Has anyone (besides me) ever had one? Terrifying. I’m seeing my doctor tomorrow. Basically you can’t breathe and your airway closes. I don’t have allergies but this must be what it feels like for people with severe allergic reactions to foods.
We’ve all experienced this when water or food goes down the wrong “pipe” and hits the vocal cords. The body has this wonderful reflex ro prevent aspiration and potential death. Some people experience this with GERD, swallowing problems and secretions.
Thanks but I was sound asleep when it happened.
You were asleep and this spasm woke you up, right? GERD sufferers can be awakened by acid traveling up the esophagus, irritating vocal cords, and causing their spasm that results in an asthma-like “attack”.
(I’m not a doctor but the parent of a kid diagnosed with VCD).
My sis got this a few times and really freaked out. I don’t think it’s happened again. I can tell you the key is to not panic, easier said than done. You need to remain calm and breath through your nose until it subsides. You do not die or suffocate to death from this, though at the time you think you will.
My husband had one years ago… NFL playoff game, exciting play, hot sauce, vocal chords…
Very, very frightening to watch.
This happened a few times to my DH, due to GERD. It scared both of us when it happened. One night it happened, and he began to panic. We went to the ER at the hospital where I worked. The ICU pulmonologist happened to be walking through the area and saw us. We were in a room pronto. DH thought he couldn’t breathe, but his O2 sats measured 100%, so that did help him calm down a bit. He ended up having a bronchoscopy by this pulmonologist, where they saw ulcers on his vocal cords from GERD.
A course of prilosec or something similar took care of the problem.
Staying off your right side when sleeping can help as well, especially if you carry weight in your abdomen.
Dont eat two hrs before bed,
No alcohol, two hours before bed.
Dont get dependent on proton pump inhibitors. You need that stomach acid to digest your food.
Thank you sooooo much for this thread. Husband has had this maybe three times. All when he had been drinking. I
It absolutely scared the beejeebers out of me.
I you tubed a video of it for him and he heard the tell tale horrendous sound that comes with it. Now we both know to stay calm, breathe through his nose and to NOT stand in the bathroom holding onto the counter ( in case he passes out).
Thank you, thank you, thank you. One less heart attack inducing moment for ME!
So sorry for all of you who went through this.
Can’t help but jump in here. Any of you who suffer from GERD, please get scoped periodically. Acid reflux can lead to esophageal cancer, one of the more deadly cancerous cancers (less than 25% 5 year survival rate). My husband had barrets caused by silent reflux. He was put on nexium and we were told it could help reverse the damage. He was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer in November 2011. He is one of the lucky ones so far but I have watched a lot of people suffer and die. INSIST you are scoped if you suffer from frequent heartburn. Lecture over.
What swimcatsmom said!!! Don’t dismiss this heartburn as a minor inconvenience. If you already have Barrett’s, as can be determined by biopsy during upper endoscopy, periodic checks are a must.
In a nutshelll… Esophagus is not designed to withstand stomach acid. When this acid spills into it regularly, the acid doesn’t just cause irritation - the cells lining the esophagus can die and get replaced with a different type of cells that can become cancerous over time. 10% of GERD sufferers develop Barrett’s, and 1% of them will develop cancer, apparently:
I have 2 family members who suffer from this frequently. I’ve had it happen to me once, and it’s absolutely terrifyingly. So I don’t know how they can bear it repeatedly.
One of the two had a procedure to “stretch” the valve down there (I don’t know the details), and he says he doesn’t suffer from the spasms anymore.
The other family member is considering having the same procedure.
Mechanical drainage improvement can help SO much with GERD!! (Along with not eating near bedtime and no mint/chocolate/citrus late in the day) We bought a 6" tall mediwedge for our king sized bed. It goes under the mattress and is a triangular piece of foam that angles the mattress from top to bottom so that your stomach juices can stay where they belong at night. It eliminated heartburn issues that DH and I were having. You get used to sleeping on an angle really quickly, and it is much better than trying to prop yourself up with pillows, or putting bricks under the top legs of your bed. Plus, makes watching TV in bed easier since you are angled up a bit!
Wow - thank you everyone - so I’m not alone in this. Yes BB - it woke me up. And I swear I couldn’t breathe through my nose either. I just made these tight high pitched wheezing sounds. EK4 - good advice - like tonight I was moving out of old apartment (lease ends tomorrow) and I had dinner and some red wine at 10 pm. Not good.
Anxious mom - thanks for the tip about the wedge! Pillows aren’t enough.
Sax - you said it right - terrifying to experience and worse to watch. You feel like you’re watching them die.
I’ll report back tomorrow after seeing doc.
From the link in my first post:
Without specifically looking it up on the Internet, breathing thru the nose should not help. The larynx or vocal cords are below the spot where the nasal passages meet the oral passages. Maybe breathing thru the nose (instead if thru your mouth) makes you feel more calm when it’s happening? I’ve self medicated with albuterol, and it seems to work. I guess I should look more into this.
You are correct, YoHoYoHo! My D had VCD, which often goes together with asthma, and can be confused for the latter, so I’ve seen plenty of pictures of vocal cords… Nasal breathing does not help per se, but you are right - relaxation and deep breathing techniques (taught by trained speech therapists!) help.
If you are interested in the subject, National Jewish is the best place for this information:
Besides laryngealspasm, maybe it could be hyper reactive airway (asthma attack) from the sulfites in the wine?
Or it could be obstructive sleep apnea.
Okay then. Note to self:
Screaming at H to breathe through his nose may be counterproductive and may lead to increased agitation. Got it.
May also lead to a huge fight later
Yo hohoho - def could be wine related.
Saw doc this morning and a pulmonologist. I’m going to see my ENT, an allergist, then maybe do a sleep study. Pulmonologist said you can have GERD trigger an attack without having GERD symptoms. I’m not overweight (5’4", 128 pounds) but I should make sure I don’t eat/drink close to bedtime.