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.

Laryngospasm remedies

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.

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 vocal cords 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.

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

  1. I have recurrent episodes of Laryngospasm due to a Neurological condition known as Kennedy’s Disease. My Bulbar region muscles are affected which causes the spasm. My spasms often last for several minutes. Your statement stating they last for less than a minute is incorrect.

    • Hello, Mr. Mager. You are suffering from a type of illness-induced laryngospasm, in your case, Kennedy’s Disease. This is a progressive neurological and muscular disease, meaning the symptoms of the disease will get worse in time, as your condition progresses. In other words, yours is a particular case I have not addressed in my article. Laryngospasms generally last for about one minute. Your condition is not called laryngospasm; your condition is called Kennedy’s Disease and it comes with its own set of symptoms. In reality, what you are experiencing is a form of muscular atrophy. Lots of health.

  2. I had laryngospasms for three months. The episodes occurred day and night. I slept with a humidifier every night and even spent a lot of time breathing in warm humidified air from the steam in the shower.

    With all of the reports about humidifiers forcing out bacteria a minerals, is it possible my humidifier was making matters worse? I have since replaced the humidifier I was using with a evaporative one that does not emit bacteria or white dust. Since that change I haven’t had any respiratory issues. Neither has my wife. I even put a smaller version of the same evaporative humidifier in my 2 year old daughters room and she hasn’t had any congestion or respiratory issues in almost a year. That’s incredible considering the amount of episodes she had in her first year.

    Again, is it just a coincidence or was my standard humidifier part of the problem?

    • Standard humidifers can raise the humidity in a room to higher levels than recommended or needed. Evaporative humidifiers generally have a sort of self-regulation mechanism meaning they should decrease their vapor output as the humidity in the room raises. It really depends on the brand and model and you should choose one according to your needs. To my knowledge, if you suffer from laryngospasms or allergies, then vaporizers may prove a better choice because they release steam, which is basically a sort of warm vapor. And this is better than the cold vapor or cold mist of some humidifiers. But changing a standard humidifier with an evaporative one could explain why your health has improved. Too much humidity, which can be caused by a standard humidifier, creates the perfect environment for mold and dust mites growth which can, of course, prove problematic for people with certain allergies and laryngospasms. Is it also possible that you are allergic to dust or dust mites, maybe mold or even polen from certain plant species? Because if you are, then your first humidifer might have put all of these potential allergens out there for you the breathe them. In any case, always go for a good brand and quality humidifiers, evaporators or vaporizers, even if they might be more expensive than you would like them to be. And remember to check their instructions because some may require cleaning in between uses. I do not know what type of humidifer you have been using, during what period of time your laryngospasms occurred so, yeah, it might have been the humidifer itself or something else such as allergens.

  3. Happened a few days ago while out at the grocery store. I’ve never had one as bad as this one (total 100% no air). I always thought it was normal to choke easily. It wasn’t until I got home and googled it that I realize this is exactly what I have. I always thought how can I suddenly choke on nothing? After being totally embarrassed at the grocery store and people calling 911 for me, I realized this can’t be normal. No one ever talks about this. There are probably so many others like me who have no idea that is what’s happening. What’s even more scary is that I’ve had surgeries and there could have been some danger involved and the doctor should know I have this.

    • Hi, Maria. Laryngospasms can be worrisome and it would be wise to talk to your doctor about this and maybe investigate it further to exclude potential allergies and simply know what you should avoid in the future. It could have been the air conditioning and dry air in the grocery store, dehydration leading to dry throat and so on. But just to be sure and avoid such episodes that are not at all pleasant and might leave you fearing the next one, it might be best to try and figure out what is causing your laryngospasms so you can learn to control and prevent them. Wishing you lots of health.

  4. Hello. I recently had this happen to me and I was freaking out and I see that it says drink room temperature water. Will that help? Because I was trying to gasp for air and the water part doesn’t seem too good. I’m just new to this and worried about it.

    • Hello, Chris. It is best you see a doctor and have him or her investigate the cause of your laryngospasms because there are so many factors that can trigger episodes. You have to know the cause of your laryngospasms to know how to manage and prevent them. Drinking room temperature water helps most when laryngospasms are caused by dry throat and mouth, however, you don’t know if this is your case. There are numerous aspects to consider, such as giving up coffee or alcohol, smoking, caffeinated beverages, dark chocolate, green and black tea and other stimulant foods and drinks or things that promote vitamin and dietary mineral deficiencies. For example, coffee dehydrates, drying out sensitive mucous membranes, potentially leading to laryngospasms. It also depletes us of essential dietary minerals such as magnesium and potassium, but also B vitamins, all of which may play a role in preventing, treating and managing the condition. I found it incredibly helpful to supplement with magnesium and potassium daily, but also took B vitamins regularly and have seen wonderful results. Again, talk to your doctor first and investigate the issue further so you can know what action to take. Wishing you lots of health.

  5. Recently I had laryngospasm twice in 3 months. I got the feeling that I was about to die. But after some time I started to speak again. Normally it lasts for 45-60 seconds..but experience is terrible. Is it fatal? I have read somewhere that it gets resolved automatically and it’s not life threatening.

    • Hello, Anup. If you have laryngospasms, it might be best to go see a doctor and find out what is causing them. It may be stress, acid reflux disease, anxiety or allergies and so on. Because while laryngospasms themselves are generally not life threatening, they may cause complications for other conditions, which may be dangerous. For instance, if someone has asthma, a laryngospasm episode can trigger an asthma attack which can be life threatening. This is why it is important to see a doctor and know what is triggering your episodes so you can know how to prevent them in the future.

  6. Do antibiotics and/or high cholesterol medications cause laryngospasms. I’ve never experienced them in 53 years and have had 3 within the past week. One was when I was swallowing an antacid, one when I was swallowing a potato chip and the other when I was swallowing popcorn. I sipped water and they dissipated but prior to that I felt like I was not going to catch my breath. I gasped severely to breath. Is there a particular position I should be in if I can stop the panic enough to think?

