If you have stumbled on my website, I hope you or a loved one does not have VCD. In our case, it hasn’t proved as easy to fix as the literature would have you believe. So, I and my daughter are going to blog about our progress with respect to treating the exercise-induced VCD that is keeping my girl from continuing to compete in swimming.

We are going to throw everything at this and see what sticks, so stay tuned!

Hello VCD world!

7 thoughts on “Hello VCD world!

  • December 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm
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    I have a competitive swimmer who is 15, has asthma and was just diagnosed with VCD. Googled all of that and got here. Feeling lost. Does anything work?

    • December 24, 2014 at 3:12 am
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      Hi Dawn,
      Between work and swim meets for two kids, I don’t get a lot of time update this blog. I am also feeling as lost as you probably are feeling. So far, most people who have VCD that I have personally talked to have managed to control it with breathing exercises alone- even swimmers. But those swimmers are (usually) able to breathe through their noses, which helps stop VCD almost immediately, they say, IF you can successfully train yourself to swim while nose breathing! I have tried this myself, and it’s not easy, especially if you have allergies, which prevent my kid from nose breathing almost all the time.

      And my daughter has just had yet another absolutely disastrous swim meet. I can’t overstate the disaster: VCD on all events longer than 100yds, goggle malfunction on her best event, DQ’ed on the next event…. I find that I am so nervous now at meets because of her VCD, I really can’t watch anymore. And she doesn’t want to go anymore, either. Luckily, her coach’s kid also happens to have VCD, so her coach is working with her on swimming at race pace in practice to gain confidence. This I think is the only thing we have left to try: she has to learn to breathe at race pace. Eight percent of Olympians have VCD, so it can be controlled. It seems this condition varies so much from person to person, with contributing risk factors varying as well, that the success rate in controlling it must also vary.

      But we have tried to reduce the allergies as much as possible without getting rid of our dog (not going to ever happen), we tore out all the carpeting in the house, wood blinds, HEPA whole house filter…. She’s tried breathing exercises, reflux meds, atrovent inhaler, amitryptaline, biofeedback and sports psychologist, and so far, nothing has really helped at all. Interestingly, she says backstroke is the worst for inducing VCD. And also, when she doesn’t care about a swim meet, like her high school meets, she does fantastic and gets best times. So with her, there is a huge mental component to it that the physical treatments just can’t overcome yet.

      I will try to keep this blog updated and let you know what works. Please let me know if you find anything that works for you!

  • January 11, 2015 at 9:00 pm
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    Wow! This could be one of the most helpful blogs we’ve ever come across on thesubject. Actually magnificent info! I’m also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

    • June 29, 2015 at 8:16 pm
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      Thanks, Tamela! As you can see, I don’t have a lot of spare time to devote to this blog, but I appreciate your feedback. I am going to be updating the blog with the lastest in our struggles to help our swimmer with VCD later this summer. If you have any publications or blogs you would like me to link to, please drop me a note here. Thanks again!

  • February 1, 2016 at 3:43 am
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    I created an extensive course in which I have poured my knowledge about and experience with VCD. It is full of tips, experience, and guidance ranging from speech therapy breathing techniques to diet, triggers, psychology, and more. It is also interactive in that you write your experience and responses, and I will respond. After years of consulting with dozens of athletes who contacted me looking for answers, I decided to create a course that could really help. My heart to help athletes with VCD because there is still so little information, and I know firsthand how hard it is to have this when you have so many goals to achieve. If you are interested, here is the website: http://www.vcdvictory.com

  • February 17, 2016 at 2:33 pm
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    Thank you for blogging about this. I have a 9 year old swimmer who was diagnosed 2 months ago with VCD. She is also asthmatic and has food allergies. So far we have found that panting like a dog (tounge has to be sticking out) is working for “attacks” but she is constantly clearing her throat. I didn’t see any mention of that in your blog. Is that something you have noticed also – it really seems like she does this one to two times a minute during the day but never does it while sleeping.
    Our insurance doesn’t cover VCD, so we have been working to find a speech therapist that will work with us and not send us to the poor house.
    Thank you so much for all your time you have put into this blog! I found it incredibly helpful on a topic there isn’t much info out there about.

    • March 3, 2016 at 2:25 am
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      Hello Dana, I’m glad that you found panting helps your daughter. Anything that moves the focus of muscle tension from the throat to the front of the lips, like sipping through a straw or breathing through pursed lips, seems to help. The thing that seemed to help the most was removing the allergens from our house and from my daughter’s diet as much as possible. Good luck finding a speech therapist!

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