much for your reply Marius, I think my laryngospasms are connected to my respiratory infection, but to perhaps a greater extent my anxiety issues. After posting to you this morning I made a phone call to my therapist, it was emotional and I suffered another spasm during the call. I get to see my GP tomorrow so hopefully he will be able to advise me further. I will take a print out of your response also. I’ve no idea other than coughing and feeling full of mucus what set this off in the first place. Perhaps as you suggested acid reflux may be an answer. At the moment I’m 100% focused on this awful symptom which I know is not good to do. I am reassured by what you’ve said so I must try and put it behind me, but it’s hard. I’m not eating or sleeping and am worrying far too much for my own good. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this.

    • I am happy I could at least reassure you a little, Audrey. I am confident it will be fine. You just need to take good care of yourself and get over this respiratory infection which may very well help improve the issue with laryngospasms too. As you said, the episodes can be caused or amplified by anxiety too, especially a panic attack. It’s also great that you are going to the doctor for answers. That’s always the best thing to do when you are dealing with health issues of any kind. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear back from you with good news.

  11. Hello, Marius. Dr. agreed with me and just gave me meds for anxiety, trouble is I’ve felt very vulnerable since. I think I’m bringing them on myself. As I type I’m trying to control a spasm. Do you think distraction technique would work?
    I’ve had a very dry mouth and throat from the meds today and felt nauseous and spaced out. I cannot control them yet Marius and I’m feeling so scared again.

    • Hello, Audrey. It’s important that you realize that even if your laryngospasms are caused by the anxiety, they may also be more frequent because of the dry mouth and throat from the medication. I think that these are side effects that you need to control because they can trigger your laryngospasms to the same extent as the respiratory infection and anxiety itself.
      When I was dealing with anxiety a few years back I found taking magnesium supplements helped a lot. More specifically, it helped keep me calm and relax and not focus so much on those negative feelings and panic I was experiencing. You could talk to your doctor about this and work out a solution to include magnesium supplements as an adjacent therapy. But it’s important to talk this through with your doctor and together work out the details. Maybe it could help you too. Wishing you lots of health.

  12. Marius, my Dr. didn’t say much about the spasms, perhaps he is not that familiar with them. I am getting quite anxious and upset because the only person I can turn to is yourself. I seem to have a repeated laryngospasm that is not giving me any peace, as soon as I sort it out it’s there again. I could perhaps get magnesium supplement OTC.
    Apart from not wanting me to spend too much time in his surgery (said I was highly contagious) I’m not sure he appreciated me taking a print out. Uk Drs. are a bit that way inclined. He has asked to see me in 2 weeks unless I have problems. Sorry to be a bit of a nuisance but up to now I don’t know who else will give me good sense answers.

    • Actually, Audrey, not a lot of doctors are familiar with laryngospasms and often attribute them a psychosomatic origin. But while our mental health and emotional state do factor in when it comes to laryngospasms, they are just as much triggered by physical factors (dry mouth, dry throat, eating salty foods that dry out the throat lining, dry air in the house, respiratory infections, allergens like pollen, dust or mold, medicines that disintegrate and leave dusty particles on the throat lining, drying it out, medicines that cause dry mouth and throat and a lot of other very real causes).

      How is your respiratory infection? Is it better and have symptoms improved? Because this is an important element with regards to your laryngospasms. Both the infection itself with the cough and the treatment, the antibiotics (via stomach acidity), could trigger the episodes. Have you noticed if your laryngospasms occur more frequently at certain hours of the day or after certain activities? It could help narrow down other causes.

      In any case, try to be as calm as possible. It may help to distract yourself, maybe see a movie, listen to some music you like, cook a little, read a book you’ve been wanting to read. It could help to avoid talking much, especially if you have a sore throat. This is another factor that could trigger the laryngospasms. They are usually not harmful, just scary. That’s why I advanced the idea that the magnesium supplements could help.
      However, I would not want for it to interact with your medication which is why it’s best to wait until you see your doctor again and discuss things with calm. Just take good care of yourself so you recover from this infection as soon as possible. Maybe have a friend stay with you to keep you company and help you not think about this so often.

      As for the doctor’s reaction, it’s understandable. Often times doctors feel we are overstepping our boundaries when we address certain issues or ask about or propose certain solutions. Don’t hold it against him. When you see your doctor next time, you could simply tell him about wanting to take some magnesium supplements and ask to tell you what magnesium forms he recommends, what dosage and whether it’s safe to supplement given your medication. He should have answers for you. It could help to not mention where the idea came from so he doesn’t feel someone else is trying to do his job for him. After all, it’s his professional opinion about an adjacent therapy you are interested in that matters and he should be able to provide you with professional answers. If he dismisses you, then look for someone more willing to address his patient’s concerns.

      As for you, stay hydrated (especially since you anxiety medication is causing dry mouth and dry throat), eat well, avoid dry air, foods that are too spicy, too salty or too sweet, get enough sleep and try to not think about laryngospasms all the time. As soon as you get better from the infection, you can start to tackle other potential causes of your laryngospasms, that is if they don’t go away after you get better. And don’t worry, I understand very well how it must feel to experience laryngospasms, so if I can help in any way, I am happy to do so.

