Sjogren's Syndrome



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:

  • Certain genetic markers
  • Having other family members who have autoimmune diseases
  • Viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus



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 in the head
  • Vaginal dryness in women
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Muscle pain
  • Lack of energy


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist. You may also be referred to a dentist for an exam.

Your eyes may be tested. This can be done with:

  • Schirmer test to measure tear production
  • Slit-lamp exam

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

Images of the salivary gland 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. Choices are:

  • Medicines to ease:
    • Dryness
    • Joint and muscle pain
    • Swelling
  • Lifestyle changes, such as drinking plenty of fluids and exercising regularly

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 guidelines to prevent this health problem.

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.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.