3 doctors weighed in:

I'm having trouble catching a refreshing breath -- saw my family doc and she referred me to a pulm. -- ruled out asthma, etc. Thought it was stress related (probably so)... But i'm not getting any relief. I'm on meds for stress, but obviously they aren't

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Luis Matos
Integrative Medicine

In brief: Check Vocal cords

There is a condition where your vocal cords are tightening up when you breathe in .
This can give you shortness of breath made worse by stress and commonly confused with asthma. Vocal cord dysfunction can be made worse by acid reflux and sometimes, post nasal drainage. Get these fixed, then a good speech therapist may help you by teaching you techniques to help you breathe more efficiently.

In brief: Check Vocal cords

There is a condition where your vocal cords are tightening up when you breathe in .
This can give you shortness of breath made worse by stress and commonly confused with asthma. Vocal cord dysfunction can be made worse by acid reflux and sometimes, post nasal drainage. Get these fixed, then a good speech therapist may help you by teaching you techniques to help you breathe more efficiently.
Dr. Luis Matos
Dr. Luis Matos
Thank
Dr. Kenneth Redlin
Family Medicine

In brief: It

It sounds like a physical cause has been mostly ruled out.
Depending on which medications you have been given for anxiety, keep in mind that these can sometimes take a few weeks to start making a difference. Also, anxiety disorders sometimes require higher doses. Please be certain that pulmonary and cardiac sources have been excluded. In addition to medication, consider working with a psychologist for training in relaxation techniques. Have you identified a source for your stress? Also, a second opinion is never a bad idea. I wish you the best in your search for a solution.

In brief: It

It sounds like a physical cause has been mostly ruled out.
Depending on which medications you have been given for anxiety, keep in mind that these can sometimes take a few weeks to start making a difference. Also, anxiety disorders sometimes require higher doses. Please be certain that pulmonary and cardiac sources have been excluded. In addition to medication, consider working with a psychologist for training in relaxation techniques. Have you identified a source for your stress? Also, a second opinion is never a bad idea. I wish you the best in your search for a solution.
Dr. Kenneth Redlin
Dr. Kenneth Redlin
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Michael Zacharisen
Paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction can have symptoms of difficulty especially on inspiration and is easily mistaken for asthma, but asthma tests are normal and asthma medications not helpful. Stress (anxiety) and GE reflux may aggravate vocal cord dysfunction. Speech pathologists can help with breathing maneuvers to relieve symptoms.
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Adam Levy
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
33 years in practice
1M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors