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What You Need To Know

Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the moisture-producing glands, particularly the salivary and lacrimal glands. This results in reduced production of saliva and tears, leading to dryness in the mouth and eyes. However, Sjögren's syndrome can also affect other parts of the body, including joints, skin, and organs such as the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.


The diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests (such as antibodies to Ro/SSA and La/SSB), and specialised tests to evaluate salivary and lacrimal gland function.


The treatment of Sjögren's syndrome focuses on relieving symptoms, managing complications, and preserving organ function.

It may involve a combination of approaches, including artificial tears and saliva substitutes for dryness, medications to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms.


Sjögren's syndrome can lead to various complications, affecting different parts of the body. The complications can vary in severity and may require specific management.

Here are some common complications associated with Sjögren's syndrome:

  • Dental and oral complications: Increased risk of dental decay, gum disease, and oral infections due to chronic dryness in the mouth.

  • Eye complications: More severe eye problems, such as corneal ulcers, abrasions, and increased vulnerability to eye infections, due to persistent dryness.

  • Joint problems: Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness resembling symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which can lead to joint damage and deformities.

  • Vasculitis: Inflammation of blood vessels, potentially affecting various organs and causing complications like skin rashes, nerve damage, kidney problems, or blood circulation issues.

  • Lung complications: Inflammation in the lungs (interstitial lung disease) leading to coughing, shortness of breath, and reduced lung function.

  • Kidney complications: Inflammation in the kidneys (glomerulonephritis) that can result in kidney dysfunction and, rarely, kidney failure.

  • Lymphoma: Increased risk of developing lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, necessitating regular monitoring and medical check-ups.

  • Neurological complications: Rarely, involvement of the central nervous system leading to peripheral neuropathy, seizures, or cognitive difficulties.

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  • Dry eyes:  It can cause a persistent dry and gritty feeling in the eyes, as well as redness, irritation, and sensitivity to light. 

  • Dry mouth: This can lead to difficulty in swallowing, speaking, and tasting food. It can also increase the risk of dental decay, oral infections, and discomfort.

  • Fatigue: This fatigue can be debilitating and impact daily functioning.

  • Joint pain and swelling: Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, often resembling symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The joints affected are typically symmetrical and can include the fingers, wrists, knees, and ankles.

  • Dry skin and skin rashes: Dry skin and skin rashes, such as a scaly or itchy rash.

  • Vaginal dryness, leading to discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse.

  • Dry nose and throat: Dryness in the nasal passages and throat can cause discomfort, nasal congestion, hoarseness, and an increased risk of sinus infections.

  • Muscle pain, weakness or aching.

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Sjögren's syndrome can be associated with various comorbidities or conditions that commonly occur alongside or in addition to the primary condition.

Here are some common comorbidities observed in individuals with Sjögren's syndrome:

  • RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA): There is a significant overlap between Sjögren's syndrome and RA. Many individuals with Sjögren's syndrome also have symptoms of joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, resembling those of RA.

  • AUTOIMMUNE THYROID DISEASE: There is an increased prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disorders, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease, in individuals with Sjögren's syndrome.

  • FIBROMYALGIA: Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances, is commonly associated with Sjögren's syndrome.

  • RAYNAUD'S PHENOMENON: Raynaud's phenomenon, a condition characteriSed by cold-induced color changes in the fingers and toes, is more prevalent in individuals with Sjögren's syndrome.

  • SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSIS (SLE): SLE, another autoimmune disorder, can coexist with Sjögren's syndrome. Both conditions involve autoimmune processes and can share overlapping symptoms.

  • INTERSTITIAL LUNG DISEASE (ILD): Sjögren's syndrome can lead to inflammation and scarring in the lungs, resulting in interstitial lung disease. This can cause symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and reduced lung function.

  • PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY: Nerve damage, known as peripheral neuropathy, can occur in individuals with Sjögren's syndrome, leading to symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or weakness in the extremities.

  • KIDNEY INVOLVEMENT: Sjögren's syndrome can cause inflammation in the kidneys, known as glomerulonephritis, which can affect kidney function.

  • LYMPHOMA: Sjögren's syndrome is associated with an increased risk of developing lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Regular monitoring and medical check-ups are necessary to detect lymphoma-related symptoms in individuals with Sjögren's syndrome.


A Functional Medicine Approach to Sjögren's Syndrome

Our approach to Sjögren's syndrome focuses on addressing the underlying factors contributing to the condition and supporting overall health and well-being. While individualised treatment is essential, here are some key principles that may be considered:

  • ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIN REDUCTION: Minimising exposure to environmental toxins, such as pollutants, chemicals, and allergens, may be beneficial for individuals with Sjögren's syndrome. This may involve using natural and non-toxic personal care and household products, improving indoor air quality, and reducing exposure to environmental triggers.

  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET: Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation and support immune system balance. Emphasising whole, nutrient-dense foods while reducing or eliminating processed foods, sugar, and potential inflammatory triggers may be recommended.

  • GUT HEALTH SUPPORT: The gut plays a crucial role in immune function and inflammation regulation. Our approach may involve assessing and supporting gut health through dietary modifications, identifying and addressing gut dysbiosis or imbalances, and reducing gut inflammation. This may include a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, targeted supplementation, and lifestyle modifications to support a healthy gut.


  • NUTRIENT SUPPORT: Identifying and addressing nutrient deficiencies is crucial for supporting overall health and managing Sjögren's syndrome. Nutritional supplementation or dietary changes can help optimise nutrient status.

  • STRESS MANAGEMENT: Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome. Implementing stress management techniques such as mindfulness practices, relaxation exercises, and stress reduction strategies can help support emotional well-being, immune function, and hormone regulation.

  • EXERCISE AND MOVEMENT: Engaging in regular physical activity and gentle exercise, as tolerated, can help improve circulation, maintain joint flexibility, reduce inflammation, and support overall well-being. It's important to work with a healthcare professional to develop an appropriate exercise plan based on individual abilities and limitations.


  • IMPROVING SLEEP: Improving sleep quality and quantity is essential for overall health and immune function. Strategies such as creating a conducive sleep environment, establishing a consistent sleep routine, and implementing relaxation techniques can help support better sleep.

To take a proactive role in managing your health, we encourage you to reach out to our team. We have extensive experience assisting individuals with conditions such as Sjögren's syndrome and are dedicated to helping you improve your symptoms and overall well-being.



 We offer a range of appointments in-person or online. 
You will receive the same service and expertise from us through our virtual, online clinic, just as you would if you visited us at our London clinic.

To discuss how we can assist you, call us on 020 3886 1339, or email us at

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