What is EILO/PVCD?

Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction (EILO) or Paradoxical Vocal Cord Dysfunction (PVCD) are conditions characterised by abnormal, involuntary closure of the larynx at rest or during physical activity, leading to breathing difficulties.

With EILO, the inappropriate narrowing of the upper airway can make it hard to get air into the lungs during exercise, resulting in the individual struggling to inhale and often creating a noisy breathing pattern whilst playing sport or exercising. EILO is most commonly seen in adolescent and young adult athletes and is frequently confused with asthma. 

PVCD is another name to describe conditions under the umbrella term of ILO (Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction), and frequently there is confusion around the naming and treatment of these problematic conditions. 

All variations of EILO, PVCD or ILO can occur with symptoms of dyspnea, cough, dysphonia or changes to your voice, and inhalation wheeze or stridor, and can occur with and without exercise.  

EILO and VCD are both part of a spectrum of issues that occur around the throat or larynx, and other examples include chronic irritable cough, muscle tension dysphonia (excessive muscle tension altering the voice) and globus (a lump in the back of your throat that does not go away). 


Common signs & symptoms of EILO or PVCD: 

  • Shortness of breath– usually with more difficulty inhaling than exhaling. 
  • Noisy, high-pitched breathing when inhaling 
  • Feeling of throat and or chest tightness 
  • Choking sensation 
  • Vocal changes 

For individuals with EILO, these symptoms usually come on suddenly during high intensity exercise and will often be noticeable to those around them as well. The symptoms usually resolve within minutes upon stopping exercise. 

Common conditions associated with EILO and PVCD: 

Reflux, Asthma, Breathing Pattern Disorders, chronic irritable cough, globus and other lung diseases. 


How Breathing Works can help if you have EILO or PVCD? 

After an accurate diagnosis has been made by ourselves and other health professionals, breathing rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the management of EILO and PVCD. It focuses on: 

  • Respiratory education covering laryngeal function and dysfunction. 
  • Retraining breathing patterns. 
  • Learning breathing techniques which help to open your airway and relax the neck, throat and shoulders whilst exercising. 
  • Strengthening respiratory muscles. 
  • Reducing anxiety related to symptoms. 


Get in touch with the team today to start your assessment and treatment! 

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