    • Hi, Sherri. Antacids can cause laryngospasms, particularly the solid units, such as the disk-shaped Maalox. The tablet tends to disintegrate in the mouth and the tiny, dust-like particles get stuck on the mucous membrane of the throat. Antacids are formulated in such a way that they absorb moisture, so they absorb saliva as well and thus dry out the mouth and the back of the throat, potentially triggering laryngospasms in predisposed individuals. You can try a liquid form of antacids and see how it works for you. Potato chips and popcorn can also lead to a laryngospasm episode for the same reason: they break down in tiny pieces and stick to various parts of the mouth and throat mucous membranes. The trouble with them is that they also generally contain salt which will irritate the mucous membrane further and extract the moisture from it, leaving it dry and inflammed. As you may already know, a dry mucous membrane (dry back of the mouth, dry throat) can lead to laryngospasms as well. It’s important not to panic and always have water at hand to help wash down anything that might irritate your throat. In time, you will learn which foods you can eat safely and which it might be best to avoid. As for antibiotics and statins, they don’t list side effects such as laryngospasms, but they can create the circumstances for laryngospasm episodes. Antibiotics destroy the good bacteria in the stomach and can cause or worsen acid reflux. Stomach acid can go up the esophagus, irritate the throat and cause a laryngospasm episode. Cholesterol medication may have a similar effect on digestive health and engender laryngospams. As for the position, try not to eat in bed. Stand upright in a chair, eat slowly and make sure you have water with you to help wash down any problematic foods.

    • Sherry, the antacid, the chips and the pop corn have one thing in common, they have dusty particles, the last two salty. All three cause my laryngospasms too.

  7. Over the course of many years, I’ve experienced these episodes occasionally. But recently, more frequently especially when I am drinking water. I also have Sjögren’s syndrome and am wondering if it’s connected as Sjogrens does dry up mucus membranes and depletes saliva. I have not mentioned these episodes to any of my doctors, but now I’m terrified because I have to swallow many pills on a daily basis for Sjogrens, acid reflux and a rare neurological disorder NMO. Now, every time I have to take a pill I get more and more anxious which I realize is just making it worse. Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi again, Barbara. It appears your second comment appeared first in my comment box. But no matter. The autoimmune disorder you have, Sjogren’s syndrome, is most likely a main trigger of laryngospasms because it causes a decrease in saliva production and subsequent drying of the mouth and throat mucous membranes. It would be best if you saw a doctor, preferably an immunologist (a medical professional specialised in autoimmune disorders), and describe to him or her all of the symptoms you have been experiencing. Both your conditions, Sjogren’s syndrome and neuromyelitis optica, are autoimmune so you would get the most benefis from seeing such a specialist. Remember that it’s always best to tell your doctor everything, even if it doesn’t seem important to you. Also, the fact that you are taking multiple medications can encourage a vicious cycle. All the medication you are taking can easily cause acid reflux and taking acid reflux medication can contribute to your laryngospasms. Your other medication can too.
      As far as solutions are concerned, I’m thinking you have to keep yourself very well hydrated, especially with the Sjogren’s. I always have a 500 ml bottle of water with me wherever I go and always take sips so my mouth and throat don’t dry out. Recently I have discovered that sports drinks with magnesium and other electrolytes help me stay hydrated better when water just doesn’t seem enough. I also take magnesium and potassium supplements every day and I find they help me so much with anxiety and stress. Whenever I’m feeling particularly stressed, upset, nervous for no apparent reason or anxious about an upcoming event, I take a 300 mg dose of powder carbonate magnesium and I feel so much better in less than 20 minutes. But before you take anything, ask a doctor if it’s okay with the medication you are taking, so there aren’t any side effects or nasty interactions. You can ask your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplementation with your conditions because it’s known that nutrient deficiencies alter immune system function, so correcting potential deficits may improve certain aspects of one’s health. I would also try to avoid common laryngospasms triggers such as spicy foods, coffee and caffeinated beverages, alcohol, cigarette smoke, even potential allergens. Hope this helps. Wishing you lots of health.

    • Barbara, there is a powder that thickens the water, you can find it at the pharmacy.

    • Hi, Barbara. It is possible for this medication to cause laryngospasm. If you take tablets that disintegrate in the mouth or the powder form, they will most likely leave grainy particles stuck to your throat and these particles can dry up the mucous membrane lining the back of the mouth and the throat and cause irritation and possibly trigger a laryngospasm episode. But even so, all forms of this medication (oral suspension, disintegrating tablets, powder and delayed release capsule) have side effects that may encourage laryngospasms. For example, Prevacid (lansoprazole) is said to cause side effects such as abdominal discomfort, belching, bloating, increased cough, hoarseness, dry mouth and throat and sore throat. Any of them can encourage a laryngospasm episode. Bloating and belching cause pressure in the stomach. As a result of this pressure, the lower esophageal sphincter (a muscly junction between the esophagus and the stomach that closes off the stomach so acid doesn’t rise up into the esophagus) opens to let the air out. But along with air, stomach acid may escape into the esophagus as well, causing inflammation and irritation which may play a role in triggering laryngospasms. Increased cough and hoarseness may be indicative of irritation of the throat lining and lead to a higher probability of laryngospasms. Dry mouth, dry throat and sore throat are potential triggers as well. It really depends on how long you have been using the medication, the dosage you have been prescribed, how well you respond to it (some people have many side effects, while for others it works wonderfully) and whether or not you suffer from other medical conditions.

  8. Thank you for your response. i have been on Prevacid for 10 years. In addition, I have Sjögren’s syndrome and a rare neurological condition Devic’s disease/NMO. I realize after reading all this, sjogrens is probably triggering the spasms? Due to these conditions, I must take up to 12 pills a day plus supplements. I am getting increasingly anxious over swallowing my pills now as I worry the water will trigger the spasms when I’m swallowing the pill! These spasms primarily happen when I am in the midst of drinking a gulp of water, not so much sipping. I don’t know what to do, as I must have those medications! But everyday it is getting harder and harder. What should I do?

