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Sjogren’s Syndrome Specialist

Arthritis Associates -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Associates

Rheumatology & Arthritis located in San Antonio, TX

Sjögren's syndrome commonly results in dry eyes and mouth but can also affect your joints, skin, organs, and nervous system. If you have symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome, the rheumatology experts at Arthritis Associates in San Antonio, Texas, can help. They offer a variety of advanced treatments to address the issues Sjögren's syndrome can cause. To benefit from their experience, call Arthritis Associates to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.

Sjogren’s Syndrome Q&A

What is Sjögren's syndrome?

The autoimmune disorder Sjögren's syndrome develops when your immune system attacks cells in the glands that make tears and saliva. The resulting inflammation damages the glands, causing problems like dry eyes and mouth.

Sjögren's syndrome can affect people of any age, but most often appears in women between 45 and 55. Around 50% of patients with Sjögren's syndrome also have other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

What symptoms does Sjögren's syndrome cause?

The most common symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are dry eyes and a dry mouth. Your eyes may be painful, burning, or feel gritty, and you might have blurred vision. In addition, your saliva may be thick, and you might experience difficulty swallowing and hoarseness because of the dry tissues.

Your immune system may also attack other tissues, causing what’s known as extraglandular manifestations. These problems can affect your joints, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and nervous system, causing symptoms such as:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Muscle pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Skin rashes
  • Acid reflux (heartburn)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Swollen glands

In addition to these symptoms, many people with Sjögren's syndrome also suffer from chronic pain and feelings of fatigue that have a significant impact on their quality of life.

What treatments are available for Sjögren's syndrome?

The treatment plan your provider at Arthritis Associates creates for you addresses the specific problems you're experiencing as a result of Sjögren's syndrome:

Dry eyes

Dry eye treatment typically involves using preservative-free artificial tears, ointments that you apply before you go to bed, and prescription medications that help to reduce eye inflammation.

Severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments might require punctal plugs. These tiny silicone stoppers help to keep your eyes moist by preventing your tears from draining away.

Dry mouth

You might be able to relieve dry mouth satisfactorily by taking frequent sips of water and regularly chewing gum. If these don’t work on their own, your provider at Arthritis Associates can prescribe medications to stimulate saliva production.

Nasal dryness

Nasal irrigation systems and humidifiers can help stop your nasal passages from drying out. 

Body-wide Sjögren's syndrome symptoms might require other types of medication, such as:

  • Antifungal therapies for yeast infections
  • Proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux
  • Oral corticosteroids for organ inflammation
  • Immunosuppressants for extraglandular manifestations

There's no cure for Sjögren's syndrome at this time. However, the expert team at Arthritis Associates provides these advanced treatments to make your condition more manageable.

If you have symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome, call Arthritis Associates or book an appointment online today.