Living with dryness may be uncomfortable, but there are a number of ways that you can manage and/or reduce your symptoms and continue to lead a full, active life. Easy lifestyle and behavioral changes can make a big difference. There are also numerous over-the-counter remedies and, depending on the cause of your dryness symptoms, prescription treatments that you should discuss with your doctor to determine if one of them is right for you.
Living with Sjögren’s Syndrome
Have you been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome or do you think you might have it? While there is currently no cure for Sjögren’s , the tips on this website can help you manage and/or reduce your symptoms. However, regardless of your symptoms, the most important thing you can do is:
Talk to Your Doctor – This is the most important step in helping to manage any symptom related to Sjögren’s symptoms, including dry mouth. If you haven’t already been diagnosed, talk to your doctor about getting tested. Confirming the cause of your dryness symptoms is crucial to finding a treatment plan that works for you. While over-the-counter treatments and behavioral changes may provide some relief, your doctor may prescribe a prescription treatment depending on the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
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Dry-mouth symptoms are characterized as a chalky feeling in the mouth, or as if the mouth is full of cotton. It may be difficult to swallow, speak or taste things. For many Sjögren’s patients, dry-mouth symptoms can affect their daily activities.
Use a humidifier – Staying hydrated is important for Sjögren’s patients. Increase the humidity in your home, particularly at night, by using a room humidifier.
Sip water frequently – Keep your mouth moist by sipping small amounts of water during the day to reduce dry-mouth symptoms. Try not to “over sip” so that you do not wash away your saliva. Lemon juice in water may also help stimulate saliva flow.
Chew sugarless gum – Activate your salivary secretion by chewing sugarless gum. Sucking on sugar-free candies also works well.
Treat your dry-mouth symptoms from the inside out – Behavioral changes may provide temporary relief, but moderate to severe dry-mouth symptoms may require a systemic treatment. Some prescription treatments have been shown to increase salivary flow in patients suffering from dry mouth associated with Sjögren’s syndrome.
Dry-eye symptoms are often characterized as a burning or itching of the eyes. Some people say it feels like they have sand in their eyes. It may also cause you to have blurry vision, or to be bothered by bright lights especially fluorescent ones. Below are some tips to help manage dry-eye symptoms:
Use a humidifier – Increase the humidity in your home, particularly at night, by using a room humidifier.
Blink – Of course, everyone blinks, but many people do not do it often enough. Blinking more often, especially when looking at a computer screen, can help stimulate the production of tears and increase moisture in the eyes.
Wear sunglasses – Protect your eyes from exposure to drying winds and sun by wearing sunglasses. Also avoid sitting in front of air conditioners or fans which can contribute to dry-eye symptoms.
Drink water – Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water (8 to 10 glasses) every day.
Add tears – Depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are many effective over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. However, some people may need a prescription medication that provides moisture and increases tear production.