Symptoms of cystic fibrosis in children

Symptoms of cystic fibrosis in children

Although cystic fibrosis (CF) often shows up in infants, the problems may not show up for until children are toddlers or older.

Some of the first signs of CF are pancreas and intestinal problems

  • Malabsorption with poor weight gain and growth, bulky bowel movements, gas, and sometimes, abdominal swelling. 
  • Severe constipation.
  • Rectal prolapse, where a small ring of intestine can be pushed out during a bowel movement.
  • Distal intestinal obstruction syndrome, (DIOS) where older children and even adults with CF have abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, vomiting and are unable to have a bowel movement. This is the result of a thick mucus blockage in the lower intestine similar to infant meconium ileus.  

Many, if not all of the kids, will have breathing problems in addition to their intestinal and pancreatic problems. These are a result of the thick mucus in the lungs. Common symptoms include:

  • A continuing wet cough
  • Thick mucus or phlegm
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Hard time catching their breath, especially with exercise
  • Repeated bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Bad sinuses, and nasal passages (sometimes with polyps)

These symptoms may not show up for awhile and aren't the same for everyone.