Treatment of Gastrointestinal Problems in Cystic Fibrosis

Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2003 Oct;6(5):427-441. doi: 10.1007/s11938-003-0045-2.


The gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations of cystic fibrosis (CF) are varied and include pancreatic insufficiency, meconium ileus, distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS), liver disease, and other less common manifestations. Treatment of pancreatic insufficiency consists of providing appropriate pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy and may include raising duodenal pH to allow for optimal action of these enzymes. Despite a number of pancreatic enzyme replacement products, malabsorption cannot be normalized. Management of DIOS depends on the severity of the symptoms; adequate hydration is very important. Polyethylene glycol solutions are being increasingly used. The precipitating cause of the episode of DIOS should be looked for so future episodes can be prevented. Liver disease is relatively silent and annual monitoring of liver function and status is recommended. Treatment is mainly supportive and the role of ursodeoxycholic acid in the prevention of cirrhosis needs to be better defined. Nutritional status is an important part of management of all GI and liver manifestations of CF. A team approach and the assistance of a registered dietitian are extremely valuable in managing the GI and liver manifestations of CF.