    • It is possible that you are projecting your anxiety on water, instead of projecting it on another more valid concern, the fact that your laryngospasms are becoming more frequent than before. This is why I believe it is best to talk to an immunologist, or other medical professional of your choice, about having laryngospasms with your conditions. Such a medical professional understands best how your conditions work and what interactions or side effects your medication might have and even shed some light on the cause of your laryngospasms. They may very well be related to your conditions or the medication you are taking. Moreover, an open discussion with a doctor about everything that worries you concerning your health and your symptoms can be very liberating and may even help tone down the anxiety of this whole situation. By expressing your concerns and worries and discussing your symptoms and your conditions openly, you can find the support you need. It may come in the form of encouragement, advice about how to take your medication better or the possibility of taking an oral suspension instead of tablets, for example.
      As for the anxiety, I find it helps to take one little step at a time and start by rethinking the validity of your concerns. That’s what I do. Anxiety is something that makes you fear what might happen. And the fear of a very remote possibility suddenly becomes very real. And then the brain somehow obsesses on this specific fear and makes something huge out of it. For me, it works to distract myself with something I enjoy up until I have to do what I stress about. It also helps me to just talk about my very unusual fears to someone and have that someone just listen without judging or offering advice on how to deal with them. And I try not to avoid what I fear so I push myself to deal with it because I know that after enough times, it just won’t be that scary and that gives me courage. You already drink water all day and have taken these pills for many years and you are still here. So those big gulps of water didn’t do any harm. They helped. They helped you take the medication you need. Think about this when you worry about having to take your medication. Think about water as the good guy who helps you. It helped you when you had laryngospasms. It helps with your condition. It’s a process and fear doesn’t just go away, but when you face your fears enough times, they are no longer that scary. And see a doctor to rule out potential side effects (laryngospasms) of medication. Hope this helps.

  9. I developed laryngospasms while I had an upper respiratory infection this fall. The infection may or may not have been related to a mold/humidity problem in my apartment, which is hopefully now dealt with. During the infection I had a bad cough that resulted in vomiting on several occasions. I was also prescribed a steroid inhaler during this time to help with my asthma, which was triggered by the respiratory infection. After doing some research, I now realize that all of these things (allergens, reflux, steroid inhalers, asthma) are triggers for laryngospasms.

    The respiratory infection symptoms cleared up approximately two months ago, yet the laryngospasms, sometimes triggered by a cough, persist. They are less severe now, in that I no longer lose the ability to get air. However, I sometimes lose the ability to vocalize for several seconds and my voice is often affected for minutes or hours after a spasm is triggered.

    I am currently singing in a group, and have been inconsistent in rehearsals since recovering from my illness. I’m finding that things like taking a breath in between phrases, singing in the lower part of my range, breathing in a bit of saliva or liquid, and breathing cold air can all trigger a spasm that affects my voice.

    I’ve been doing some of the things on your list to prevent acid reflux and keep my vocal cords hydrated, and plan to add magnesium and vitamins to the regimen. Can you give me a sense of how long the laryngospasms typically take to clear up after an illness if there are no ongoing factors such as GERD, allergens or medications? Also, do you have any tips for how to prevent spasms while singing?

    • Hi, Stephen. Yours is a very complicated situation because of the multitude of factors involved. I would suggests seeing a doctor and having more tests done to rule out various causes for your laryngospasms. For example, you might have silent gastroesophageal reflux and not exhibit symptoms, or a hiatal hernia. This may trigger an asymptomatic gerd and the laryngospasm episodes. It’s also possible for the respiratory infection to have damaged your vocal cords. Maybe your vocal cords are inflamed because of the cough. I suggest getting your vocal folds tested to rule out inflammation, damage, cysts.
      It’s also possible you have an allergy, probably to the mold in your apartment. Mold is incredibly difficult to get rid of entirely and there may still be spores left where you live. They are most likely in wooden furniture or in places where air doesn’t circulate (behind a wardrobe sitting close to the wall). So you can have an allergy test just to be sure. It is also possible that you might need to rest your voice to allow a possible inflammation to subside. Maybe you started singing again too soon and your vocal folds were not ready. Until you have more thorough examinations, it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of your layngospasms. However, it’s good they appear to be less frequent than in the beginning. This might indicate a need for a longer recovery from that respiratory tract infection.
      In my experience, laryngospasms can be tricky to handle. You need to watch out for so many things: humidity level, the need for a vaporizer, making sure you drink enough water, avoiding foods and beverages that are too cold, too hot or too spicy, treating acid reflux, even if it’s asymptomatic, watching out for acid reflux medication (antacids, proton pump inhibitors) because they too can trigger laryngospasms, avoiding potential allergens (mold, dust, pet hair, food allergies) etc. In my case, magnesium supplements helped a lot, but I had been taking them for 3 months or so until I noticed a significant improvement. Vitamin C also helps me with inflammation, but I also take B vitamins for digestive health to better absorb nutrients. I avoid processed foods, fried food, citrus fruit and warm lemon water because of their acidity and pain relievers such as ibuprofen because they give me acidity.
      This issue can very well resolve itself. But it may also require you to make a lot of changes to accommodate the situation. It would also be best to have some more tests to rule out other causes. In the meantime, what you can do is be consistent and avoid any potential triggers. You can’t really estimate how long it takes the body to recover from anything. It once took me 6 months or so to recover from a bad flu, so it depends. As for spasms when singing, it really depends on how and how much the type of singing you do stresses your vocal cords. If it’s the singing, resting your voice might help. If it’s something else, then more insight from further medical examinations is necessary. Hope this helps.

  10. Hi Marius. I’m going to keep working on the lifestyle/nutrition end of things and will add the vitamin supplements you recommend. I’ll also seek medical advice. Thanks for your help.

  11. I had a total Thyroidectomy in 2009 due to thyroid cancer and developed Largynospasm shorty thereafter, One of my vocal cords was weakened during the surgery and I think that is what caused this condition. My voice did not come back until 3 months after the surgery. I told doctor after doctor about these episodes and was told it was allergies, etc. It was my own research that helped me determine that it was in fact Largynospasm. I get these episodes about 3 to 4 times a year and they are very scary. They last about 40 seconds or so. I immediately take a few sips of water and try to calm myself, My husband thank God has always been there when it happens. It usually will wake me out of a sleep but I have had a few episodes when I was watching TV or just relaxing when it occurred. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that it is caused by stress. It is not. I will never undergo anesthesia again because of the danger involved when you have Largynospasm. We have a condition that is very frightening and has no cure. But the main thing I learned is to try and not panic, One time I had an episode where I had no air at all. Normally my episodes involve no air in but able to breath out by wheezing, but this one time there was no air at all – it was like I was dead. I will never forget that one. Prayers for all of us.

