Sjogren's Syndrome - Treatment and Diet

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What treatment has been effective for your Sjogren's syndrome? Have you made any dietary changes, and have they been effective in managing your Sjogren's syndrome?

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What is the treatment for Sjögren's syndrome? Will dietary changes help Sjögren's syndrome symptoms and signs?

The treatment of patients with Sjögren's syndrome is directed toward the particular areas of the body that are involved and prevention of complications such as infection. There is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome.

Dryness of the eyes can be helped by artificial tears, using eye-lubricant ointments at night, and minimizing the use of hair dryers. When dryness becomes more significant, the ophthalmologist can plug the tear duct closed so that tears cover the eye longer. Cyclosporine eyedrops (Restasis) are approved medicated eyedrops that can reduce the inflammation of the tear glands, thereby improving their function. Signs of eye infection (conjunctivitis), such as pus or excessive redness or pain, should be evaluated by the doctor. Dietary addition of flaxseed oil may also benefit eye dryness.

The dry mouth can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids, humidifying air, and good dental care to avoid dental decay. The glands can be stimulated to produce saliva by sucking on sugarless lemon drops or glycerin swabs. Additional treatments for the symptom of dry mouth are prescription medications that are saliva stimulants, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac). These medications should be avoided by people with certain heart diseases, asthma, or glaucoma. Artificial saliva preparations can ease many of the problems associated with dry mouth. Many of these types of agents are available as over-the-counter products, including toothpaste, gum, and mouthwash (Biotene). Numoisyn Liquid and lozenges are also available for the treatment of dry mouth. Vitamin E oil has been used with some success. Infections of the mouth and teeth should be addressed as early as possible in order to avoid more severe complications. Diligent dental care is very important. Moist, warm compresses can be massaged onto the parotid glands to help relieve swelling and pain.

Saltwater (saline) nasal sprays can help dryness in the passages of the nose. Vaginal lubricant should be considered for sexual intercourse if vaginal dryness if a problem.

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) has been helpful for some manifestations of Sjgren's syndrome, particularly fatigue, muscle, and joint pains. Serious complications of Sjgren's syndrome, such as vasculitis, can require immune-suppression medications, including cortisone (prednisone and others) and/or azathioprine (Imuran) or cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).

Infections, which can complicate Sjögren's syndrome, are addressed with appropriate antibiotics. Cancer of the lymph nodes (lymphoma), a rare complication of Sjögren's syndrome, is treated independently.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Dawn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

I am so happy I found this site. I was just diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, but my main diagnosis is lupus. I got Sjogren's from lupus. I am 45 years old, and the doctors tell me I have lived with this from birth. I only started noticing weird symptoms a year ago, but nothing that would make me know it is Sjogren's or lupus. I went to a dermatologist, who said I had shingles and prescribed prednisone and an antiviral. The next day I felt great. I had noticed my eyes were so dry they hurt. One was so swollen I was told it was allergies. My mouth was so dry I would choke. I started thinking I was dehydrated. My doctor did too, and sent me to hospital to be rehydrated intravenously. This did not work. Then about three months ago, I noticed my ears were making noises and killing me, my glands were swollen, my throat felt like there was a grapefruit and razor blades inside, and I was so tired that I slept for three days/nights in a row. When I finally got up, my kids screamed. My face was distorted, crooked, and that grapefruit I felt in my throat, was even bigger and looked like it was growing on the outside of my neck. I went to ER and they said the shingles had given me Bell's palsy, had affected my adrenal gland, and I also had pneumonia. So basically, I was misdiagnosed, although the prednisone made me feel better. I am wondering if anyone is on medication for all the horrible symptoms. I'm on Plaquenil. Also, I would love to hear how others deal with this disease; anything that helps.

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Comment from: AKgirl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 17

I am 49 years old. I was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome four years ago after my dental hygienist asked me if I experienced dry mouth (I have lots of dental work in my mouth including implants). She suggested that I go to my doctor for tests. My general doctor referred me to a rheumatologist. My eyes felt "tired" and would bother me in the evening. Tests confirmed Sjogren's and dry eyes progressively got worse. I take the usual: Plaquenil and Restasis. I have tear duct plugs and use eye drops every 20 minutes. For dry mouth I use gum and candy with xylitol, water and Exovac twice a day. I take 1200mg Omega 3 fish oil pills for my eyes and skin. I avoid breads, crackers, chips and popcorn is the worst. I stay active and workout three times a week and I have no joint pain.

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