Celiac Disease and Sjögren’s Syndrome

This is a new one for me. I am constantly learning but this I feel we all need to be aware of. With upwards of 4,000,000 Americans suffering from Sjögren’s syndrome, it is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders. Nine out of 10 patients are women. With that said, please read on:

Here are some of the connections between Celiac and Sjögren’s :

  • Celiac disease and Sjögren’s syndrome have an autoimmune background and a close association.
  • In one study, the prevalence of celiac disease amongst patients with Sjögren’s syndrome has been found to be in the range of 4.5% and 15%.
  • According to Patinen et al., the co-occurrence of celiac disease and Sjögren’s syndrome should be recognized because of its effects on dental and oral mucosal health. In their 1994 study, they suggested that a gluten-free diet treatment might alleviate autoimmune inflammation.
  • On the basis of these findings, Szodoray  recommends screening and follow-ups , and regular gastrointestinal care of Sjögren’s syndrome patients to help identify celiac disease cases as well as help to avoid severe malnutrition and intestinal malignancies.

The symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. People can experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.

About half of the time Sjögren’s syndrome occurs alone, and the other half it occurs in the presence of another autoimmune connective tissue disease.When Sjögren’s occurs alone, it is referred to as “Primary Sjögren’s.” When it occurs with another connective tissue disease, it is referred to as “Secondary Sjögren’s.” 

All instances of Sjögren’s syndrome are systemic, affecting the entire body. Symptoms may remain steady, worsen, or, uncommonly, go into remission.

Since symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome mimic other conditions and diseases, Sjögren’s can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed. On average, it takes nearly seven years to receive a diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome. Wow, so similar Celiac disease!

Since the disease was first identified in 1933 by Dr. Henrik Sjögren, it has been proven to affect virtually every racial and ethnic group. General awareness about Sjögren’s syndrome is still lacking and increased professional awareness is needed to help expedite new diagnoses and treatment options. Again very similar to our Celiac disease needs in this country.

Please share your experiences with this autoimmune disease as wel as celiac, please.

Tina Turbin


From our home to yours, Tina Turbin
If you have any questions or suggestions just email me at info (at) GlutenFreeHelp.info.

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I'm a cookbook-collecting, recipe-developing paleo junkie, and I live in the kitchen. I'm hooked on farmers' markets, traveling, eating healthy, and hiking until my legs scream at me. There's nothing better than hanging out with family and good friends. I have fun and sleeping is just plain boring. Read more About Tina Turbin.

8 thoughts on “Celiac Disease and Sjögren’s Syndrome

  1. Having one autoimmune disorder seems to predispose to getting another. It is important to note that in families where someone has an autoimmune disorder it is much more likely that other family members will get an autoimmune disorder, although not necessarily the same one. Early symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome include a mouth full of cavities, tendency to rashes and a dry cough. Many have a history of migraines and asthma.

  2. I found your site through Facebook, and it has been a great resource to me since then. 🙂

    To give you a small piece of history about me, I consider myself gluten intolerant. I have only received the genetic test for Celiac and was placed in the “lowest risk” category, which I was surprised about. I have an uncle who also cannot eat gluten and recently had his entire large colon removed.

    I’ve had digestive issues for most of my life, but especially since college, about 15 years ago, and then began pinpointing nutritional issues as the cause a couple years ago–first with dairy and then with wheat, barley, rye, etc. Once I cut gluten out of my diet, when I eat the smallest amount of it now (even a cross contamination amount), I get very sick. A rye cracker about the size and thickness of a dime was enough to put me in bed for several days with extreme exhaustion, muscle spasms, etc.

    I am curious about Sjogren’s because of the sudden dental decay I’ve experienced. In my family, we tend to have very healthy teeth. I had no cavities at all until 2 or 3 years ago (I’m now 34), and that was only one small cavity. For my dental visit a year ago, I was suddenly told I had *8* weak spots in my teeth! Considering that I had practiced the best dental habits of my life that year (I brush twice a day and had finally developed the habit of daily flossing for the first time–I was very inconsistent flossing before)–that is a huge difference for someone who has always had health teeth and gums and had even developed better oral hygiene habits!

    The thing that confuses me is why I would have problems so late in life with my teeth–would that rule out a diagnosis of Sjogren’s?

    I am about to go back for another visit and I am wondering if there is something I should say or ask specifically about Sjogren’s or if a regular dentist can even help with a diagnosis?

  3. You also need to be well aware of the fact that dental decay, soft spots and loss of enamel are symptoms of celiac. Unfortunately, it is affected by the change in body chemistry. Careful attention to dental hygiene can always help but addressing the issue with a well informed dentist and doctor (in celiac disease) can also take this another step further towards addressing the issue. I will post a new blog now with more details about this topic.

    I hope this helps and thank you for visiting the site. Your questions are very good.

  4. Hi Amanda,

    Tina Turbin sent me your request to learn more about Sjrogrens. I was not diagnosed with it until my late 30’s. You can get any auto immune anytime in your life. In fact, Sjrogrens hits women mostly and usually happens between the ages of 40-50 but can happen anytime. Sjrogrens is an auto immune disease and like all auto immune it has a direct link to celiac and gluten intolerance and is triggered by stress, pregnancy, trauma, etc., Once you have one auto immune it’s common to have others. I have hypothyroid as well.

    Do you have dry eyes as well and dry mouth? I had both and my eyes got so bad I had punctal plugs put in my tear ducts and had drops I used all the time. The problem with me is the layer on my eyes was literally drying up and I had arthiritis and extreme fatigue. I would suggest asking your doctor to test you for Sjrogrens. The dentist doesn’t order those tests that I know of. Going gluten and dairy free was the best thing I did as I also had major GI issues and leaky gut. Your immune system is in the gut (80%) so it’s key to eat healthy and non-inflammatory foods. Check out http://www.karmic-health.com for more info on GFCF diet and nutrition as well as disease related to inflammation. Check out the Sjrogrens Foundation website as well:

    I hope that helps and I wish you the best!

    In Peace,

    Sandi Star, CCN
    Founder & President

    Karmic Health
    2604-B El Camino Real, Suite 190
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 685-3154
    Fax: (760) 652-1644

  5. Pingback: How is Sjögren’s Syndrome Diagnosed? | Tina Turbin
  6. Pingback: Connection between Celiac and Sjögren’s Syndrome « CeliacFacts
  7. Thanks for this piece – I have been on the hunt for info because my (new) dentist finally made a connection for me between my terrible teeth (even though I’ve always had good – and expensive – dental care) and my problems with gluten. I don’t officially have celiac disease, but I’ve found I feel much much better on a GF diet. My dentist recommended that I (a) use a gluten-free, natural toothpaste (he suggested Dr. Nate’s Naturals, though I think there are others out there) and (b) suck on GF mints throughout the day to help the saliva flow in my mouth, which can impede bacteria buildup. I feel like it’s made a big difference – I’ve at least gone a year without new cavities, which is a record so far!

  8. I also wondered about the connection. I was diagnosed as an “almost celiac” about 6 months ago with possible Sjogren’s. I just chipped a front tooth, which did not make me happy. I hate the taste of artificial sweeteners, so that rules out products like Biotene. My fatigue is better after stopping gluten, but I also accidentally ate a wheat frozen pizza (it was the organic one next to the gluten free one, I did not read closely enough) and really just had some bloating. I expected much worse. But gluten-free seems to help, so I won’t change that one. It makes life more complicated, but it helps knowing there are others out there. Thanks for the site.

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