There is a correlation between H pylori infection and Sjogren’s Syndrome (SS). Patients with SS are more likely to have H pylori infection than patients with other connective tissue disorders.
Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease (meaning the immune system attacks tissues within our bodies). In this disease, the autoimmune reaction is against the exocrine glands that produce tears and saliva.
The majoriy of Sjogren’s sufferers are women and the condition often has its onset in patients’ late forties, suggesting a possible role for hormonal changes that occur around this time of life.
In on study, serum antibody titers to H pylori correlated with an index for CRP levels, clinical disease manifestations and disease duration. The authors of this study concluded that:
“Assessment for H pylori in older patients suffering from active SS for a relatively long duration is therefore recommended, especially those who have been suffering from primary SS for more than three years.”
However, other studies have not been able to show strong associations between H pylori infection and Sjogren’s syndrome, so unlike other dermatological and mucosal conditions, the link between the bacteria and the disease is weak.
As with all autoimmune disease – for example lupus, MS, Hashimoto’s, type I diabetes, scleroderma – as natural practitioners we are always seeking answers to why a person’s immune system attacks its maker.
We are very comfortable with the notion that both acute and chronic infections can cause the immune system to become confused, so H pylori, among others, is definitely a candidate as a potential factor in these diseases.
But we must also consider the fact that many other environmental influences may trigger autoimmunity, including gluten (as in celiac disease), food sensitivities, chemical overload and heavy metals (e.g. mercury, lead, cadmium).
The fact that Sjogren’s Syndrome occurs mainly in women as they move into or approach menopause provides clues that hormonal changes may have a role to play in the development of the condition.
In reality, a thorough investigation of all possible digestive infections, toxins, allergies and nutritional imbalances needs to be undertaken if the causes of these conditions is to be found.
H Pylori & Sjogren’s Syndrome References
El Miedany et al. Sjogren’s syndrome: concomitant H pylori infection and possible correlation with clinical parameters. Joint Bone Spine 2005; 72: 135-41.