What is Sjogren's syndrome?
Sjogren's syndrome features a combination of dry eyes, dry mouth,
and another diseases of the connective tissues, most commonly rheumatoid
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease, characterized by
the abnormal production of antibodies in the blood that are directed
against various tissues of the body. This particular autoimmune
illness is caused by inflammation in the glands of the body. Inflammation
of the lacrimal glands leads to decreased water production for tears
and eye dryness. Inflammation of salivary glands leads to mouth
Sjogren's syndrome that involves the gland inflammation (resulting
in dryness of the eyes and mouth, etc.), but not associated with
a connective tissue disease, is referred to as primary Sjogren's
syndrome. Secondary Sjogren's syndrome involves not only gland inflammation,
but is associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid
arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma.
Cause of Sjogren's syndrome
While the exact cause of Sjogren's syndrome is not known, there
is growing scientific support for genetic (inherited) factors. The
illness is sometimes found in other family members. It is also found
more commonly in families that have members with other autoimmune
illnesses, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune thyroid
disease, juvenile diabetes, etc. 90% of Sjogren's syndrome patients
Sjogren's syndrome Symptoms
Symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome can involve the glands, as above,
but there are also possible affects of the illness involving other
organs of the body (extraglandular manifestations).
When the tear gland (lacrimal gland) is inflamed from Sjogren's,
the resulting eye dryness can progressively lead to eye irritation,
decreased tear production, "gritty" sensation, infection,
and serious abrasion of the dome of the eye (cornea).
Inflammation of the salivary glands can lead to mouth dryness,
swallowing difficulties, dental decay, gum disease, mouth sores
and swelling, stones and/or infection of parotid gland inside of
Other glands that can become inflamed, though less commonly, in
Sjogren's syndrome include those of the lining of the breathing
passages (leading to lung infections) and vagina (sometimes noted
as pain during intercourse).
Extraglandular (outside of the glands) problems in Sjogren's syndrome
include joint pain or inflammation (arthritis), Raynaud's phenomenon,
lung inflammation, lymph node enlargement, kidney, nerve, and muscle
disease. A rare serious complication of Sjogren's syndrome is inflammation
of the blood vessels (vasculitis), which can damage the tissues
of the body that are supplied by these vessels.
A common disease that is occasionally associated with Sjogren's
syndrome is autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), which
can lead to abnormal hormone levels detected by thyroid blood tests.
Heartburn and difficulty swallowing can result from gastroesophageal
reflux disease (GERD), another common condition associated with
Sjogren's syndrome. A rare disease that is uncommonly associated
with Sjogren's syndrome is primary biliary cirrhosis, an immune
disease of the liver that leads to scarring of the liver tissue.
A small percentage of patients with Sjogren's syndrome develop cancer
of the lymph glands (lymphoma). This usually develops after many
years with the illness. Unusual gland swelling should be reported
to the physician.
Sjogren's syndrome - How Is It Diagnosed?
• Medical exam
• Lab tests
• Chest X-rays
• Lip biopsy
• Schirmer test/slit-lamp exam (measures dryness of eyes)
• Urine test (for kidney function)
Sjogren's syndrome Treatment
The treatment of patients with Sjogren's syndrome is directed
toward the particular areas of the body that are involved and complications,
such as infection. There is no cure for Sjogren's syndrome.
Dryness of the eyes can be helped by artificial tears, eye lubricant
ointments at night, and minimizing the use of hair dryers.
The dry mouth can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids, humidifying
air, and good dental care to avoid dental decay. The glands can
be stimulated to produce saliva by sucking on sugarless lemon drops
or glycerin swabs. Additional treatment for the symptom of dry mouth
are prescription medications that are saliva stimulants, such as
pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac). Vitamin E oil has
been used with some success.
Salt water (saline) nasal sprays can help dryness in the passages
of the nose. Vaginal lubricant should be considered for sexual intercourse.
Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy Treatment for Sjogren's
Some homeopathic medicines that have shown positive results in
Sjogren's syndrome or which cover the symptom picture well are:
Nux-m, Tub, Tub-m, Silica, Brass-n-o, Lapr,
Pert-vc, Dulcamara, Antim-crud, Cuprum, Fl-acid, Puls
Homeopathy treats the person as
a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient
as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic
medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination
and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient,
physical and mental constitution etc.