First things first: I wrote a less comprehensive piece about Sjögren’s Syndrome a few years ago.
Lately, I’ve received a few inquiries about the syndrome so want to provide more information.
According to The Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that destroys glandular tissue. Generally, a person receives a diagnosis after being diagnosed with another autoimmune disease such as Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Some people with fibromyalgia develop it, too.
A lip biopsy determines Sjögren’s and other such systemic disorders.
Sjögren’s Syndrome causes:
- dry eyes
- burning eyes
- cessation of tears
- dry mouth
- rotting teeth
- oral infections
- trouble swallowing
- joint pain
- severe fatigue.
The dry eye in Sjögren’s causes poor ocular health in addition to discomfort. To enjoy clear vision, the ocular surface needs an even distribution of tears which this condition prevents. But from the symptoms above, you can see how it impacts the whole body.
When a person begins to experience severe symptoms like abnormally dry eyes or dry mouth—or has never experienced these symptoms before— that person must consult a doctor to get to the root cause. Sometimes medications or other conditions cause such symptoms. Or, it could be the onset of an illness. Therefore, it’s important to talk to a doctor who can do the appropriate tests. A doctor can also advise how to find comfort if meds cause the symptoms.
While I believe in being a self-health advocate, self-diagnosis often prevents accurate care. Go to the doctor. It’s necessary!
Some doctors may not be informed about this condition. If you find yourself dealing with a doctor who chooses to remain in the dark, then you should look for someone else. If warranted, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
Standard treatments include:
- Immunosuppressive medications to treat internal organ manifestations.
- Prescriptions for dry eye and dry mouth.
- Punctal plugs for the eyes.
- OTC aids, but always run them by your doctor before using them. A doctor knows if an OTC interferes with other treatments and may also offer suggestions on the best way/ times to take OTCs for maximum support.
- Hard candy, special gels/rinses, and other oral aids. Some are OTC and some are not.Here’s another reminder about treatments: Never assume the safety or effectiveness of a natural treatment, especially when taking other medication. They can cause severe sickness. They can also lead to more dryness.Due to the symptoms that this condition causes, always be honest about the medications you use. Some of them might make the symptoms worse. A doctor can point you in the right direction.
It’s hard dealing with any chronic disease. If you’re dealing with fibromyalgia and a comorbidity like Sjögren’s, then the stress feels overwhelming.
But it’s possible to get support mentally and live a normal life. One of the world’s best athletes suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome. Click here to find out who.
Many Sjögren’s patients believe that seeking out a counselor proves beneficial to dealing with their aggravating condition. Counseling can also help with fibromyalgia. Online support groups allow the sharing of frustrations and tips.
In the meantime, spread the word about Sjögren’s and fibromyalgia by sharing this post or linking to the Sjögren’ website as well as to us here at FibroDaily. Like fibromyalgia, Sjögren’s suffers from a massive lack of knowledge. People who deal with the condition can benefit from increased awareness on the job and in their private lives.
Spreading knowledge helps increase research funding, treatments, and kindness for both Sjögren’s Syndrome and fibromyalgia.
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