Ideal Treatment Options for Sjögren’s Syndrome

Omega 3 fatty acid foods

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  • Before trying any of these natural treatments, talk to your doctor to find out the ideal remedy for your situation, and the recommended dosage that will help address the issue at hand
  • Remember to raise your intake of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K2 as well if you’re taking a high-dose vitamin D supplement. These nutrients work in synergy and need sufficient amounts of each other for optimal function

There is no known remedy for Sjögren’s syndrome yet, so treatment is usually geared toward  addressing areas of the body affected by the disease.1

Conventional Medicines for Sjögren’s Syndrome Patients

Symptoms that manifest in patients can help a doctor determine the ideal treatment for the condition. Here are some issues that typically appear in patients, and how these are often addressed:2,3

 Inflammation and discomfort in the eyes: Moderate to severe dry eyes may be addressed with prescription eye drops like cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra).

Another way to address eye discomfort is by using eye lubricants, whether in drop, gel or ointment form. However, you don’t need to apply eye lubricants as often as eye drops because of their thicker consistency. Eye lubricants may also attach to your eyelashes and trigger vision problems.

In some cases, a minor surgical procedure called a punctal occlusion can be recommended. The patient has collagen or silicone plugs inserted into the tear ducts to seal them and prevent tears from draining.

Reduction of saliva production: Taking pilocarpine (Salagen) and cevimeline (Evoxac) may lead to increased saliva and/or tear production.

However, the Mayo Clinic warns against possible side effects linked to these medicines, such as sweating, abdominal pain, flushing and increased urination. Plus, patients with heart diseases, asthma or glaucoma aren’t advised to take these medicines because of possible negative reactions.

In other cases, a saliva substitute like Numoisyn4 may be recommended by doctors.

Dry mouth: Dental care products like toothpaste and mouthwash (Biotene) may help relieve dry mouth. Plus, to assist with treating mouth swelling and pain, some doctors can recommend that you massage moist and warm compresses on your parotid glands.

System-wide Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms: Doctors prescribe the drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for fatigue and muscle and joint pains caused by this disease.

Other medicines that may be prescribed include immune system-suppressing drugs like methotrexate (Trexall), cortisone (prednisone and others), azathioprine (Imuran) or cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).

Nasal passage dryness: Salt water (saline) nasal sprays can alleviate this problem.

Vaginal dryness: Women can use a vaginal lubricant should they notice this problem.

Specific complications: Arthritis medications and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to people who develop arthritis symptoms. On the other hand, antifungal medications are advised if yeast infections occur in the mouth.

While some of these Sjögren’s syndrome treatment protocols sound ideal, you must be careful when turning to conventional medications to address this condition. As mentioned above, drugs used to stimulate saliva production can lead to side effects. Furthermore, OTC medicines and NSAIDs have their laundry list of adverse consequences too.

Natural Remedies for Sjögren’s Syndrome

Dry eyes and mouth are two of the common symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome. Here are some natural treatment protocols to consider if you have these indicators: 

For Dry Eyes

N-acetylcysteine (NAC): An antioxidant-rich compound, NAC can assist in dissolving mucus plaques on the eye’s corneal surface that develop because of this disease.5

Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are said to benefit eye health and help combat dry eye.6 Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies, flaxseed oil, and high-quality krill oil supplements are excellent omega-3 options that may help boost your eyesight.

Astaxanthin: While this antioxidant is typically taken with omega-3 fatty acids, astaxanthin can provide its own host of health benefits. Astaxanthin is highly notable for its ability to provide a defense against ultraviolet light, and help lower risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.8

Light therapy and eyelid massage:9 A 2015 study in the journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery noted that intense-pulsed light therapy, along with an eyelid massage afterward, promoted decreased dry eye symptoms in 87 percent of participants with a severe form of the disease.10

Consistent vigorous exercise: In an article in The New York Times, Dr. Reza Dana, a professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, explains that exercise can assist in improving eye health by helping promote better blood follow, tissue regeneration and release of oils in your eyes.11

For Dry Mouth

Cayenne pepper: This spice, alongside other chili peppers, can trigger saliva production. This occurs when taste buds and nerve endings come into contact with a stimulating substance like cayenne powder.12,13

Lemon: Its citric acid content may promote saliva production.14,15

Aloe vera: Antioxidants, phytonutrients and other naturally hydrating substances are found in aloe vera juice. Plus, this drink can assist with promoting saliva production, improve taste bud function and help protect the mouth from oral infections.16,17

Drinking more water: People who drink water regularly may decrease their Sjögren’s syndrome risk. Drinking water may help boost saliva production, which in turn may serve as a gum, throat and/or lip lubricant, helping ease uncomfortable side effects.18,19,20

Sugarless lemon drops or glycerin swabs: They can encourage the glands to produce saliva.21

Low vitamin D levels are common in patients with this autoimmune disorder. Make sure to get sensible sun exposure, as it is the most ideal way to optimize your levels of this all-important vitamin. If this is not possible, vitamin D supplements, like vitamin D3, can also be recommended for Sjögren’s syndrome patients with inadequate vitamin D levels.

Remember to raise your intake of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K2 as well if you’re taking a high-dose vitamin D supplement. These nutrients work in synergy and need sufficient amounts of each other for optimal function.22,23,24

Before trying any of the natural treatments mentioned above, talk to your doctor first to find out the ideal remedy for your situation, and the recommended dosage that’ll help address the issue at hand.

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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