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.
For women, 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.
Some women who have Sjogren's syndrome might develop symptoms of a condition called painful bladder syndrome, also known as interstitial cystitis. This condition causes symptoms similar to those of a urinary tract infection — urinary frequency, urgency and pain — without evidence of infection.
Dec. 08, 2015
See more Expert Answers
- Patient education sheet: Interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome. Sjogren Syndrome Foundation. http://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens/brochures-and-fact-sheets. Accessed Nov. 11, 2015.
- Uedo Y, et al. Interstitial cystitis associated with primary Sjögren's syndrome successfully treated with a combination of tacrolimus and corticosteroid: A case report and literature review. Modern Rheumatology. In press. Accessed Nov. 11, 2015.
- Symptoms. Sjogren Syndrome Foundation. http://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens/symptoms. Accessed Nov. 11, 2015.
- Fox R. Clinical manifestations of Sjogren's syndrome: Exocrine gland disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2015.
- Fox R, et al. Clinical manifestations of Sjogren's syndrome: Extraglandular disease and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2015.
- Leppilahti M, et al. Interstitial cystitis-like urinary symptoms among patients with Sjogren's syndrome: A population-based study in Finland. The American Journal of Medicine. 2003;115:62.