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Sjögren’s Syndrome Self Care

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Taking a proactive role in treatment, called self management, is one of the best ways to help manage the symptoms Sjögren’s syndrome. Here are some tips to do that:

For Dry Mouth and Dental Health

  • Take small sips of water throughout the day.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies or lozenges, such as Salese or Dentiva, to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Use products that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol to help prevent tooth decay.
  • Have frequent dental checkups.
  • Use an electric toothbrush.
  • Ask a dentist to recommend fluoride products specifically for dry mouth.
  • Brush and floss teeth regularly, especially after meals. If daytime brushing isn't possible, rinse the mouth with plain water.
  • Avoid sugar-containing foods and drinks between meals.

For Dry Eyes

  • Use eye drops on a regular basis; try single-unit preservative-free drops.
  • Limit the use of drops with preservatives, which can cause dryness and irritation.
  • Use lubricating eye ointments or gels at night.
  • Use wraparound sunglasses or moisture shields that attach to glasses to prevent loss of moisture from the eyes.

For Dry Nose, Throat and Upper Airways

  • Use nasal sprays of water or saline during the day. In some climates, using a home humidifier may help.
  • Use water-based nasal gels at nighttime.

For Joint Pain

  • Rest joints when they are swollen and painful to help reduce inflammation and fight the fatigue that can come with a flare.
  • Exercise safely to relieve joint stiffness and improve range of motion between flares. Talk to a doctor before beginning an exercise program, which should emphasize low-impact aerobic conditioning, muscle strengthening and flexibility.

For Vaginal Dryness

  • Avoid using Vaseline or other oil-based lubricants, which can lead to infections.

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