Cystic Fibrosis: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis?

The most common symptoms of CF among infants and children include:

  • Lack of weight gain/"failure to thrive"
  • Oily or bulky stool
  • Excessive intestinal gas
  • Abnormally swollen belly
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Salt crystals or salty taste on skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinus problems
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Chronic cough that produces thick, discolored mucus
  • Repeated lung infections or pneumonias
  • Shortness of breath, even while resting

A few kids with CF begin having symptoms at birth. Some are born with a condition called meconium ileus. Although all newborns have meconium, (the thick, dark, putty-like substance that is a baby's first stool) in CF, the meconium can be too thick and sticky to pass and can completely block the intestines.