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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Sjögren's syndrome

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What is Sjögren’s syndrome?

Sjögren’s syndrome is a condition which mainly affects the glands that produce saliva and tears, causing a dry mouth and/or eyes. It’s estimated that half a million people in the UK have Sjögren’s syndrome, and it most commonly affects women aged 40–60. Read more >

What are the symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome?

Symptoms include:

  • dry, sore, irritable or gritty eyes
  • a dry mouth and/or throat, which may cause difficulty chewing or swallowing food
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • joint pain or general achiness

You may also experience dryness of the skin, digestive tract, vagina or air passages.

Other possible symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • fever
  • swollen lymph glands in your neck, armpits or groin
  • aggravated menopausal symptoms
  • your fingers or toes turning blue in the cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
Sjögren’s syndrome can sometimes cause problems with your nervous system, liver and kidneys, inflammation of your blood vessels and chest pain. Read more >

Who gets Sjögren’s syndrome?

Women aged between 40 and 60 are most likely to be diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome. Read more >

What causes Sjögren’s syndrome?

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease, but we don’t yet know why it happens. Read more >

What is the outlook?

You’re unlikely to be disabled by Sjögren’s syndrome, although the symptoms can be uncomfortable and long lasting. Read more >

How is Sjögren’s syndrome diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and carry out tests to assess how dry your eyes and mouth are. You may also need to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist), a dentist or oral surgeon, or a rheumatologist before you’re diagnosed.

What tests are there?

  • tear production
  • eye examination
  • saliva production
  • x-rays of the salivary glands and ducts
  • other scans
  • blood tests
  • lip biopsy
  • Read more >

What treatments are there for Sjögren’s syndrome?

Although there’s no cure yet, many treatments are available to help your symptoms. These include:

You may be prescribed other drugs, depending on the type and severity of your symptoms. Occasionally, a minor surgical procedure may be used to reduce the drainage of fluid from your eyes. Read more >

Self-help and daily living

Try the following self-help tips:

  • Increase the humidity in rooms by introducing humidifiers, plants or bowls of water.
  • Always have some water to hand.
  • Follow a good dental routine and have regular check-ups.
  • Increase the amount of fibre in your diet if you have bowel symptoms.
  • Don’t have too many sugary or caffeinated foods and drinks.
  • Use lubricating gels if sex is painful.
  • Read more >

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