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This is not a new issue when it comes to living with CF. Like it or not, tummy issues bother almost everyone at some point.  Some people have them from childhood to adulthood and others seem to grow out of them. Surgery, incorrect Creon, scarring and various foods have all been mentioned as contributors to stomach pain.  Have you ever wondered: Why do they come on so strong? What makes them go away? Why do I keep getting them?

We asked our trusty adult members why they think tummy issues occur and what they do to help minimise or resolve them. Please note, this is not clinical advice or the advice of dieticians, these are comments from those with lived CF experience. It is recommended you always speak to your clinic team about tummy issues, but it is good to know how others tackle them.

What are your signs and/or triggers for stomach pain?

Things to look out for are foul smells, bloating, discomfort, vomiting and coughing are all signs of not being able to empty properly.”

 “From personal experience, I notice that having a LOT of fatty foods in one session or having big meals create stomach issues. I find having smaller meals throughout the day helps a bit.”

What do you do to relieve them?

“Pain medication like Nurofen sometimes helps however I am not mad about having too much pain relief.”

“I have been in discussions about using a form of meditation to help – yet to explore whether this would actually work.”

“Heat packs sometimes work but not always.”

“I really struggled as a kid, and “parachoc” was my best friend, but now I seem to be okay.”

“It took some tweaking with my Creon, but my tummy issues seem to be the least of my problems. Occasionally I have a sore tummy, but a nice warm heat pack and an early night does the trick for me.”

“I also get a different form of pain if I eat oily food and do not have enough enzymes.  This drives me mad too and you would think after 48 years I would get this right! I avoid trans fats (fried stuff, packaged chips/pretzels) and limit saturated fats.”

“I limit meat, eggs, fish and dairy to once every day or few days. I eat mostly plant-based. It’s been a huge improvement. I eat a lot of “healthy fats” like avocados, nuts and olive oil. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are the best. I eat these to replace the fatty foods we’re told to eat increased quantities of. I don’t eat fast food and highly processed fatty foods if I can avoid them. And of course, stay as hydrated as possible.”

“A Movicol or some Coloxyl without the added Senna each day helps keep things softer and easier to pass.”

“I increase the clear fluids and go on a light diet for a few days and never stop taking enzymes, and maybe take some panadol.”

“Normally I treat pain with laxatives and low-fat diet, always sorts it out.”

“Having green/tummy tea after a big meal.”

“Restricting binges on sugar. It makes me feel very bloated and gross.”

“Heat packs and lying down when I feel a stomachache coming on. A nap usually helps it sort itself out.”

“On gut health, I mainly use certain foods to prevent any discomfort (such as asparagus, fennel and yoghurt). If I do experience any discomfort I go to the essential oils (peppermint, basil, frankincense) and teas (peppermint, green and camomile). I sometimes add essential oils to the tea as well.”

If you have any tips or tricks on what triggers your stomach issues and the different ways you tackle them, contact us at [email protected]. The more information we can share, the happier Australian CF tummies may feel.