Sjogren’s is an autoimmune condition of the mucous membranes. The most common symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, but can include dryness of any tissues that are typically lubricated by our mucous membranes including the whole gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and vagina.
Sjogren’s is often part of a collection of autoimmune conditions that can include scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Raynaud’s, and others. Therefore, if a person is diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, screening for and preventing further autoimmune diseases is important.
Because our body uses the fluids produced by our mucous membranes for proper function and health of our tissues it is important to take measures to replace the fluids and manage side effects of dryness. Complications to watch for include:
- Vision problems- blurry vision, damage to the cornea, light sensitivity
- Dental cavities and periodontal disease
- Trouble swallowing and digesting food
- Dysbiosis and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)
- Oral, vaginal, and intestinal yeast infections
- Painful intercourse
It is important to work with a healthcare professional that can appropriately screen, monitor, and manage these various aspects of disease.