Lupus and Sjogren's syndrome

My recent experience with dry mouth and dry eyes may be associated with Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome is a disorder of the immune system identified by dryness of eyes and mouth. Sjogren’s syndrome usually accompanies other immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Concerning dry eyes, your eyes may burn, itch, or feel gritty. Your mouth may feel like it’s full of cotton, making it difficult to swallow or speak. Sjogren’s syndrome is not limited to lupus sufferers as anyone can develop it. However, it is highly diagnosed in people over 40 years of age and women. The most common complications of Sjogren’s syndrome include:

  • Dental cavities. Because saliva helps protect the teeth from bacteria that cause cavities, you’re more prone to develop cavities if your mouth is dry.
  • Yeast infections. People with Sjogren’s syndrome are much more likely to develop oral thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth.
  • Vision problems. Dry eyes can lead to light sensitivity, blurred vision, and corneal ulcers.

Many people can manage dry eye and dry mouth associated with Sjogren’s syndrome by using over-the-counter eye drops and drinking water more frequently. There are other lifestyle and home remedies your doctor may suggest, including medications that increase the production of saliva. To relieve intensive dry eyes, minor tear duct surgery (punctal occlusion) may be an option.

(Mayo Clinic, 2014)

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Filed under: Lupus

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