Since being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome last year, I've had three urinary tract infections. Is there any evidence that Sjogren's syndrome causes recurrent UTIs?
Answer From April Chang-Miller, M.D.
No, but Sjogren's syndrome can cause symptoms that you might mistake for a urinary tract infection (UTI). Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the moisture-secreting glands of the eyes and mouth became inflamed, producing fewer tears and less saliva.
Sjogren's syndrome can also cause vaginal dryness — which may result in discomfort during sexual intercourse and an increase in the risk of bacterial and fungal vaginal infections. Painful urination, a common symptom of UTIs, also can occur with vaginal infections.
If you have Sjogren's syndrome, you are also more likely to have a condition called painful bladder syndrome, or interstitial cystitis. This condition causes signs and symptoms similar to those of a urinary tract infection — urinary frequency, urgency and pain — without evidence of infection.
Feb. 19, 2019
See more Expert Answers
- Patient education sheet: Interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome. Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. https://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens/brochures-and-fact-sheets. Accessed Jan. 9, 2019.
- Vivino FB. Sjogren's syndrome: Clinical aspects. Clinical Immunology. 2017;182:48.
- Symptoms. Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. https://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens/symptoms. Accessed Jan. 30, 2019.
- Baer AN, et al. Clinical manifestations of Sjogren's syndrome: Exocrine gland disease. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 30, 2019.
- Bayer AN, et al. Clinical manifestations of Sjogren's syndrome: Extraglandular disease and prognosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 31, 2019.