Bronchospasm or Wheezing

Chest | Pulmonology | Bronchospasm or Wheezing (Symptom)


Bronchospasm or Wheezing, is characterized by temporary narrowing of the bronchi, the airways within the lungs, due to contraction of the muscles in the walls of the bronchi, inflammation of the lining of the bronchi, or a combination of both. It causes difficulty in breathing which can be very mild to severe. Contraction may be triggered by the release of substances during an allergic reaction.

When the airways are narrowed, the air is reduced, causing wheezing or coughing.


Asthma is the most common cause of bronchospasm. Other causes include respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anaphylactic shock, or allergic reaction to chemicals. Some of the things that can cause bronchospasms are consuming foods, taking medicines, getting insect bites or stings when one is allergic to them, and fluctuating hormone levels, particularly in women.

A few of the more common allergens are foods such as eggs, milk, peanuts, walnuts, tree and other nuts, fish, especially shellfish, soy and wheat; insect bites and stings, especially bee stings; and other medicines, especially penicillin and its derivatives. Bronchospasms are a serious potential complication of placing a breathing tube during general anaesthesia. Other causes are side effects of topical decongestants such as Oxymetazoline and Phenylephrine.