Sjögren’s Syndrome Self Care
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.