Sjögren's syndrome can sometimes lead to further problems or occur alongside other conditions.

Eye problems

If you have very dry eyes and they're not treated, there's a risk the front layer of your eyes could become damaged over time.

If this isn't spotted and treated, it could lead to permanent problems with your vision.

There are several treatments for dry eyes that can help reduce this risk. You should also have regular check-ups with an optician so any problems are picked up early on.

Contact your GP as soon as possible if you have problems with your vision.

Lung problems

Sometimes Sjögren's syndrome can affect the lungs and cause problems such as:

  • lung infections
  • widening of the airways in the lungs (bronchiectasis)
  • scarring of the lungs

If you smoke, stopping may help reduce the risk of these conditions. Read more advice about stopping smoking.

See your GP if you develop a cough, wheezing or shortness of breath that doesn't go away.

Pregnancy complications

Most women with Sjögren's syndrome can get pregnant and have healthy babies.

But if you're planning a pregnancy, it's a good idea to get advice from your GP or specialist because there's a small risk of complications in some women.

These include:

  • a rash in the baby that lasts a few weeks
  • serious heart problems in the baby

These problems can occur if you have certain antibodies (produced by the immune system) sometimes found in people with Sjögren's syndrome. A blood test can be done to look for these.

If these antibodies are found, you can still get pregnant, but you may need additional specialist care during pregnancy and after the birth.

Cancer

People with Sjögren's syndrome have an increased risk of developing a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

This affects the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands found throughout the body.

Research suggests people with Sjögren's syndrome are about five times more likely to get non-Hodgkin lymphoma than those who don't have the condition, but the chances of getting it are still small.

See your GP if you develop symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, such as:

  • painless swollen glands, usually in the neck, armpit or groin
  • night sweats
  • unintended weight loss 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can often be cured if it's caught early on.

Other problems

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

Page last reviewed: 04/05/2017

Next review due: 04/05/2020