How Can You Prevent Sjögren’s Syndrome?

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  • Preventing Sjögren's syndrome from occurring isn't possible, since there is no known way to avoid development of this disease but there are measures you can undertake that may inhibit the symptoms from worsening
  • Taking good care of the mouth and the teeth is highly recommended for people with Sjögren’s syndrome

Preventing Sjögren's syndrome from occurring isn't possible, since there is no known way to fully avoid development of this disease.1 However, there are measures you can undertake that may inhibit the disease’s symptoms from worsening.

What You Can Do to Prevent Symptoms From Worsening

Hindering further mouth and eye dryness in Sjögren’s syndrome patients can be accomplished using different strategies. One method is by raising humidity inside a room using a humidifier. Another strategy is to lessen contact with blowing air. If you have to go outdoors and you might be exposed to it, wearing goggles or protective eyewear is a must. 

However, because Sjögren’s syndrome can target different parts of the body, preventive measures aren’t limited to one part alone. For instance, it’s advised for people with eye problems to:2,3

  • Try using eye lubricants daily even if symptoms do not manifest. Your health provider may also prescribe special eye gels that you can sleep with. Just make sure that the eye lubricants or artificial tears do not contain preservatives, as some of these substances may cause eye irritation.
  • Alleviate irritated eyelids by using a warm compress.

Taking good care of the mouth and the teeth is highly recommended for people with Sjögren’s syndrome. Failure to do so may worsen existing dry mouth and predispose you to dental cavities and tooth loss. Here are ways to achieve improved oral health:

  • Brushing and flossing teeth after every meal (the latter may assist in preventing dry mouth-caused cavities)
  • Scheduling routine dental check-ups, typically every six months

If you or someone you know experiences problems related to saliva production, boosting fluid intake by drinking enough high-quality filtered water may be helpful. Using artificial saliva or saliva replacement products, which come as a spray or as a lozenge may work too, as these have a lubricant that helps moisten the mouth for an extensive amount of time.

For some Sjögren’s syndrome patients, the Mayo Clinic notes that a nasal saline spray may be helpful, as it assists with moisturizing and relieving discomfort in the nasal passage. In turn, this may help promote better breathing and inhibit dry, stuffy nose, which may trigger mouth breathing.

Lastly, you can help avoid dry skin by patting (not rubbing) the skin dry with a towel, applying moisturizer after bath time, and wearing rubber gloves while doing household chores. These tactics promote better skin moisture and prevent it from drying further.

Avoid These Activities if You Have Sjögren's Syndrome

If you or someone you know has Sjögren’s syndrome, take note of these activities that can exacerbate the disease:4,5

For dry eyes:

  • Avoid sitting near or in front of air conditioning or heating vents, as these can emit dry air that may increase your risk for dry eyes
  • Do not take medicines that worsen dry eyes, such as antidepressants and antihistamines. Consult your doctor about possible side effects if you must take any of these because of another condition

 

For dry mouth:

  • Smoking, can trigger irritation and mouth dryness
  • Consuming excessive amounts of sweets is not advisable as having Sjögren’s syndrome may lead to dental cavity
  • Drinking coffee or alcohol, can exacerbate dry mouth
  • Sodas and sports drinks,contain acids that can cause damage to the teeth’s enamel

 

For dry skin:

  • Avoid bathing or showering with hot water

 

Can Sjögren’s Syndrome Affect Pregnancy?

Sjögren’s syndrome affects more women than men.6 However, women who have been diagnosed with this disease should not worry about conceiving, as it is still possible for them to become pregnant and deliver healthy babies. However, extra caution is required because some complications can develop in the baby, such as extensive rashes and serious heart problems.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, testing for antiphospholipid antibodies, lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies, and anti-SS-A antibodies is recommended for women who are planning a pregnancy or women who had a miscarriage but want to get pregnant again. Results from these tests may help the doctor check the overall health of mother and child, and possibly recommend ways to prevent complications and ensure a healthy delivery. 7,8

MORE ABOUT SJÖGREN'S SYNDROME

Sjögren's Syndrome: An Introduction

What Is Sjögren's Syndrome?

Sjögren's Syndrome Symptoms

Sjögren's Syndrome Causes

Sjögren's Syndrome Treatment

Sjögren's Syndrome Prevention

Sjögren's Syndrome Diet

Sjögren's Syndrome FAQ

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