    • Hi, Julie. You are so brave to open up about your experiences with thyroid cancer and laryngospasms and your take on the issue of laryngospasms is truly inspiring. The episodes can be so scary when they occur, but what makes it even scarier, for me at least, is that there is no medication you can take to just make it all go away. Like you said, water is the first thing to have with you in case of a sudden episode of laryngospasms and taking sips really helps me too. I also have multiple pollen allergies and asthma so, for me, the water helps wash potential allergens away too. I may also go to the bathroom and turn on the hot water everywhere to make steam because I find it easier to breathe when there is humidity.

      Speaking of humidity, do you think it’s possible that you had laryngospasms when you were relaxing because the air in the room was dry? I often had problems with laryngospasms because of low humidity. I also get acid reflux and have had gastritis, so I have to be really careful what and how I eat because stomach acididty causes laryngospasms as well, at least in my case. So in addition to watching what and how much I eat, I also avoid sitting down or lying in bed after eating because I will get acid reflux and maybe laryngospasms too. I also find anesthesia dangerous, especially because I have laryngospasms and rely on prevention (eating right, sleeping enough, taking my vitamins, avoiding tap water, risk factors such as smoking or alcohol and so on) to reduce my chances of ever needing it.

      I admire your courage and perseverance. You felt something was not right and searched for answers. When you know what you are dealing with, it makes it easier to find solutions and handle the condition better. Same with laryngospasms: knowing what they are and that there are ways to better handle them can make a big difference. The important thing, like you said, is not to panic. Again, thank you and wishing you lots of health.

  12. Hi Marius, thanks for your reply. I, too, get acid reflux and will often take an antacid pill before going to bed. I have also found that when eating, to take small bites, and eat slowly. My throat will sometimes get dry, so I too, try and stay hydrated. The scary thing I have found with having this condition is that I sometimes worry when the next occurrence will happen as I am sure we all do. I have been lucky that this has only happened to me while at home and not out in public. Wishing you well.

    • Hi, Julie. Did you know that antacids also cause laryngospasms? The tablets that disintegrate in the mouth leave tiny, dusty particles that stick to the mouth, back of the mouth and throat lining and dry them out. This can lead to laryngospasms sometimes. Powder medicines can also have the same side effect, unless you drink water after. It’s the same when eating chips or popcorn because they break into tiny pieces and stick to the throat and because they often have salt too, they dry out the throat lining even more, increasing the chances of a laryngospasm. Since I’ve known this, I either avoid foods like this or always have water on hand when eating them. As for the antacids, if I take a tablet, I have a sip of water after to wash down anything that might have gotten stuck to my throat or just use a liquid antacid. Have you considered this?

      And since we’re talking about this, here something else I have observed: soda drinks trigger my laryngospasms. Whether it’s the sticky sugar in them, the caffeine or some other element, if I drink a fizzy drink especially when it’s hot outside, it will thicken my saliva even more and I will almost always have a laryngospasm. Why especially when it’s hot outside? Because that’s when we are more likely to suffer from dehydration more or less and the saliva is thicker than usual. And when we speak, irritants are more likely to stick to the thicker saliva, throat and create the perfect opportunity for a laryngospasm episode. So I avoid them in warm weather for fear of having laryngospasms. I drink either water or sports drinks with electrolytes (they hydrate me better and I don’t get a dry mouth or dry throat). I thought you might find this interesting.

      And yes, we all worry about the next episode, where or when it will occur, if we will have everything we need with us and all sorts of things. But I think as long as I have water with me, I will be okay. For me, drinking water stops the spasm almost always, so I always have some with me. Sometimes I have both still water and naturally sparkling water (the bubbles are great for inactivating pollen particles that may cause laryngospasms). And you are right, eating slowly and taking small bites helps too. Strangely, it makes me feel I have more control over everything and gives me confidence that, even if I were to have a laryngospasm, I wouldn’t have to worry about a mouth full of food and just drink water fast to make it go away. Best regards, Julie.

  13. Hello Marius,
    I have just started to have laryngospasms after a nasty throat infection that caused extreme coughing. I think I may also have a silent reflux, maybe laryngopharyngeal reflux, LPR. I have read that laryngospasms can be caused by laryngeal sensory neuropathy (possibly secondary to something else like gerd or LPR) and (after treating the initial cause) can be treated with Amitriptyline. What are your thoughts on this?
    Thank you for this page. It is very helpful. I want to get rid if these laryngospasms and for them never to come back!

    • Hi, Liz. First of all, problem solved with the email. Secondly, regarding your question about that antidepressant, I am not a doctor so I can’t advise you in this respect. Make an appointment and talk to a doctor about whether or not it could help you. Only a medical professional can answer such questions. As for laryngospasms, most of what you’ve read in the article is what I’ve tried and what worked for me. I also suffer from acid reflux, though mine is not silent at all, and have dealt with a recurrent gastritis, both of which have worsened my laryngospasm problem. It’s difficult to balance them, but diet is extremely important for stomach health and can help manage and even treat acid reflux and improve laryngospasms. You can read more about what foods I used to eat for gastritis and how I learnt to manage my acid reflux. Maybe you can find useful information from my experiences. Wishing you lots of health.

  14. This is one of the most informative articles I have read on Laryngospasm. I was just diagnosed with this in March, and have experienced the panic with the first attacks, and now have learned more what to do. I am taking Protonix, which helps. I don’t have the obvious acid reflux, mine is silent. I am going in for an EGD in a couple weeks. I have found also that water helps and always have some with me or within reach. Finding a cure for this would be amazing! Thank you. Wishing you health always!!

    • Hello, Kathy. I am so happy you found the article on laryngospasm informative and that it helps you better understand and deal with the condition. A cure would really be amazing, but until then, I am thankful for all these little tips and secrets for laryngospasms that help us get through it all and stay optimistic. Wishing you lots of health!

    • Finding a cure for sure. I was diagnosed with this as well and I find it very nerve-wracking when it is happening. I can’t drink any water as I am barely able to breathe.

  15. I was diagnosed with bronchitis about 2 months ago. Since then I have had 8 of these attacks and then I panic. It helps to read all the previous comments because they are the same things I’m going through. Couple questions I have. I exercised regularly but now that I have these attacks it make me nervous to exercise. Does exercise have any affects on these attacks? Also is there a cure or does it eventually just pass? I’m going to an ENT next week.

