Sjögren's syndrome - Complications 

Complications of Sjögren's syndrome 

Sjögren's syndrome isn't usually life-threatening, but it is linked to more serious problems.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

It's estimated that people with Sjögren's syndrome are 44 times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma than people without the condition.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a series of vessels and glands (lymph nodes) that are spread throughout your body, much like your blood vessels.

While this increased risk may sound alarming, the chance of a person with Sjögren’s syndrome developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma is still small, as it only affects around 5% of people with the syndrome.

However, if you have Sjögren’s syndrome, you should be aware of the main early symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a painless swelling in a lymph node (gland) – usually in the neck, armpit or groin. Report any swollen lymph nodes to your GP.

Eye damage

If dry eyes aren't treated, they can become inflamed and you can develop ulcers on the surface of your eyes (corneal ulcers).

If left untreated, corneal ulcers can lead to loss of vision and permanent sight damage.


If you're planning to become pregnant and have Sjögren's syndrome, ask your GP to test for certain antibodies that may be present in Sjögren's syndrome and are known to cause a temporary lupus rash in newborn babies. In very rare cases, the antibodies can also cause heart defects in babies.

If these antibodies are found, there should be no reason why you can't continue with the pregnancy, but your child may need additional specialist care during pregnancy and after the birth.

Read more about antenatal appointments.

Other conditions

A number of other conditions have been linked to Sjögren's syndrome, including: 

Page last reviewed: 14/10/2014

Next review due: 14/10/2016


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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

lovage said on 15 July 2014

Now 82, Sjogren's manifested itself when I was 48 after a combination of viral pneumonia and emotional stress. Raynauds, kidney problems, IBS, abdominal pain, fatigue, dizzyness, nausea and confusion, plus leukocytoclastic vasculitis all occur frequently, and now also - pemphigoid vasculitis. But it's not all bad news - an understanding GP can work wonders, especially if he/she doesn't keep pushing to reduce steroids too quickly after an infection, and also isn't afraid to prescribe antibiotics when an infection is triggering symptoms. I usually find I feel brilliant for about 24 hours before a bunch of naughty symptoms appears, so the infection gets a stronger hold before I can take any action.

Sounds strange but following a longlasting bout of diverticulitis and vasculitis (treated by increasing steroids, but avoiding antibiotics) I've been finding Ginseng tea in the morning and jasmine tea in the afternoon are helping me have more comfortable nights. Possibly imagination, but I'll persist for a while.

Good wishes to all sjogrens sufferers: it's so irritating when there is little obvious physical evidence and people can't understand why you feel so unwell. And when you do feel well - get out there and enjoy yourself: It will make the people who support you feel so much better as well.

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Simmer said on 25 October 2013

Hi jay and Ruby,
I have been diagnosed with possible sjorgrens. I also have antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) which causes blood clots and thrombosis. I dont think the sjorgrens causes this so you may have APS. I would see if you have been tested for APS and if not request one. It is a blood test but is not widely available. I was only tested for it because I had symptoms of lupus (which I also have) and I had had three miscarriages but never had a blood clot in my life. Hope this helps. Good luck :-)

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jay and ruby said on 31 January 2013

this is carried on from the last comment, i am so sorry to write all this I know its more off a letter than a comment but its the first time i have found someone who has given me some answers I appreciate all that you have wrote and please believe me when i say I am not a hyprocondriac I have waited and looked for an article like this for what seems like an age. There is just one other point that you don't seem to have covered? Blood Clots and Thrombosis a very serious side to Sjogrens in my opinion as i have had six bloodclots in my lower limbs and I now have to inject myself for life with Heparin. This is how i found out I suffer from Sjogrens the consultant told me this is what caused me to have Thrombosis. Yet you have not mentioned this problem in your article? Was it a correct diagnosis for myself, I now have no doubt in my mind at all, I do suffer from it but were the clots caused by it or not? I would realy appreciate your opinion on this matter as I dont think you would leave something like this out of your article but then I wouldnt know i have this illness without them telling me the clots were caused because I have Sjogrens. Please help me through this reasoning as I can't seem to. Thank you so much, again i apologise for the lengths I have gone to but I don't know of another way to contact yourselves concerning this matter.

Yours Truely


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Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system - the network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body