“I’ve recently started experiencing frequent bladder infections, could this be associated with my Sjögren’s?"
Sjögren’s is an autoimmune disease that causes dryness in the body, including the vaginal area. Vaginal dryness 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 are find that you are experiencing symptoms similar to those of a urinary tract infection — urinary frequency, urgency and pain — make sure that you ask your doctor for a full urine culture. These urinary symptoms in the absence of bacteria, could point to Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and should be further investigated with the help of an urologist.
Research about the overlap of IC and Sjögren’s is limited, however, case reports are beginning to pop up in the clinical literature. And, the Social Security Administration (SSA) lists Sjögren’s in the Social Security Disability Insurance guidelines and highlights IC as one of many overlapping conditions experienced by people with Sjögren’s.
Although a universal cause for IC (such as a biomarker) has not been found, postulated causes include reoccurring bladder infections, pelvic dysfunction, and it being an autoimmune condition.
by Jennifer Zuzelski, Program Manager/Information Specialist, Interstitial Cystitis Association
This information was first printed in The Moisture Seekers, SSF's patient
newsletter for members.
Comment below and let us know what questions you would like answered in upcoming issues of The Moisture Seekers.