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Sjogren Syndrome

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Sjogren Syndrome

(Primary Sjogren Syndrome; Secondary Sjogren Syndrome)


Sjogren syndrome is a disorder that happens when the immune system destroys the glands that make tears and saliva. There are two types:

Salivary Glands.

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The cause is not known. Genetics, the environment, and hormones may play a role.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women. It usually starts in those who are 40 to 55 years of age.

Other things that may raise the risk are:


Problems may be:

  • Eyes that are red, burning, itching, and dry
  • Dry mouth
  • Problems swallowing
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Dry skin, nose, and throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Vaginal dryness in women
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Muscle pain
  • Lack of energy


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Eye and dental exams will also be done.

Blood tests will be done to look for antibodies linked to this syndrome.

Images of the salivary glands may be taken. This can be done with:

  • Scintagraphy
  • Sialography
  • Ultrasound

Salivary gland tissue may need to be tested. This can be done with a biopsy.


There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms.

Medicine may be given to ease:

  • Dryness
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Swelling

Healthy habits can also help. Drinking plenty of fluids can ease symptoms, such as dry mouth. Regular exercise can also help to increase energy.

People with severe dry eye may need surgery. A plug may be placed in the tear ducts to stop fluid from draining from the eyes.


There are no known methods to prevent this health problem.





  • Sjogren syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sjogren-syndrome.
  • Sjogren's syndrome. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/sjogrens-syndrome.
  • Vivino FB. Sjogren's syndrome: Clinical aspects. Clin Immunol. 2017 Sep;182:48-54.
  • 8/1/2019 EBSCO DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sjogren-syndrome: Singh JA, Cleveland JD. The risk of Sjogren's syndrome in the older adults with gout: A medicare claims study. Joint Bone Spine. 2019 Feb 7 [Epub ahead of print].


  • Kari Kuenn, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.