    • Hi, Tim. It depends. You can try to ease into exercise by starting off with an easier routine and gradually intensify your workouts. This way you will see how you react and if you get a laryngospasm as a result of physical effort. It’s wise to also have water with you. I usually have plain water, but when I know it is windy and dry outside or there are allergens (these are common triggers for me), I also have mineral water (carbonated water). The main reason why exercise could cause a laryngospasm is because you get a dry throat. Exercising outside on a windy day, when the air is dry or there are allergens like pollen or irritants in the air can also build up towards an episode for some people. Exercising indoors can be a solution. Also, I would consider other causes like acid reflux, silent acid reflux etc. For example, if you have acid reflux, you need to avoid fizzy drinks, spicy foods, eating too much dairy and other potentially problematic foods. As for the cure, to my knowledge, there isn’t one. And I can’t really tell you if they go away. It depends. There are reports of people who have experienced laryngospasms as a result of a bad respiratory infection, but didn’t experience them after they recovered. At the same time, many people continue to have them even after the supposed cause is cured. What I can tell you from personal experience is that you can live a long and happy life with laryngospasms. You just have to learn what causes them and avoid said causes. For me it got easier over time and even when I feel one coming, I don’t panic and drink some water. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  16. Hello! I have laryngospasms about 2 months. Can you guess how many days must be passed of treatment? The doctor told me my issue is allergic. But I think my issue is anxiety because I had an exam for master’s degree. Please guide me sincerely. Sorry for my English. Because it’s not my first language.

    • Hello, Sina. If your doctor has told you it’s allergies, then you have to consider this is at least one of the causes behind your laryngospasms. You need to find out what you are allergic to (pollen, foods, medicines, mold, animal fur, mites etc.) and for this you can have a skin prick test, also called a skin allergy test. During a skin allergy test, a specialist doctor will apply different allergens to your skin to see which ones you react to. If the skin turns red, itchy and so on, then you are allergic to said allergen. The test is done in a controlled environment by a specialist doctor called an allergist. Once you get the results and know what you are allergic to, you will have to learn to avoid the allergens. This should help with your laryngospasms too.

      Most likely, when you have laryngospasms because of allergies, it’s plant pollen that gets stuck to your throat lining and triggers an immune system response and the allergic reaction. I suffer from the same thing. What I do is always have water with me and drink some really quickly when I feel I can’t breathe. It usually helps wash down the allergens in my throat and I feel better. If it gets worse, I go to the bathroom and turn on the shower to hot water to make steam and breathe in the steam. I also have my allergy medication with me just in case I need it. But you can read more about what to do in case of laryngospasms caused by allergies in the article above.

      It’s also possible, like you said, that your laryngospasms are a result of anxiety. It’s common for anxiety, stress, panic attacks to cause laryngospasms. There is even a logical explanation: when you are anxious, scared or stressed, you tend to breathe quicker or keep your mouth open more and the mouth and throat dry out. Also, when you are anxious, the salivary glands produce less saliva, so, again, your mouth and throat dry out. Dry mouth and dry throat can cause laryngospasms, which is why it’s important to remain hydrated, but also treat your anxiety. You can use whatever technique or remedy you feel is most helpful for you. As for your first question, there isn’t a treatment for laryngospasms. They can disappear if you treat the condition causing them or take good care of you so you avoid the causes. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health.

  17. I have stage 4 papillary cancer and am one year post total thyroidectomy with removal of multiple lymph nodes in my left neck which also caused left side paralysis of my vocal cord. About 3 months ago, I awoke from a dead sleep unable to breathe. After relaying symptoms to my physicians it was confirmed that I had a laryngospasm. I have had 2 more since, both brought on after choking on fluids. Terrifying is definitely the best descriptor. I was wanting to know more about the straw remedy. Do you recommend this?

    • I am honestly sorry to hear you are going through such a hard time and wish you lots of health. As for your question, I am unfamiliar with the straw remedy. Do you mean drinking water with a straw? In any case, I do not recommend anything in particular. This here, in the article, is, for the most part, my personal experience with laryngospasms summed up as best as I could. For me, and for many others experiencing laryngospasms, drinking water immediately helps a lot. It is best to take small sips to avoid accidents that could bring you further distress. Sometimes, when the laryngospasm is caused by allergy to pollen for example, carbonated water works even better than plain water because the bubbles help open up the airways better and wash down the allergens faster, helping restore normal breathing quicker. At the same time, fizzy drinks are bad for laryngospasms although they have bubbles because the high amounts of sugar they contain make your mouth and throat very sticky and may encourage pollen and irritants to stick to the lining of the throat and cause an episode. They also dehydrate which can be a trigger too. You have to try to identify the causes of your laryngospasm episodes and avoid them. Having water and drinking some in small sips may also help, as it does many other people. Read the article for more information on what I have found works for me for my laryngospasms and maybe you will find some answers for you too. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Stormy,
      I too had papillary thyroid cancer in 2009 in my right thyroid gland and had a total thyroidectomy. One of my vocal cords was weakened during the surgery and I was unable to speak above a whisper for 4 months. I soon after began having laryngospasm so I can relate to what you are feeling. As a matter of fact I had an episode last night that was a severe attack. It is very frightening to say the least. What I do is try and breath through my nose and sip water and try and remain calm. My husband will hold me during this time. Thankfully I have never had one when I was alone. I seem to get attacks when my sinus or allergies act up. I get around 3 to 4 attacks a year. I think my laryngospasm is a result of the surgery and my vocal cord weakening. I had an excellent surgeon but one of my vocal cords did weaken which resulted in my voice loss for a few months. Hope this helps. It is scary.

  18. I had a total thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer back in 2012. I started having these spasms almost a year later. For the first few years I had them, it was only once in a while, maybe once every couple of months. Over the last few months though, they have been increasingly worse. I’m having multiple spasms a day, and even more during the night. This is beginning to disrupt my daily life, not to mention the lack of sleep it causes. I’ve used all the techniques that I’ve read about, but they are becoming less and less effective. The attacks that used to last under a minute are now much longer, and I have come very close to losing consciousness and everything goes black before it finally lets go and I can breathe again. I’m not getting much help from the doctors, who don’t seem very informed. Any suggestions?

