There is no known cure for Sjögren’s syndrome but it can be treated effectively. Treatment usually involves medications and other measures that help relieve the common symptoms of the condition.
Simple measures for keeping symptoms under control, also include:
- The exclusion of foods that are irritating/or drying, such as nuts, chocolate, undissolved salt, vinegar, strong cheese (swiss,cheddar,blue) and high acid foods, such as tomatoes, fresh unripe fruit and alcoholic beverages, specially wine.
- Frequent oral hygiene. This is the best defense against infections, including the use of dental floss, electric tooth brushes, oral irrigators and other supplementary oral hygiene aids.
Dry eyes, for most patients with Sjogren’s Syndrome, are treated with prescription and over-the-counter moisture therapies to help replace, preserve and stimulate tears. Inflammation of the eyelids can also be treated with medication.
For more severe dry eye cases artificial tears may not be sufficient. Permanent closure of the tear duct may be the best solution. This allows you to retain your own natural tears. There are three basic methods of tear duct closure: laser treatment, cautery and silicone plugs. Each method has benefits and drawbacks therefore the doctor will advise the best treatment according to the individual needs of the patient.
Room humidifiers are a simple, non-invasive way of reducing the evaporation of tears. Place a hot facecloth or warm compresses over your eyes regularly and remove debris such as “sleep” from the eyes with a clean cotton swab. Wearing tight fitting goggles or moisture chamber glasses are also effective.
For dry mouth, prescription and over-the-counter mouth gels, tablets and sprays can relieve dryness by stimulating salivary glands or moistening the mouth. Prescription pilocarpine stimulates remaining salivary gland tissue to produce more moisture.
For other body parts, glucocorticoids (such as prednisone) may be prescribed if muscles, nerves or lungs are affected. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce joint pain and stiffness and ease muscle aches. Estrogen creams can ease vaginal dryness and relieve pain during intercourse.
Other suggestions for treating and managing Sjögren’s syndrome can be found on many of the Web sites listed in the Links section of our site.
What are the complications of untreated dry eyes?
In Sjögren’s Syndrome the tear production typically decreases. If you allow your eyes to become too dry, the epitheleal cells will have difficulty securing themselves to your cornea and can easily be rubbed off causing a lot of discomfort. Other more serious consequences of untreated dry eyes include a corneal ulcer (a focused, inflamed, painful response to infection), Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), bacterial conjunctivitisis (pink eye) and loss of vision.
What are the complications of untreated dry mouth?
Untreated dry mouth can lead to mouth infections, accelerated tooth decay, weight loss, sleep disruption, depression, poorly functioning dentures and other serious complications.