Many symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome respond well to self-care measures.
To relieve dry eyes:
- Use artificial tears, an eye lubricant or both. Artificial tears (in eyedrop form) and eye lubricants (in eyedrop, gel or ointment form) help relieve the discomfort of dry eyes. Both types of product are available over-the-counter. You don't have to apply eye lubricants as often as artificial tears. Because of their thicker consistency, though, eye lubricants can blur your vision and collect on your eyelashes. Your doctor may recommend artificial tears without preservatives because the preservatives can be irritating for people with dry eye syndrome.
- Increase humidity. Increasing the indoor humidity and reducing your exposure to blowing air may help keep your eyes from getting uncomfortably dry. For example, avoid sitting in front of a fan or air-conditioning vent, and wear goggles or protective eyewear when you go outdoors.
To help with dry mouth:
- Increase your fluid intake. Drinking lots of fluids, particularly water, helps to reduce dry mouth.
- Stimulate saliva flow. Sugarless gum or hard candies can boost saliva flow. Because Sjogren's syndrome increases your risk of dental cavities, limit sweets, especially between meals. Lemon juice in water can also help stimulate saliva flow.
- Try artificial saliva. Saliva replacement products often work better than plain water because they contain a lubricant that helps your mouth stay moist longer. These products may come as a spray or lozenge.
- Use nasal saline spray. A nasal saline spray can help moisturize and clear nasal passages so you can breathe freely through your nose. A dry, stuffy nose can increase mouth breathing.
Dry mouth increases your risk of dental cavities and tooth loss. The following precautions may help prevent those types of problems.
- Brush your teeth and floss after every meal.
- Schedule regular dental appointments, at least every six months.
- Use daily topical fluoride treatments and antimicrobial mouthwashes.
Other areas of dryness
If dry skin is a problem, avoid hot water when you bathe and shower. Pat your skin — don't rub — with a towel and apply moisturizer when your skin is still damp. Use rubber gloves when doing dishes or housecleaning. Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants help women who experience vaginal dryness.
Aug. 06, 2011
- Questions and answers about Sjogren's syndrome. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sjogrens_Syndrome/default.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Kruszka P, et al. Diagnosis and management of Sjogren syndrome. American Family Physician. 2009;79:465.
- Naguwa S, et al. Sjogren's syndrome. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/137554062-3/841563606/1492/1035.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50294-9_13050. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Sjogren's syndrome. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/sjogrens.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Fox R, et al. Treatment of Sjogren's syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 6, 2011.