So Which Came First: The Sjogren’s Syndrome or The Leaky Gut Syndrome?

We Sjoggies are always trying to sort out our symptoms, diagnoses and co-morbid conditions. I recently missed a day of work due to some fairly painful and bloated G.I. issues.  While uncomfortable and very much resembling a pregnant woman from the size of my bloated abdomen, I made my way to the couch where I spent most of my day in between all of the restroom exercise segments.

It’s always a treat when I get to enjoy an episode of Dr. Oz. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t what Dr. Oz says, just seem to be gospel?  He is so informative and educational in his shows, that I believe it all. And I will admit to purchasing many of the supplements he features, because Dr. Oz says so.  To be honest, he is one of the very few doctors that I have ever seen, that I believe.  And that is saying a lot. If only we all had a Dr. Oz in our lives. With Sjogren’s Syndrome, we need a Dr. Oz.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw that the title of the show that day was, Leaky Gut Syndrome. But if memory serves me correctly (and if often does not) seems like I have had more than a couple of G.I. Docs mention that Leaky Gut thing to me before.  But let’s face it, if Sjogren’s is affecting your gut as it is in mine, you have probably all been the recipients of of the same diagnoses I have been given through the years. Yes, I have been told that I had Sluggish Bowel; Mega Colon; Irritable Bowel Syndrome and maybe more. I’ve been told to add fiber; decrease fiber (once within an hour of each appointment with different doctors) and all of those standard G.I. Patient directives.

I love that Dr. Oz features the grossest things in such a big, colorful and visual way that even I can get it. Okay, I will admit that my symptoms match what Dr.Oz so vividly showed and explained on TV. So I found myself thinking, Gee, I wonder if Leaky Gut has anything to do with Sjogren’s? Now admittedly the Sjogren’s – Auto Immune & Leaky Gut Syndrome connections I read about, did not come from Dr. Oz. But nevertheless, it appears that there is some kind of real connection.

So what is the next logical step I asked myself? What does one do for Leaky Gut Syndrome? Here’s what I found: Take supplements; take probiotics; take vitamins; take fish oil; take antioxidants; No gluten: No alcohol; No processed foods; No dairy; No fermented products (wine, beer, sausages, yogurt, etc.); stay away from anything that causes allergic reactions, and more.

Is there anyone else besides me that can look at that list and not feel totally defeated before you’ve even begun? All I could think about was, what food group is left and can I eat it three times a day for the rest of my life. So let me get this straight? I can follow the lifelong diet I have been on and stay in Inflammation Hell or…I can follow the list above & possibly get some relief. I want to do it, I really do…but here’s the rub: I am so wiped out and fatigued from my symptoms and my full-time job, that this approach, while I am sure is very healthy, seems as overwhelming to me as the symptoms I battle each day. This type of diet takes real planning, preparation and an unwavering commitment. But I have to ask myself, as I am sure that you all do: How is your current plan of action working for you? And what would Dr. Oz say?



About vitalsignspgh

Sandy Burkett is the Creative Engineer, President and Owner of Vital Signs. Vital Signs is a certified Native American/Woman-Owned custom sign and graphics company located in Carnegie, PA.
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25 Responses to So Which Came First: The Sjogren’s Syndrome or The Leaky Gut Syndrome?

  1. Lia says:

    I saw the program also. Thank you for your writing about the journey we have in common.

  2. Heidi Syndergaard says:

    I am so with u! I am opting for the probiotics and healthier diet. I cannot do all of the above. I would love to see Dr Oz at least do an autoimmune show. Take care-

    Sent from my iPhone

    • vitalsignspgh says:

      I have sent a request into their show to please feature a segment on Sjogrens.
      Perhaps they might respond, but I am sure they received 1000’s of requests.

  3. disneyuk says:

    I really connected with this, having the same issues you have. And I too try to eat the best diet I can to help my body. But so often I am so tired too. But I think that as long as we do the best we can in any one day, then that is good enough. The last thing we need is to beat ourselves up or worry too much.

  4. Joi Deibler says:

    When I developed Sjogren’s symptoms I knew what it was right away because my mother has it. I immediately went to a rheumatologist who wanted to put me on plaquinel. Initially I refused to take it but when I became fatigued and had achey joints I went on it for three years. I also went gluten gluten free and take fish oil and probiotics. This year I weaned myself off plaquinel and I still feel great. I run 1/2 marathons, teach Phys. Ed. and feel pretty good for 55. I don’t know if I just have a mild form of SS or if my actions have helped. My mother never took plaquinel and she has had thyroid cancer and stomach problems and a very dry mouth. I knew when I got my diagnosis that I needed to not follow my mothers course of action.

    • vitalsignspgh says:

      Thanks for sharing that…I am encouraged to start the diet course of action.
      I see that you are in PA. also. While I was meant to live in a tropical climate, I live in Pittsburgh instead :-/

      • Joi Deibler says:

        Good, it’s worth a try. Just eliminate one thing at a time. I have gone off the gluten diet from time to time. I notice when I eat it my salivary glands tend to get slightly hard and I get tiny shooting pains in them. No gluten- no pains.
        Good luck!

    • Lynn says:

      Did the plaquinel help you ? im scared to take it

      • vitalsignspgh says:


        Plaquenil has helped me a great deal. I too, was hesitant to take it and researched it like crazy. But my pain was so bad that I finally decided that the Plaquenil could not be worse than what I was experiencing day to day. So I started it. For some people, it takes several weeks & up to 6 months to work. It worked quickly within a couple of weeks for me. Also, I run a Sjogren’s Support Group and the majority (if not all) of our members are on Plaquenil with good success. It is one of those decisions that you just won’t know if it will work, unless you try it. Everyone is different. I am personally glad that I took the plunge. I have been on it now for about two years with no side effects that I can attribute to the Plaquenil.

