Sjögren's syndrome - Symptoms 

Symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome 

The most commonly reported symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are a dry mouth and dry eyes, both of which can lead to other associated symptoms.

However, these symptoms can be common in old age and most people with dry eyes or mouth do not have Sjögren's syndrome.

Many women also experience dryness of the vagina, which can make sexual intercourse painful.

Associated symptoms of dry mouth

Associated symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • tooth decay, leading to an increased risk of tooth loss
  • dry cough
  • difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • hoarse voice
  • difficulty speaking
  • swollen salivary glands (located between your jaw and your ears)
  • repeated fungal infections of your mouth (oral thrush), symptoms of which can include coated or white tongue

Associated symptoms of dry eyes

Associated symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • a burning or stinging sensation in your eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • a feeling that there is a piece of sand or gravel in your eyes
  • irritated and swollen eyelids
  • sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • tired eyes
  • a discharge of mucus from your eyes

Symptoms can become worse when you are in a windy or smoky environment. Air-conditioned buildings and travelling on aeroplanes can also make symptoms worse.

Other symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome

In more serious cases of Sjögren's syndrome, the immune system can attack other parts of the body as well as the tear, saliva and vaginal glands, causing a wide range of symptoms and conditions such as:

  • dry skin
  • tiredness and fatigue, which are common features and can amount to total exhaustion in some cases 
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering and reasoning

Page last reviewed: 09/10/2012

Next review due: 09/10/2014


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The 5 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Zilliy said on 03 August 2014

As a Sjogren's Syndrome sufferer for many years, the memory loss is certainly one of the symptoms -- although I have been putting it down to the passing of the years. As to other symptoms, I can manage the dry eyes, mouth, nose, skin and vagina with drops and creams. I find one tablet daily of Hydroxychloroquine helpful. What I find most difficult of all is the total fatigue which strikes me every few months or so and leaves me prone on the sofa for anything from one week to six. Yet fatigue is usually at the bottom of the list of symptoms on sites like this and barely referred to. I can live with the other symptoms. I only wish someone would come up with a treatment for the fatigue.

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katecmb said on 27 June 2014

I have just been diagnosed with Sjogren's after having a biopsy. I have also been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I don't get much help with either. Is there anyone out there who can give some advice with the awful fatigue, etc?

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Marcy Elaine said on 25 August 2011

Yes, I've got Sjogren's syndrome. I was told by the GP that my mental confusion and memory loss is not related to SS...all people diagnosed with SS have suffering with memory loss!

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Cheryl the Peril said on 23 April 2011

I agee with cheka

I know a GP with Sjogren's who was not told about the mental confusion and thought he was mentally ill and went to a psychiatrist who prescribed anti depressants. If he had been aware that mental confusion was normal he might not have gone down that route. Stopping anti depressants is difficult once you have started.

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cheka said on 23 October 2010

There is no mention here of the mental confusion and memory-loss which my partner & I have found to be a feature common to many SS sufferers. There appears to be little or no current research into this aspect of the disease. I think it a pity that a well-respected site such as this should omit even a mention of this symptom.

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