Cystic Fibrosis and Gender: Why Female CF Patients Typically Fare Worse than Males

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine explains why women tend to respond less favourably to Cystic Fibrosis treatments than their male counterparts.Turns out it’s all estrogen’s fault.

In the study, the Royal College of Sugeons in Ireland’s Respiratory Research Division discovered that estrogen fosters the growth of¬†Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, inhibiting the effects of medications and causing inflammation in the lungs.

Additionally, female CF patients taking estrogen-lowering birth control experienced a decrease in their symptoms.

With the Ireland carrying the highest incidence of CF in the world, the study is a crucial one. Prof. Gerry McElvaney, Director of the Respiratory Research Laboratory RCSI/Beaumont Hospital and one of the study’s nine co-authors, says that its impact could be far-reaching, not only for CF, but for other lung diseases such as asthma.

The original article, Effect of Estrogen on Pseudomonas Mucoidy and Exacerbations in Cystic Fibrosis, can be found here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1106126