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Sjogren's syndrome
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Sjogren's syndrome
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Many symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome respond well to self-care. A self-care plan may mean you follow some of the following advice:

  • Use artificial tears and eyedrops. These can relieve the discomfort of dry eyes. Artificial tears and eyedrops are available by prescription or over the counter. Thicker drops are available that you don't have to apply as often as other drops, but they may cause visual blurring and collect along your eyelashes. Ask your doctor about whether you should select artificial tears with or without preservatives, because the preservatives used to prolong the shelf life of some products can cause eye irritation in some people. Another treatment that can keep your eyes moist is small pellets of hydroxypropyl cellulose (Lacrisert), which are placed in your lower eyelid. When you add artificial tears, the pellet dissolves and forms a film over the moisture.

  • Increase your fluid intake. Drinking lots of fluids, particularly water, helps to reduce dry mouth. Lemon juice in water may help stimulate salivary flow. Sugarless gum or hard candies also may help. Because the risk of dental cavities increases with Sjogren's syndrome, reduce your sugar intake.

  • Use moisturizers. If dry skin is a problem, avoid using very hot water to wash and avoid soaking your hands in water or cleaning solutions. Pat your skin — don't rub — with a towel and apply moisturizers when your skin is still damp. Use rubber gloves when doing dishes or housecleaning. Moisturizers and lubricants help women who experience vaginal dryness.

  • Stop smoking. Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke because smoke can increase your dryness.

  • Increase humidity. Increasing the indoor humidity or protecting yourself in windy environments may help you reduce dryness. For example, avoid sitting in front of a fan or air conditioning vent. You may also want to use goggles or protective eyewear when you go outdoors.

  • Protect your oral health. Brush your teeth after every meal and schedule regular dental appointments to protect against the increased risk of dental cavities. Your dentist or doctor may also tell you to use daily topical fluoride treatments and antimicrobial mouthwashes. Artificial saliva products can help keep your mouth feeling moist. These products can also help to prevent cavities if they contain fluoride.

  • If you develop an oral yeast infection (such as candidiasis), your physician may prescribe antifungal lozenges, for example clotrimazole (Mycelex), that will slowly dissolve in your mouth. Antifungal medication is also available in liquid form, such as nystatin (Mycostatin), for you to swish around your mouth.

  • Inflammation of the parotid gland (parotitis) can be helped by massage, the use of warm compresses, and the stimulation of your salivary flow — such as through the use of sugarless lemon drops or other hard candies. NSAIDs may help relieve your discomfort and inflammation.

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