What is Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction (EILO)?

Exercise-Induced Laryngeal Obstruction (EILO) is commonly referred as Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD). It is a voice disorder where the vocal folds (cords) close when they’re supposed to be open.

A typical profile of an EILO patient reflects someone who is between the ages of 11-18 (girls more than boys), is highly competitive/successful in sports, and sets high academic and/or performance standards. EILO symptoms may transfer to non-athletic activities, when stressed.

Some patients are misdiagnosed with exercise induced asthma (EIA) instead of EILO and, subsequently, do not report any relief from steroids/inhalers. However, some patients have EILO alone or in combination with asthma, reflux, and/or allergies, and do require medical management of these symptoms as well.

Some of the signs of EILO are:

  • Wheezing or other respiratory noises.
  • A feeling of not inhaling enough air when playing sports (soccer, lacrosse, track, swimming, and etc.) then a quick recovery time (3-5 min).
  • The need to take frequent breaks during the game (“sub-out” during soccer, lacrosse, etc.)
  • Asthma or allergy medications don’t significantly help with the breathing problem.
  • A history or symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Points to the throat more than the chest to indicate the area of difficult breathing or tension.

How do we help?

We help athletes achieve their maximum potential by helping them participate in sports without suffering from breathing difficulties caused by the improper closing of the vocal folds.

We provide EILO patients high quality therapy techniques for managing their breath control to help them participate fully in their recreational and athletic areas of interest.

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