Lung function changes in relation to menstrual cycle in females with cystic fibrosis

Respir Med. 2000 Nov;94(11):1043-6. doi: 10.1053/rmed.2000.0891.


Oestrogen and progesterone have been shown to have impact on cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene expression, tone of smooth muscle in the airways, immune response, exhaled nitric oxide and cytology in the tracheobronchial epithelium. The aim of this investigation was to study the influence of menstrual cyclicity on airway symptoms among cystic fibrosis (CF) females. Twelve CF women (mean age 30 years, mean Shwachman score 85) kept daily records during three menstrual cycles of lung function, sputum quality and need for intravenous antibiotics. Paired t-test was used as a statistical method to compare the airway symptoms between the time of ovulation (high levels of oestrogen and low levels of progesterone), the luteal phase (high levels of oestrogen and progesterone) and menstruation (low levels of oestrogens and progesterone). Forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1) was significantly higher during the luteal phase (66% of predicted) compared to during ovulation (63%) and menstruation (61%) (P<0.01). Forced vital capacity (FVC) showed the same pattern, being significantly higher during the luteal phase compared with during menstruation (mean 75% vs. 70%, P<0.01). In conclusion, lung function changes were found during menstrual cycles in women with cystic fibrosis. These changes are probably related to changes in progesterone levels during the menstrual cycles. This result warrants further studies to understand the complexity of CF lung disease in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Estrogens
  • Progesterone