Sjogren’s syndrome is an immune system disorder that commonly accompanies other autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The first part of the body that is affected by the disease is the gland that moisturizes the eyes and mouth. It can also affect the joints, thyroid, kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and nerves.
The disorder can manifest in any age but is often diagnosed when the patient reaches 40 or older. It commonly occurs in women and those who have family histories of the disorder. Goals of treatment are mainly focused on managing symptoms which generally subside with time.
Sjogren’s Syndrome Symptoms
- The main symptoms of the disorder include dry eyes and mouth. Eyes may also burn, feel itchy and gritty or as if there is sand trapped within. The mouth on the other hand may feel like it is full of cotton which makes it difficult to speak and swallow.
- Pain, inflammation, and stiffening of the joints.
- Inflammation of the salivary glands. The glands that are more prone to inflammation are those that are located in front of the ears and behind the jaw.
- Drying of the skin which may be accompanied by rashes.
- Vagina dryness.
- Inflammation of the glands that line the breathing pathways which can lead to chronic dry coughs and other lung infections.
- Long-term fatigue.
- Enlargement of the lymph nodes.
- Rare symptoms include the inflammation of the blood vessels.
Home Cures for Sjogren’s Syndrome
- For dry eyes, patients can use artificial tears and eye drops. These products are available over-the-counter or with prescription and can be applied at home to relieve discomfort. There are thicker drops that can be applied less often.
- The humidity in the room can be increased to reduce dryness. Patients should also avoid exposure to windy environments or sitting in front of an air-conditioning vent or electric fan. Eye goggles can also help protect the eyes from harsh cold and windy conditions.
- Dry mouth can be remedied by drinking lots of fluids.
- Sugarless gum or candies along with lemon juice in water can help stimulate saliva flow.
- Nasal saline sprays help moisturize nasal passages.
- Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing teeth after every meal, visiting the dentist at least twice a year, and using antimicrobial and topical fluoride treatments mouthwashes regularly.
- Avoid hot water and soaking hands in cleaning solution or water when dry skin is observed. Use skin moisturizers and pat skin instead of rubbing it with a towel.
- Women patients that experience vaginal dryness can use over the counter vaginal moisturizers.