    • Hello, Nikki. I am sorry to hear this. Laryngospasms can be frightening, especially considering they just happen. And there are so many causes for them. The medical community is of the opinion that laryngospasms can be a side effect of surgery, either due to anesthesia which requires the use of powerful muscle relaxants or intubation which damages the vocal cords, resulting in involuntary spasms. And since you’ve had surgery, it is possible this is why you’re experiencing laryngospasms. Another possibility is low calcium levels in the blood which causes involuntary muscle contractions of the vocal cords included. Considering you’ve had thyroid surgery, hypoparathyroidism is possible in your case. Hypoparathyroidism is basically damage to the parathyroid glands behind the thyroid and the main reason it causes low calcium levels and possibly laryngospasms is damage during thyroid surgery.

      A magnesium deficiency can lead to a calcium deficiency and laryngospasms. It is possible for you to have gastroesophageal reflux, which can be asymptomatic too. A silent acid reflux would explain why you keep getting laryngospasms, even at night. Medication, a diet designed specifically for acid reflux treatment and some lifestyle tips can help improve things if this is the cause. You should also look at other causes: allergies, humidity etc. For example, laryngospasms can be caused by inhaling allergens (pollen, pet hair, dust, molds, more particular allergens). Avoiding exposure to the allergen is crucial for preventing laryngospasms, but if they do occur, taking small sips of water to wash down the allergen can help a lot. Keeping hydrated is also important to prevent dry mouth and throat. Another way to help improve laryngospasms is humidity, so you can use a humidifier or vaporizer in your room, day and night, if the air is too dry. Smoking causes laryngospasms. Physical exercise can trigger involuntary muscle spasms and cause laryngospasms too. So you can start by checking all of these causes to see if any of them is behind your increase in frequency of laryngospasms. Talk more about it with your doctor and simply approach each possible cause to help you better understand where your laryngospasms are coming from so you can prevent them. Hope this helps. Wishing you lots of health, Nikki.

  19. I have had a chest infection 5 weeks ago which involved a serious amount of violent coughing. I lost my voice completely and it is still gone. I have had antibiotics and corticosteroids and the infection has cleared but the cough, although much milder and less frequent, still persists. A chest X-ray has come back clear. Throughout all this I developed laryngospasms which were so bad that they occurred with every cough. I have seen the ENT specialist who has examined my larynx through a scope and said there is nothing I can do other than rest my voice, drink lots of water and take antacid medication. I am at risk of losing my job as I still cannot speak and the laryngospasms still persist although much less frequently. I have been doing steam inhalations 3 times per day but feel quite disheartened that my improvement is so slow. I also have the need to keep clearing my throat which is not good but if I don’t I end up coughing anyway. Am I being impatient of is there something else I can try? I have also been sipping lots of room temperature water sometimes with honey added. I do not drink alcohol or smoke.

    • Hello, Marie. I am sorry to hear about this. It must be utterly discouraging and frustrating to not be able to speak and get laryngospasms on top of everything else. I am not a doctor so I can’t give you professional advice on the matter. All I can tell you is what has worked for me in the past when I had similar problems. It’s true what your doctor has said: resting your voice is the best you can do at this point. And it can take some time until vocal cords heal and you can speak normally again. Healing in general takes time. It works in the background and you have to keep taking good care of yourself until you see improvements. For your peace of mind, you can see another specialist and get a second opinion. Your acid reflux can contribute to your voice loss and difficult recovery too. Acid reflux, with symptoms or without (it’s called silent acid reflux) can damage vocal cords severely over time and cause hoarseness, the need to clear your throat constantly, coughing and even a temporary loss of voice. Spices, even some healthy ones, coffee, hot beverages and so many otherwise good foods can cause acid reflux. Read more about the best and worst foods for acid reflux. Drinking room temperature water helps. It washes down stomach juices, pollen and allergens, keeps the throat lining moist as it should be and helps calm irritation a little, soothing the throat. Concentrated aloe vera juice was really good for me when I dealt with gastritis and severe acid reflux. It really stopped my acidity. I drank one small cup in the morning on an empty stomach. Because it was really bitter, I would take one teaspoon of honey afterwards. Steam, humidity are also good for the throat, laryngospasms and allergies and asthma, so make sure the air in your home and work place isn’t too dry. Some lukewarm teas can help, but avoid teas with caffeine and theine like green tea, black tea etc. Chamomile tea, lemon balm, hibiscus were really good for me, but there are many others you can choose from. I would also get some sore throat candy with honey and propolis and they really helped, but make sure you are not allergic to bee products first. It’s good you avoid alcohol, don’t smoke. Coffee, chocolate, hot foods and spices are bad for acidity too. For more tips on how to better deal with stomach acidity, see this article on gastroesophageal reflux disease. Hopefully, you will recover soon. Wishing you lots of health.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    • Hi! I’m suffering with laryngospasm. It’s very scary but I’m getting lots of tips in coping with it. Has anyone been to, or found a specialist or found a cure?

    • Hi, Helen! When dealing with laryngospasms, it really helps to first identify the cause behind them. Some likely causes include stomach acidity (acid reflux or GERD), allergies (pollen, dust, molds) or side effects of a bad respiratory infection. Once you figure out what causes laryngospasms in your case, they should be much easier to manage, to the point your rarely have them, or not at all. Wishing you lots of health, Helen!

  29. 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.

