Health & Parenting, Home & Happiness

August 11, 2017

Reproductive Health and Cystic Fibrosis

Growing up I didn't feel strongly concerned about reproduction because it wasn't something that was often talked about in the cf community. After learning firsthand about some of the issues out there regarding birth control and sex I wanted to share my own story so maybe it can help someone.

There are numerous reports by women who say they experience a significant increase in respiratory symptoms during or close to menstrual cycles, but it's not something that's often recognized or talked about. I noticed that many of my exacerbations align with menstrual cycles. I have body aches and fatigue that turns into fevers and lung infections.

I started on birth control pills but as I began to need more antibiotics, it decreased the effectiveness and I got a Mirena IUD placed instead. I was started on blood thinners after doctors found a blood clot near my SVC and I took Bactrim continuously to help fight lung infections. During that time I experienced abnormal bleeding for about 25 days per month for one or two years. At one point I was taking birth control pills while I had the Mirena to try to stop the bleeding. It took several months but eventually things started regulating after I got my Mirena out and I started to feel more normal again.

It's important to note that some methods don't work for everyone whether you're using it to help regulate periods or prevent pregnancy. Pills like Orkambi metabolize hormones faster which causes a lower level of hormones to remain in the body, so birth control pills and other hormonal methods of birth control can be ineffective. It's important to understand how medications like Orkambi, blood thinners, and antibiotics can affect birth control options and you should regularly talk to a doctor to discuss your own options and concerns.

I think it's incredibly important for young people, especially young women with Cystic Fibrosis to consider the fact that it is becoming more possible for women with CF to become moms whether it's through assisted reproductive technology or not. However, it's not impossible for men with CF to become dads either. Resources about sex and CF used to be limited but now there are all types of ways for adults with CF to become parents and even more issues for us to consider. Although some people with Cystic Fibrosis face additional challenges regarding reproductive health, many people living with CF are just like other normal, functioning adults and education is crucial to successful health outcomes for those living with Cystic Fibrosis and their partners.

To learn more about birth control options and sex go to:
For additional information for those with CF go to:

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