What are the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome?

Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are the result of damaged moisture-producing glands and can affect the eyes, mouth, throat, nose, airways, skin, digestive system, and vagina. In some cases, symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome can affect organs throughout the body, such as the lungs, kidneys, joints, blood vessels, and nervous system.

The types and severity of symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome vary among individuals and according to the type of Sjogren’s syndrome. Symptoms generally develop slowly in both primary and secondary Sjogren’s syndrome. Symptom severity can range from mild to severe, and symptoms can remain constant, get worse, or go into remission in some cases. Symptoms generally begin in adults in their 40s.

Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome can include:

  • Changes in taste

  • Difficulty talking

  • Dry cough

  • Dry mouth and nose, which can lead to mouth sores, dental cavities, thrush, and nosebleeds

  • Dry, red, itchy eyes and blurred vision

  • Fatigue

  • Joint or muscle pain

  • Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and other problems with digestion

  • Numbness and tingling in the face, fingers and toes

  • Problems with chewing and swallowing

  • Problems with concentration and memory

  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)

  • Skin rashes 

  • Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, Sjogren’s syndrome can lead to potentially serious complications, such as pneumonia, vasculitis, pancreatitis, and a higher risk of developing lymphoma. Seek prompt medical care if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Decreased urination

  • Eye pain or eye sores

  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Wet, loose cough that produces yellow, green, or white phlegm

  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

INTRODUCTION

What is Sjogren’s syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is a common autoimmune disorder that attacks moisture-producing glands of the body, such as the glands that produce tears and saliva. In an autoimmune disorder, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. In Sjogren’s syndrome, inflammation caused by this attack affects the glands’ ability to secrete moisture and mucus normally.... Read more about sjogrens syndromeintroduction

CAUSES

What causes Sjogren’s syndrome?

The cause of Sjogren’s syndrome is not known, but it is believed that this autoimmune disorder may be triggered by a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Genetic factors may also play a role in Sjogren’s syndrome. Research indicates that the presence of certain genes may make you more susceptible to the abnormal immune process when confronted with an environmental trigger, such as a viral infection.... Read more about sjogrens syndromecauses

TREATMENTS

How is Sjogren’s syndrome treated?

There is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome, but with early recognition and treatment, it is possible to decrease symptoms and minimize the risk of complications. Treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome varies depending on the type of Sjogren’s syndrome, the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person’s age and medical history, and other factors. Treatment plans use an individualized, multifaceted approach that may include:... Read more about sjogrens syndrometreatments

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian MD Last Annual Review Date: Jan 8, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System