Image found here.
I was browsing some of the posts over at the Sjogren's World forums today, and noticed an interesting question. One of the readers had commented that she had frequent headaches and wondered if they could be related to Sjogren's syndrome or autoimmune disease. There were several responses by other sjoggies who agreed that frequent headaches were a problem for them. I hadn't considered this symptom in Sjogren's before since luckily for me, it hasn't been a recurring issue. Well, except on those rare mornings that follow an evening which includes more than one mango margarita.
I did a literature search and was surprised to see that yes, indeed - headache in Sjogren's syndrome is a common symptom confirmed by several studies that looked at prevalence of headaches specifically related to Sjogren's syndrome. Headache is discussed in this very thorough article outlining neurological aspects of Sjogren's syndrome by by Stewart J. Tepper M.D.: "Headache can occur in Sjögren's, and in a study by Dr. Gibson in London, who looked at thirty-five patients with primary Sjögren's in his Sjögren's clinic, about forty-six percent (46%) met the International Headache Society classification criteria for migraine. It may be that the headaches are a manifestation of the Sjogren's."
Although several studies confirm the increased incidence of headache and migraines in Ss, it appears that the cause of the headaches can be varied. This study speculates that "The high prevalence of migraine in pSS patients might be explained by a vascular headache triggered by immuno-mediated disease activity without an obvious clinic or laboratory marker."
Another study, published in the Annal of Rheumatic Diseases, also showed a significant increase in prevalence of migraine and headache in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome. The authors comment that causes could include stress and emotional upheavals that accompany the disease but also may be due to underlying disease processes similar to the headaches commonly associated with Lupus and other connective tissue disorders.
Other sources suggest that some headaches associated with Sjogren's syndrome may be the result of frequent sinus infections due to increased viscosity of mucous secretions.
Treatment of these headaches depend on underlying causes and severity of the pain, so talk to your doctor about treatment options for your headache.
My discussion would probably go something like this: So, doctor - I'm thinking that my headaches which follow three mango margaritas must definitely be related to Sjogren's syndrome, right? Right? Doctor? Whaddya mean, they're mango margarita related?!
Please. He must not have read the latest scientific literature. Pfft.