Inflammation and narrowing of the airway in any location, from your throat out into your lungs, can result in wheezing.

The most common causes of recurrent wheezing are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which both cause narrowing and spasms (bronchospasms) in the small airways of your lungs.

However, any inflammation in your throat or larger airways can cause wheezing. Common causes include infection, an allergic reaction or a physical obstruction, such as a tumor or a foreign object that's been inhaled.

All of the following conditions can lead to wheezing:

  1. Allergies
  2. Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction, such as to an insect bite or medication)
  3. Asthma
  4. Bronchiectasis (a chronic lung condition in which abnormal widening of bronchial tubes inhibits mucus clearing)
  5. Bronchiolitis (especially in young children)
  6. Bronchitis
  7. Childhood asthma
  8. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
  9. Emphysema
  10. Epiglottitis (swelling of the "lid" of your windpipe)
  11. Foreign object inhaled: First aid
  12. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  13. Heart failure
  14. Lung cancer
  15. Medications (particularly aspirin)
  16. Obstructive sleep apnea (a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep)
  17. Pneumonia
  18. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — especially in young children
  19. Respiratory tract infection (especially in children younger than 2)
  20. Smoking
  21. Vocal cord dysfunction (a condition that affects vocal cord movement)

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Jan. 11, 2018

See also

  1. Acute bronchitis: Is it contagious?
  2. Albuterol side effects
  3. Allergies
  4. Allergies and asthma
  5. Allergy medications: Know your options
  6. Allergy-proof your home
  7. Alpha-gal syndrome
  8. Anaphylaxis
  9. Ascariasis
  10. Aspergillosis
  11. Asthma
  12. Asthma and acid reflux
  13. Asthma attack
  14. Asthma diet
  15. Adult asthma action plan
  16. Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
  17. Asthma: Colds and flu
  18. Asthma medications
  19. Asthma: Testing and diagnosis
  20. Asthma treatment: 3 steps
  21. Asthma treatment: Do complementary and alternative approaches work?
  22. Asthma and menstruation
  23. Asthma-friendly products
  24. Atrioventricular canal defect
  25. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  26. Barrel chest: What causes it?
  27. Heart Failure
  28. Bronchiolitis
  29. Bronchitis
  30. Carcinoid tumors
  31. Cardiac asthma: What causes it?
  32. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  33. Chronic cough
  34. COPD
  35. Cystic fibrosis
  36. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  37. Does honey offer sweet relief for allergies?
  38. Dust mite allergy
  39. Heart transplant to treat dilated cardiomyopathy: Elmo's story
  40. External Drive: Charles' Artificial Heart
  41. Food allergies: Labels
  42. Food allergy
  43. Can adults develop a food allergy?
  44. Food allergy or intolerance?
  45. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  46. Heart failure
  47. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  48. Holiday Heart
  49. LABAs for asthma
  50. Lung cancer
  51. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  52. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  53. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  54. Milk allergy
  55. Nasal Cleaning
  56. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  57. Neuroblastoma
  58. Ozone air purifiers
  59. Peanut allergy
  60. Pectus excavatum
  61. Pectus Excavatum
  62. Penicillin allergy
  63. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
  64. Pulmonary edema
  65. Pulmonary embolism
  66. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  67. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  68. Sarcoidosis
  69. Shellfish allergy
  70. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  71. Trouble breathing
  72. Vascular rings
  73. Asthma attack video
  74. Dry powder disk inhaler
  75. Dry powder tube inhaler
  76. Video: How to use a peak flow meter
  77. Single-dose dry powder inhaler
  78. Using a metered dose asthma inhaler and spacer
  79. Vocal cord dysfunction
  80. Heart failure action plan
  81. What is aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD)?