Study Reveals How Cystic Fibrosis Affects Young Womens Sexual Health

Self, Health And Wellness

Cystic Fibrosis Is Currently Among Diseases That Do Not Have a Cure

Cystic Fibrosis and Sexual Health of Young Women – What You Need to Know

Cystic fibrosis is currently among diseases that do not have a cure. Although there are treatments that can alleviate symptoms and promote longevity, finding a cure for this progressive and inheritable disease is still mission impossible for scientists.  

The cause of cystic fibrosis is a mutation of the so-called CFTR gene, which leads to thick mucus forming in the liver, pancreas, lungs, and intestines. Let’s take a look at what you should need to know about CF and its influence on the sexual health of young women.

Sexual Health Is Important to Women Suffering from Cystic Fibrosis

The crucial study related to this issue was published was done in 2016 and involved female patients from 15 to 24 years of age. A total of 188 women participated in the survey conducted by Traci M. Kazmerski who is currently employed at the Pittsburgh’s UPMC Children’s Hospital. The study was conducted at five locations, including Colorado, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Birmingham.  
The focus was on the reproductive and sexual health care preferences and utilization of young female patients suffering from CF. According to the author, there is a definite need for medical care to adjust to the requirements of young adult and adolescent population.

“Young women dedicate a lot of attention to sexual health. This is understandable not only because they are entering adulthood, but also because these are first medical decisions and information women are seeking on their own and not together with their parents,” said Kazmerski.

What Do the Results Say?

The statistics say that 91% of the participants were single at the time of the survey. The same percentage was white while 6% of Hispanic women also took part in the study. Approximately one-quarter of the participants was working half or full-time while 62% were still in school.

The results revealed that more than a half of females (54%) suffering from CF admitted they had sexual intercourse with a man. If you compare it to a national survey that observed the same age group (15-24), the number is not as high – on a national level, approximately 66% of young women from this group admitted they had sex.

One of the worrying results may be the one that 31% of surveyed women revealed they are suffering from diabetes caused by cystic fibrosis. Furthermore, more than half of the participants (59%) were hospitalized in the last 12 months and 13% had a gastronomy tube.

Puberty Comes a Little Late

According to this study, puberty comes a little late for those suffering from CF. The research found these women reached puberty approximately seven months later than the general female population. A significant pubertal delay occurred in 29% of the surveyed patients.  

This is predominantly a statistical fact and doesn’t lead to any female sexual dysfunction issues. The study, however, revealed a potentially big problem that girls avoided discussing because they were ashamed – urinary incontinence.

“One of the young girls we surveyed admitted that she wasn’t wearing her vest and that is why she was sick. When we asked her why she didn’t listen to the advice, she told us about the urinary incontinence she was dealing whenever she utilized the vest. This is the first time such information appears anywhere,” said Kazmerski.

Although it is a new finding, it is not exactly good news since these vests assists in eliminating mucus from patients’ airways. On top of that, yeast infections were reported by 49% of the participants.

“These often come as a side-effect of using antibiotics. When it comes to sexual health, another potential drawback of antibiotics may be the feeling of pain while having sex. We believe this is because of dry and thick vaginal mucus in CF patients,” revealed Kazmerski. Some other potential side effects include a regular cough or even coughing up blood during intercourse, as well as excessive flatulence.

Approximately 45% of the surveyed females wanted to discuss fertility with doctors while about a third (31%) wanted to know more about potential pregnancy. As for other potential topics the patients see as interesting for discussions, those include menstruation (15%), yeast infections (18%), and contraception (19%).

While this marks the desires of the patients, the reality is somewhat different – just 9% asked a professional about contraception and only 26% of them had a pelvic exam or Pap smear.


The results of this survey indicate that young females suffering from cystic fibrosis engage in sexual activities. They are also interested in discussing fertility and pregnancy, as well as other specifics related to their disease.

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More information is needed on the issue which is why Kazmerski is preparing an even larger survey focusing on women suffering from CF. Next time, the participants will be females aged over 25 so that the data gathered on the disease cycle would be complete. According to the available information, the study will involve 500 participants and will be conducted in1 0 locations throughout the US.