Monday, April 27, 2015


About 3 or 4 minutes AFTER performing highly aerobic dance (this never happens DURING the performance) I experience a severe tickle in my throat, followed by very frightening stridor. Drinking water irritates that tickle, and even air that I inhale irritates it. The worst part of this episode can last as long as 20 minutes. While I have been told that I am actually getting sufficient oxygen, it feels like I can't inhale. I will probably resign from the dance team because of this, even though I love it. Any hope for preventing these unpleasant episodes?

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

I would suggest evaluation by a laryngologist (an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician who specializes in the larynx) for evaluation of possible Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion (PVFM). PVFM is a disorder in which the the vocal folds behave normally most of the time, but inappropriately close on inhalation during an episode. The cause of PVFM is not always well understood, but triggers may include allergies, acid reflux, anxiety/ panic disorder, or frequent upper respiratory infections - to name a few. In addition to treatment for any underlying cause, therapy with a speech pathologist is crucial to learn techniques to interrupt the inappropriate vocal fold movement and stop an episode.

Best of luck to you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Polyps Removed - Unable to Speak

I had polyps removed one week ago and have not been able to speak since. The doctor told me that I CAN talk, but my vocal cords don't know it yet. (Muscle tension dysphonia). I cannot find a voice therapist who can see me in less than six weeks, and I'm only able to make deep, grunting sounds. Are there any vocal exercises I can do until I see the therapist? The only input I got from my ENT is to hum.

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

You can certainly try to produce any vocalization you would like - I wouldn't recommend any specific exercise. I'm sorry that you're not able to see a speech pathologist sooner; perhaps your physician could offer you another referral.

Good luck to you!

Swelling of Vocal Cords

My vocal cords start swelling after I talk for an hour or more unlike other people. Does post-nasal cause swelling of vocal cords? My doctor suggested that I have anti allergic. Does post nasal cause mild changes in voice? This is the only question I wanted to ask.
Thanks :)

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

Yes, it is possible that post-nasal drip may cause swelling of the vocal folds and associated vocal changes.

Best regards