    • Phew…am in the right place..
      So, end of Jan 18 I caught me second cold virus of UK winter.
      Same as usual: horrendous hacking, sleep stealing sleep for 3 weeks, but felt too guilty to rest and recover as am my Dads reluctant carer, and he’s 500 mile round trip from me. Must be a bit of anxiety as my children are with me in London. Torn… after 3 weeks and this vile UK winter that kept throwing minus temperatures at us like a disgruntled lover. Not quite able to leave the room; my cold took an alarming turn where by I could not get air. Wind pipe closing up several times an hr..5 A and E at Chelsea Hospital, 2 x 999, 1 by a neighbor who found me in the stairwell almost passing out from lack of oxygen. 2 emergency Dr’s… Please note this search for medical help was in a 12 day time frame. Too scared to sleep as it’s worse at night.
      Had to travel 250 miles to ‘care’ for my 92 yr old dad in Wales. Had an attack first night.
      Chelsea and Westminster hospital just kept putting me back on the streets. One emergency Dr. gave me amoxicillin after receptionist found me collapsed in corridor, not able to breathe.
      My 19 yr old daughter made me view links for larygospasm.
      The Welsh Drs, 999, paramedics were totally confused that no London Dr’s or medical staff could diagnose and assist.
      To be fair, this is a truly, truly terrifying illness to view, and have. I lost my JOB because my boss thought it looks horrendous when I’m having an attack and it does look like someone is going to die quickly. It’s agonizing to try and find a ‘technique’ to get oxygen back into the lungs. There’s phlegm frothing, drooling, weird noises; it’s not a good look for clients.
      My 19 yr daughter got up a link on ‘STRAW BREATHING”. It’s given me the techniques to control the attacks and get air into the lungs. I’m on super vitamins of everything, social have spoken about putting dad into ‘care’ as this recent illness has placed mas as a non viable carer. It’s quite serious, but in my case, have found it extraordinary difficult to get diagnosed in Chelsea. One of my A and E admittance was when I collapsed on the pavement not yet having the techniques on how to control and manage it and the strangers got me to A and E put me in a wheel chair… yet still ..the hospital put me back on the streets advising me I was ‘still alive’ and if I wanted any ‘testing’ go and pay for it privately.
      Diagnose…diagnose…diagnose…

    • I am so sorry to hear about your experience with laryngospasms. It’s unbelievable how you’ve been treated. Indeed, laryngospasms are terrible to have, but mostly because they have no conventional treatment and you have to rely on reducing risk factors, managing air humidity, diet, acid reflux etc.
      In your case, like in many others, laryngospasms have occurred after a bad respiratory infection and they may continue until you’re fully recovered. This is why it’s important to start taking good care of yourself.
      It could help to have your doctor run some tests to see if your lungs are okay, if you need antibiotics further and proceed to managing the condition.
      If your doctor prescribes medication like Ventolin, have it with you at all times.
      If it’s discovered you have acid reflux, manage it with medication and diet (read more about what Foods to Eat and to Avoid for Acid Reflux).
      Have water with you at all times and stay hydrated to avoid dry throat and mouth which could bring about a laryngospasm episode.
      Allergies to pollen can trigger an episode too, so be careful this spring.
      For me, the most useful thing to do when I had a laryngospasm was to turn on the hot water in the shower and let the bathroom fill with humid air. It really helped my breathing and made the episode pass easier.
      And just as important, try to remain calm during a laryngospasm because your breathing will be reduced for a little while and panicking will only make you need more oxygen and increase the severity of the laryngospasm. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. I’ve been sick for about 2 days, lots of coughing and mucus (little bit of blood after a bad coughing fit but it went away).
    Well today while taking a shower my throat kept closing up. Ended up stopping my shower because I just couldn’t breathe.
    And every time I’d think the episode was over and I got my breathing controlled I’d have to cough and my lungs would close up again.
    This has been going on for twelve hours now.
    What can I do?

    • Hello, Jessica. It could be laryngospasms. And they may very likely be caused by this respiratory infection you are having and triggered by the coughing. It’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible for tests. Very important: tell your doctor that you coughed a little blood. This is extremely important information. As soon as you will recover from this respiratory infection you should see improvements in your laryngospasms. So please make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible so you can receive adequate treatment. Wishing you lots of health and hope to hear back from you with good news!

  36. Hello, I was just sitting down watching tv, drinking some tea, when I had a laryngospasm. I have had them before, I take chewable medication when possible. Anyway, I spit out the tea, and of course, stood up, tried to breathe, and panic set in. Just trying to figure out why this happened. I seriously concentrate when I swallow for fear of this happening.

    • I am sorry to hear this, Suzy. I know how it feels to have laryngospasms, especially occurring all of the sudden without an apparent reason. There are a number of reasons behind why laryngospasms happen. In you case, it can be anything from the chewable medication which can leave grainy particles on the throat lining and dry it out to acid reflux, either symptomatic or silent. The laryngospasm could have very well occurred because of some side effect of the medication, allergic reaction to the tea, dry air in the house, dust in the air, a respiratory infection such as the common cold or the flu.
      You need to investigate the possible causes of your laryngospasms and narrow down the triggers. Try to observe when they are most likely to occur, think about what you were doing right before that, what you just ate, if you just took your medication, things like that. This should help you identify the cause and allow you to avoid future episodes. In the meantime, make sure you are well hydrated, have some water with you at all times, avoid foods that cause acidity (please see menu, health page, stomach section for an article on foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux) and try to eat at least 3 hours before lying down to sleep. And if you have more questions, I’d be happy to share with you more of my experience with laryngospasms. Wishing you lots of health, Suzy!

  37. This is kind of embarrassing but I got in a massive fight with my husband and in the middle of it my throat closed up and I couldn’t breathe! It happened three times in a row, and now my throat is really sore. I couldn’t find anything else that could have caused it. One of the causes I see is panic/fear of imminent death. I didn’t feel that, just pretty intense anger. Anyone experience this or know whether it can be a cause? I’m still not breathing great a couple of hours later, but it doesn’t feel closed up or anything. I’m supposed to have surgery in a couple days so I want to be able to breath under anesthesia.

    • Hi, Jane. First of all, if you are not breathing well, it might be best to seek medical attention.
      It’s also wise to talk to your doctor about this, considering you’re having surgery this soon. The doctor will surely want to know about it and want to investigate the cause behind your laryngospasm-type episodes to make sure you can have the surgery safely.
      Secondly, it’s not that uncommon to experience laryngospasms before a big event in your life. In your case, the approaching date of the surgery may be giving you anxiety and this can be a cause for laryngospasms. The argument with your husband could also have been enough of a stressful event to trigger a laryngospasm. If you have been talking loudly or yelling for even a couple of minutes, this could lead to dry mouth and throat and could have predisposed to a laryngospasm. The intensity of the argument could have easily lead to a rush of adrenaline which could be a trigger for laryngospasms as well.
      Then there are other possible causes like severe magnesium deficiency (made worse by anxiety), a respiratory infection of some sort (although the sore throat could be because of talking too much or arguing loudly), dry air in the house, inhaling dust or other allergens, not drinking enough water etc. Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health!

