What is Sjögren's syndrome?
Sjögren's syndrome (say "SHOH-grins") is a disease in which the immune system attacks the glands that make moisture for the body, such as tears and saliva . The damage keeps the glands from working the way they should and makes your eyes and mouth dry.
The disease may also cause other problems, such as fatigue and pain in the joints. In rare cases, it can damage the lungs, kidneys, and nerves.
Anyone can get Sjögren's, but it's most common in white women who are in their 40s and 50s.
What causes Sjögren's syndrome?
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are very dry eyes and mouth that last for at least 3 months and are not caused by medicines. You may have itching and burning in your eyes. Your mouth may feel very dry, as though it is full of cotton.
How is Sjögren's syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical examination and ask questions about your symptoms and past health. He or she will also ask about any medicines you're taking that could cause dry eyes and mouth. If needed, you may also have tests to:
- Measure tear flow.
- Measure saliva.
- Check for antibodies in your blood.
How is it treated?
Your treatment for Sjögren's syndrome will depend on how the disease affects you over time. In most cases, treatment will focus on helping you control your symptoms.
Using artificial teardrops, mouth lubricants, and saliva substitutes can help moisten your eyes, mouth, and throat. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines such as:
Stronger medicines may be recommended if these treatments do not control your symptoms.
There are also many things you can do at home to manage symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learning about Sjögren's syndrome:
Living with Sjögren's syndrome:
Other Places To Get Help
|Canadian Ophthalmological Society|
|610-1525 Carling Avenue|
|Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R9|
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society is an association of eye doctors dedicated to helping the public take good care of their eyes and vision. This group provides educational information on eye conditions and diseases and eye safety.
|Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation|
Other Works Consulted
- Jonsson R, et al. (2005). Sjögren's syndrome. In WJ Koopman, LW Moreland, eds., Arthritis and Allied Conditions: A Textbook of Rheumatology, 15th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1681–1705. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- Ramos-Casals M, et al. (2010). Treatment of primary Sjogren's syndrome. JAMA, 304(4): 452–460.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Current as of||June 13, 2012|
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.