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Am J Gastroenterol. 1995 Jan;90(1):9-14.

The gastrointestinal manifestations of Sjögren's syndrome.

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Department of Medicine, Bridgeport Hospital, Connecticut.


Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune exocrinopathy that primarily affects the salivary glands but can also involve almost any other part of the gut. The most distressing manifestation of SS is xerostomia secondary to destruction of the salivary glands. The lack of saliva also leads to difficulty with chewing and initial swallowing and an increased frequency of dental caries. Another major problem is dysphagia due to the lack of saliva as well as esophageal dysmotility and/or esophageal webs. Chronic atrophic gastritis probably accounts for the epigastric pain, nausea, and other dyspeptic symptoms seen in SS. Sjögren's syndrome is also one of the most frequent extrahepatic diseases associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, suggesting that this entity may be a secondary form of SS. The degree to which SS affects the small and large bowel is unclear, whereas pancreatic involvement appears to lead to only subclinical exocrine insufficiency.

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