        Good Luck to you!

      • Joi says:

        I believe it has helped or at least slowed down the progression of the disease. I have taken it for about 5 years. I do have my eyes checked yearly. When I went off of the medication for about six months I experienced pains in my feet and hands. I began to feel like the tin man! I do believe in clean living which has probably helped just as much as the plaquinel. I have a full-time job, teaching Phys. Ed. and I run, walk or take a spinning class at least five times a week. I am mostly gluten-free (sugary or floury foods make my mouth dry) and I try to eat a lot of veggies and fruits. Good luck to you!

  5. It is very likely the leaky gut is the condition that is present at onset of most autoimmune conditions.
    The diet may sound restrictive but there is actually quite few blogs with recipes out there, google “autoimmune paleo diet”
    Few corrections: fish oil can actually induce leaky gut (as all other PUFA does). My experience was that multivitamins and supplements actually got my leaky gut worse rather than better due to additives, colorants, sticking agents or whatever else is in there. Supplement by real food
    Additionally: vitamin D (best from suntanning) protects your gut lining.

    • vitalsignspgh says:

      Thanks Martin.

      I apologize for the delay in replying/posting your comment. I think that there are so many of us (not just Sjogren’s Patients) trying to figure out how diet plays a role in our chronic illnesses. I agree with you regarding the likelihood of Leaky Gut being present at the onset of most A.I. conditions. My latest approach is the ” As Seen On TV ” Nutri-Bullet. I am totally loving these healthy drinks and am hopeful about how my body will respond.

      Appreciate your input.

  6. Christinw says:

    I was diagnosed this year and I have had stomach symptoms for 2 decades. Now I have 12+ life threatening food allergies. I am forced to eat no grain, no legumes, no tree nuts, no hot peppers. I believe if I didn’t have to avoid those I would feel much worse and I feel pretty achy, painful and tired. I lost my upper teeth last summer at age 39. I believe my food allergies are part of the Sjogrens for me.

    • vitalsignspgh says:

      Wow, Bless your heart Christin. Yes, I have always said (in a very negative way)..that Sjogren’s is the gift that keeps on giving. I give you lots of credit on being able to stick to such a restrictive diet. I just started the Gluten-free diet and am doing pretty well with that so far. Hope things settle into a manageable place for you. SjoDry

      • Christina says:

        I have no choice but to stick to this or I could end up in the ER. Add egg to that list, I became allergic to that shortly after I wrote that post. Sjogren’s has given me quite the whopper cause I have to figure out how to eat every day and work full time and raise kids. As a blogger myself, I find it hard to blog and cook and do everything else! LOL

      • vitalsignspgh says:


        So sorry for the delay…I’ve been doing battle with Sjogren’s. I hear you on having to figure out how to do it all. I am so tired of trying to figure out the diet thing. I am always trying to find some sort of marriage between an anti-inflammatory diet & gluten-free or Paleo..or..or..or.. My husband just talked us into a Nutri-Bullet that he saw on TV. We bought it last week & I was impressed with all of the testimonials included with the hard back cookbook that was included with the unit. It profiled several medical conditions (including autoimmune) & the people spoke about how much it had improved their condition. Not only that…the universal message was that everybody had more energy.

        Stay tuned.

    • vitalsignspgh says:


      I am sorry that Sjogren’s has hit you so hard, but am glad that you at least know what it is. It is always so hard when you have symptoms and no answers.


  7. Swee says:

    I have mild Sjorgren’s as well. I was told to go gluten free…but it’s impossible. I still use soy sauce but I hardly eat bread and once a few times a month I will indulge in cakes and pastries. My burning tongue which I had for a few years is gone after I drastically reduced gluten but I also lost weight…to begin with I was not fat…which means I look skinny now. I still get dry mouth. But I started to take L-Glutamine in this Feb for about a week already to try to see if Leaky Gut is the cause of my Sjorgren’s. It’s still a puzzle. Dry mouth is still there. But I have been taking fish oil (TheraTears Nutrition for about 9 months) and it has helped me with my dry eyes. I don’t feel like it’s dry or tired like I used to before. I also take probiotics. But I do get IBS every now and then.

    • vitalsignspgh says:


      It sounds like you are finding some good supplements that help. I started out with gluten-free and am now starting Paleo with the autoimmune approach. It is a very comprehensive book and gives the hardcore physiology approach. I can only read for so long before needing a break.

      Good Luck Swee!

    • vitalsignspgh says:

      I am glad that you have found some products that are working for you. I do think that it is sometimes easier to find effective products, than Docs. :-/

      Take Care.

  8. SjogrensDysbioses says:

    I have been on a probiotic and prebiotic diet for about 4 months now. I have also trained yoga extensively for 2 months. Especially to stretch and strength my bodies fascia. My gluten intolerance has disappeared and my milk intolerance has improved. I am a whole new person today. My diet is very limiting and demanding but I am healthier and more active.

    • vitalsignspgh says:

      I admire your ability to maintain the diet and the yoga. Aside, from trying to decide which diet will be the most effective for me… I am so shot by the time I get home. It is hard for me to stand up & start trying to prepare dinner.
      I am not a diligent food plan follower for that reason :-/

      I definitely want to try yoga. I thought about trying it on my Wii, so I don’t embarrass myself.

      Thanks for sharing SD


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