Lives unaffected by cystic fibrosis

Gastrointestinal Tract

The gastrointestinal tract includes the mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus. The gastrointestinal tract issues are highly diverse in cystic fibrosis (CF). Some of these conditions are specific to CF (e.g. meconium ileus and distal intestinal obstruction syndrome) while others are not but are more frequent and/or worsened by CF itself or as part of treatments for CF (e.g. gastroesophageal reflux and constipation). 

Some of the gastrointestinal conditions that affect individuals with CF include:

  • Obstructive issues largely due to mucus build-up

     - Meconium ileus
     - Constipation, including rectal prolapse, anal fissures and haemorrhoids
     - Distal intestinal obstruction
     - Intussusception (telescoping of bowels)

  • Gut inflammation and abnormal microbiome
  • Cancer

     ‚Äč- Small and large intestines.

The gastrointestinal tract is also susceptible to modifiable and lifestyle factors such as:

  • Insufficient exercise
  • Traveling and other disruptions to your routine
  • Stress
  • Low quality diet
  • Withholding bowel movements
  • Certain medicines (antidepressants, iron pills, strong narcotics)
  • Pregnancy
  • Antacids containing aluminium or calcium.

Individuals with CF who have difficult gastrointestinal issues may benefit from seeking help from a gastroenterologist.

CF and the Gastrointestinal Tract:

CF and Colorectal complications:

Abdominal pain:

Meconium ileus: