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Sjögren Syndrome


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Reviewed/Revised Feb 2023
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What is Sjögren syndrome?

Sjögren syndrome is a disorder in which your eyes, mouth, and certain other tissues are too dry. This can cause eye problems, swallowing problems, and tooth decay Cavities The hard outer surface on your teeth is called the enamel. The pulp is deep inside the tooth and contains blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria can damage different parts of the tooth. Cavities... read more Cavities .

What causes Sjögren syndrome?

What are the symptoms of Sjögren syndrome?

  • Very dry eyes, which can cause damage to your cornea (the clear area at the front of your eye) and trouble seeing

  • Very dry mouth, which can cause eating and swallowing problems, cavities, and yeast infections in your mouth

  • Larger than usual salivary glands (the glands that make saliva to help you break down food and swallow)

  • Joint inflammation

  • Sometimes, dryness of other mucous membranes such as the vulva, vagina, and trachea (windpipe)

How can doctors tell if I have Sjögren syndrome?

Doctors ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. They may do tests, such as:

  • Tests to measure how well your eyes make tears (by placing an absorbent paper strip under your eyelid and seeing how wet it gets)

  • Tests to see images of your salivary glands

  • Sometimes, a biopsy of your salivary glands (taking a small sample to look at under a microscope)

  • Blood tests

How do doctors treat Sjögren syndrome?

There is no cure for Sjögren syndrome. Doctors will treat your symptoms.

For dry eyes:

  • Artificial tears (eye drops that work like real tears to wet the eye) during the day

  • Ointment at night

  • A simple surgery to plug your tear ducts so tears stay in your eyes longer

For dry mouth:

  • Sip drinks

  • Chew sugarless gum

  • Use a saliva substitute mouth rinse

  • Take medicine your doctor prescribes

For your other symptoms:

  • Use lube to make vaginal sex more comfortable

  • Brush your teeth and get regular dental care to prevent cavities

  • Take medicine or use warm compresses to treat painful swelling in salivary glands

  • Have surgery to remove salivary gland stones

  • Take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen) and rest to treat joint symptoms and pain

If you have other health problems caused by Sjögren syndrome, doctors will treat them.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Advil, Advil Children's, Advil Children's Fever, Advil Infants', Advil Junior Strength, Advil Migraine, Caldolor, Children's Ibuprofen, ElixSure IB, Genpril , Ibren , IBU, Midol, Midol Cramps and Body Aches, Motrin, Motrin Children's, Motrin IB, Motrin Infants', Motrin Junior Strength, Motrin Migraine Pain, PediaCare Children's Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer IB, PediaCare Infants' Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer IB, Samson-8
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