Extra credit if you already knew what these initial stood for. ILO stands for inducible laryngeal obstruction which is a general term for a much longer named condition called paradoxical vocal cord motion. I have recently been told that this condition is often seen by speech specialists. In fact, these specialists are extremely helpful in diagnosing and treating this problem.

Paradoxical vocal cord motion occurs when the vocal cords do not move properly during inspiration or expiration. It was actually described in 1842 by someone named Dunglison but has recently become more recognized as a cause for cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and a variety of other symptoms which can mimic lung disease.

Normally, the vocal cords move apart during inspiration and move slightly together during expiration or coughing. The word paradoxical means that the normal mechanism occurs in the opposite fashion and often in a more intense way. The causes for this condition include, but are not limited to exercise, irritants, and emotional distress.

Diagnosing this condition usually requires direct observation of the vocal cords or specialized x-ray techniques. Patients with this condition have often had extensive work ups because of suspected lung disease.

However, when this condition is suspected, patients should be referred to a speech specialist familiar with the condition and who are able to provide the needed therapeutic approaches to relieve the patient’s symptoms.

Just a reminder, the Buzz with Dr. Z is on WRTA (98.5 FM) every third Tuesday of the month at 3 pm