Contraceptive practices and cervical screening in women with cystic fibrosis

Hum Reprod. 2015 Nov;30(11):2547-51. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dev217. Epub 2015 Sep 7.


Study question: Is gynaecological management of women with cystic fibrosis (CF) adequate?

Summary answer: Gynaecological care (frequency of follow-up, cervical screening and contraceptive use among sexually active women) in women with CF fails to reach the recommended level.

What is known already: Little is known about gynaecological follow-up and cervical screening in CF. Only few studies have described contraceptive practices in cohorts of CF women.

Study design, size, duration: We did a cross-sectional study in a cohort of 155 CF women attending the Lyon adult centre. Women attending the CF adult centre in 2014 completed a written questionnaire about their contraceptive choices, frequency of gynaecological follow-up and cervical screening. Other clinical data were collected from the CF adult centre registry.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: One hundred and twenty women (100%) answered the questionnaire, among whom two were post-menopausal (46 and 59 years of age), and five were pregnant.

Main results and the role of chance: Seventy-four per cent of the women declared they had undergone gynaecological follow-up (89% of the women with transplantation), and only 55% reported having at least one previous Pap smear test. Among the transplanted patients, only 58% had had a Pap smear test, despite immunosuppressive treatment. The overall rate of contraception was only 64% and in diabetic women, it was 61%. Among contraception users; 65% used oral contraception, predominantly combined estrogen-progestagen (47%); among diabetic patients, 26% used progestin-only contraception. Intrauterine device accounted for 10% of patients using contraception, and tubal ligation only 4%.

Limitations, reasons for caution: This study is limited by its cross-sectional design. Despite an internal validation of the questionnaire showing an almost perfect agreement, the risk of recall bias has to be taken into account.

Wider implications of the findings: This study of practices highlights the importance of improved information regarding sexuality, fertility and reproductive health in young women with CF. A regular gynaecological follow-up and cervical screening is mandatory in this population. Better gynaecological care and contraceptive advice would help to avoid unplanned pregnancies, and optimize contraceptive selection in relationship to specific clinical conditions.

Keywords: Pap smear; contraception; counselling; cystic fibrosis; gynaecological follow-up; screening.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papanicolaou Test / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult