Puberty in Male Adolescents With CF

Delayed puberty is common among young men with CF, but working with your CF care team to ensure you get good nutrition can help encourage healthy development and growth.

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Summary
  • Growing up, men with cystic fibrosis may go through puberty later than many of their peers.
  • Most men with CF have normal testosterone production and often grow to achieve normal height, muscle mass, sex drive, and other typical sexual features.
  • By working with your care team, you or your child can learn more about taking steps toward gaining weight, increasing caloric intake and improving general health to help encourage long-term growth.

Growing up, both men and women with cystic fibrosis may go through puberty later than many of their peers. For boys with CF, delayed puberty often stems from the impaired production of sexual development hormones. The timing of puberty can also depend on the overall health of the person with CF, particularly in terms of nutrition, malabsorption, diabetes, and lung disease. 

Although some boys with CF may experience anxiety or negative body image because they may be smaller, shorter or less developed than their friends and peers, it is encouraging to know that once their hormones reach their peak levels, the majority of boys with CF do eventually go through puberty. In addition, most men with CF have normal testosterone production and often grow to achieve normal height, muscle mass, sex drive, and other typical sexual features.

If you're experiencing a lack of confidence due to delayed puberty, it may be comforting to know that every adolescent goes through puberty at his own rate, and you are no exception. Puberty will come at a time that is right for your own body, and in no way defines who you are as an individual. Your CF care team can be a great resource for learning more about anxiety, insecurity and other emotional issues associated with delayed puberty.

Parents can also help improve their child's self-esteem by using everyday strategies such as encouraging him to surround himself with healthy friendships, stressing the importance of inner self-worth or using exercise as a tool to highlight his body's abilities.

But since delayed puberty is also associated with inadequate nutrition, low body weight, poor lung function, hormonal issues and other health concerns, it is important to talk to your CF care team about your or your child's development. Your care team may be able to help jump-start puberty by finding ways to improve your or your child's nutrition and to monitor or adjust treatment plans.

By working with your care team, you or your child can learn more about taking steps toward gaining weight, increasing caloric intake and improving general health to help encourage long-term growth.

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Topics
Caring for a Child With CF | Fertility and Reproductive Health
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Downloads
Sexuality and Cystic Fibrosis: Information for Adolescents Download PDF
A Young Person’s Guide to Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues in Cystic Fibrosis Download PDF
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