  13. Hello Marius, my chest infection (laryngitis) is clearing up, just a little residue left at the back of my throat causing me to cough and try to clear my throat. Voice still not back to normal, though. Not on any meds now apart from OTC lozenges, cough syrup etc. Had a bad time this weekend. Dr. gave me some new meds for anxiety that I feel didn’t suited me causing even more anxiety, wooziness, dry mouth, insomnia and finally vomited a couple of times. This is making me think about future spasms and even though I’ve had none still massively overthinking this stuff.

    • Ok, Audrey. So, it’s good the infection is getting better and that you haven’t had other laryngospasms. It’s possible they stop altogether once the cough is gone completely and you get your voice back (until your voice is back to normal, you’ll still have irritated vocal cords and is best to avoid talking too much).
      The anxiety medication could be a problem because they are causing a dry mouth and this is a common trigger for laryngospasms. You should talk to your doctor about all the side effects you are experiencing and either ask to adjust your dosage or change your medication if the side effects don’t improve. Out of all the anti-anxiety medication out there, there has to be better ones for you. Until then, try to stay hydrated to counteract the dry mouth.
      Also, you can ask your doctor about supplementing with magnesium, just avoid formulations that leave a dusty powder because it may stick to the throat and possibly encourage a laryngospam (normal tablets, effervescent magnesium or powder magnesium that you mix with water should be okay and it could help to take a couple of sips of water after taking any of them just to make sure nothing’s stuck to the throat lining).
      Lastly, the worry is normal. I speak from experience when I say that the fear of having a laryngospasm stays with you for some time after the episodes stop. You have to take each day as it comes. Just take good care of yourself and it should be alright. Hope this helps.

  14. Thank you so much for helping me Marius, my Dr. will be phoning me today, I will certainly ask him about magnesium supplements, I would much prefer a more natural approach for such an ongoing condition. I didn’t take any more of the upsetting meds and have managed to control my anxiety attacks. Maybe he will agree, maybe not, at least he may agree to sorting out my meds at a later date. Is there a problem with me buying OTC magnesium supplement? Just wondered!
    I do hope you’re right about the laryngospasms not coming back. You are a very kind person and knowledgeable, thank you for being here for me!

    • Thank you, Audrey, you are such a sweet person! I am just trying to help because I have suffered from laryngospasms for a long time and know how frustrating and worrisome they can be. As for the magnesium supplements, they should be fine, just that you are taking anxiety medication and only your doctor can say for sure if the supplements can interact with them and how. I feel it’s always best for anyone following any form of treatment to ask the professional opinion of their doctor.
      I am happy to hear that you are in better control of your anxiety attacks and hope your doctor will manage to find the right treatment for you. And remember, you can always ask for a second opinion and a third and a fourth. If a doctor is unwilling to work with you in finding a treatment suited to your individual medical needs, you can always see another doctor. Wishing you lots of health!

  15. This is a brilliant site, Marius, I’m glad I found it and you. You have reassured me greatly and I cannot thank you enough for that. Long may you and the site continue.
    This I’m hoping will be my last comment because I’ve not had any more spasms (even though I worry about it). I have to try and put it behind me while I can. My Dr. agreed for me to try a magnesium supplement, he’d not heard of this for anxiety. We are leaving off any anxiety meds for now to see how things go. I still have this lingering virus to contend with, it just doesn’t want to leave me. If in the future I need to I hope I can post another comment, meanwhile I wish you well too!

    • Thank you so much, Audrey, and I am so happy to see things are improving for you. As for the virus, know that some flu and cold viruses may persist for up to 3 weeks, so give it time. In the meantime, continue to take good care of yourself. If you want to read more about the common cold, the flu, differences between the two and other related subjects, go the the menu above, Health page, section on Immunity (last icon).
      It’s good you are trying to move on. This should help you not focus so much and maybe relieve some of the anxiety and, at the same, help with the laryngospasms.

      As for the magnesium supplements, I took magnesium carbonate (300 mg).
      This was a powder magnesium that you mix in a glass of water. It comes in separate bags of 300 mg of magnesium and I took one a day. It did wonders for me. You can choose other forms, but it might be best to avoid magnesium oxide because it has the lowest bioavailability of all forms (read more on Magnesium forms: Which to choose). If you get the powder magnesium, make sure you drink some water afterwards to clear any remaining particles from the throat lining.

      The recommended daily intake of magnesium as of 2016 is 420 mg a day for adults, so a 300 mg magnesium bag should be enough to cover any deficiency, assuming you are getting some magnesium from your diet as well. Your doctor can recommend a higher intake, but it’s really up to him and you, depending on whether or not you will experience improvements in your anxiety. Supplementing with magnesium should also help with muscle health, for example, improve leg cramps at night or eyelid twitching and can even have benefits for cardiovascular health.

      I am happy for you, Audrey, that you are feeling better and hope your health improves even more! If you ever have any questions that you may think I can help with or if you just want to read some interesting articles, you’re welcome anytime. All the best!

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