  38. Hi Marius,
    Just found this site this morning after a miserable night. I have suffered laryngospasms for many years off and on. They scare hubby more than me because of the sound when I am trying to breathe in. I have chronic post nasal drip from a thyroid condition that is dragging on as we titrate my thyroid levels up. My thyroid died slowly. The drip causes a lot of coughing in the morning which seems to set up the irritation of the vocal cords. However, I also know I have silent GERD. I have found one thing that works miracles when having an episode. I have a little vaporizer that lets you place your face into a plastic mold over a little basin that holds water. You plug it in and the water makes steam which you can concentrate because of the face mask. The steam thins the mucus in my nose and throat, relaxes my vocal cords and lets me breathe again. I am allergic to almost all anti acids but Tums and Pepcid. As long as I remember to take a Pepcid pill with dinner I am good to go all night. Forgot last night and had a greasy pizza for late lunch. You are right in that almost all my spasms happen at night while laying down. Pepcid helps greatly as a preventive as does the little personal vaporizer when a laryngospasm happens. Plus I use a saline sinus rinse in the mornings which cuts down the mucous that has collected so cuts the excess coughing! I am lax sometimes in doing the daily work needed to stop the spasms. When I remember things go well.

    • Hello, Holly. Have you maybe considered that the main cause of your laryngospams is actually the silent GERD that has been going on for years? If treated, GERD should improve by a lot or even go away, given medication and a good diet. But if not treated, it can cause continual acid reflux and laryngospasms, not to mention it gets worse over time as the damage builds up and so do the laryngospasms which may become more frequent or severe.

      Tums is an antacid and does nothing when it comes to actually treating GERD, just manages symptoms. Pepcid is a histamine-2 blocker medicine that lowers production of stomach acid. But not even Pepcid treats GERD by itself. You still need to change your diet and absolutely not eat pizza, greasy foods of any sort, heavy meals, drink caffeine or eat problematic foods for acid reflux such as tomato sauce. I think that in two weeks time on a good diet, you should see major improvements in your acid reflux and your layryngospasms should become a lot less frequent. It could help to get medication from your doctor like proton pump inhibitors to help you manage your silent acid reflux while the dietary changes come into effect. Know that you can’t treat GERD just with medication while eating problematic foods. Diet is decisive. At the same time, it’s not good to let GERD continue because it increases your chances of stomach cancer and esophagus cancer. And taking medication for it can, in time, lead to frail bones, osteoporosis and other side effects. If you go to the Menu above, Health section, Stomach icon, you will find several useful articles on acid reflux causes, management and foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux, a detailed list. It could help you learn to avoid problematic foods that might be triggering your GERD.

      The reason why I suspect your GERD is the cause of your laryngospasms for the most part is because of the postnasal drip you mention. Often times, when the esophagus is irritated and inflamed from stomach acid, your body increases production of mucus to better protect the mucous lining. Actually, postnasal drip is a common symptom in chronic GERD.
      I like the little vaporizer mask you mention. It seems extremely helpful. I haven’t found such a product when my laryngospasms were at their peak and it would have been great to have had one too. I had to rely on turning on the hot water in the shower to make steam in the entire bathroom. Also, the saline rinse is a great solution for maintaining the health of the nasal passages. If you do decide to change your diet, I would love to hear about your progress, foods that trigger acid reflux for you and your overall experience with managing GERD through diet. Wishing you lots of health, Holly!

  39. Hello, I’m relieved to come across all this info. I had a spasm 4 nights ago, a really severe one. I was totally unable to bring in/out ANY air for a good 20+ seconds. I seen that sniffs or slow breathing, drinking water etc. are recommended to help break the laryngospasm attack, but what if u simply can’t as I could not breathe even the slightest bit the 1st 20 seconds. Is it common amongst others to not have the ability to breathe? Seem most can get some air and or have stridor? Am I different? Or a more severe case? When do I call 911 etc.? I live really far out of town, at least 40 minutes to hospital. No panic attacks have set in over it and I’m unable to sleep although this page so far in 15 minutes has helped me more than I ever thought possible. Thank you.

    • Hello, Leah. The best thing to do when you first experience a laryngospasm is make an appointment with your doctor to check if you are okay. If there are no underlying conditions causing it, then it’s really all about management. Do keep in mind that there are triggers that make laryngospasms worse or more frequent. For example, if you experience laryngospasms at night more often than during the day, it is possible they are triggered by acid reflux, maybe a silent acid reflux. In this case, it’s ideal to watch what you eat, avoid problematic foods like fatty, fried foods, heavy meals, acidic foods (tomatoes, tomato sauce, citrus and citrus juices etc.), coffee, alcohol, cocoa, chocolate and make sure you eat at least 3 hours before going to sleep. We have some great articles on foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux if you go to the Menu above and choose Health then Stomach section.
      Laryngospasms can be brought on by dry air, allergens or a respiratory infection. It’s important to try to understand what causes these episodes for you, have some tests at the doctor’s and manage your diet and lifestyle by staying hydrated, eating right and controlling the environment you spend most of your time in.

      As for your concerns, nothing about laryngospasms is normal, natural or common. But it is not uncommon to not be able to take air in for 20 seconds or longer. It’s worse for some people and better for others. In any case, seeing a doctor for tests is imperative so you can at least rule out underlying conditions. It’s important to try to remain as calm as possible when you have a laryngospasm because panicking will increase your need for oxygen and make the episode worse. Turn on the hot water in the bathroom and calmly breathe in the humid air to help your throat muscles relax. Your doctor may even prescribe you asthma medication in case of an emergency to help open your airways and help you deal with the laryngospasm. If you do get prescribed asthma medication, it is important you have it with you at all times, even if you may never use it. Also, have water with you all the time. Water works for laryngospasms caused by acid reflux or inhaling allergens and sparkling water is even better than still water in this situation. If you feel you require medical help, do no hesitate to call 911. It could help to have someone there for you. The emotional support alone can help one better deal with these occurrences. And remember, there is a reason you had a laryngospasm now and finding the cause of it can help you understand how to avoid other episodes in the future.
      Hope this helps and wishing you lots of health, Leah!

  40. Thank you. I’m a bit more at ease just knowing I’m not the only one, I’m hoping if it happens again I won’t be so panicked and maybe it will be less severe.

    • Trying to be as calm as you can possibly be can help a lot in these situations. It could also help to see a doctor and learn more about what this is exactly. It can provide you with valuable knowledge about how to better handle the situation. Wishing you lots of health, Leah, and if you ever have any questions, I am happy to help.

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