Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s Syndrome Definition Symptoms Cause Diet Regimen Homeopathic Medicine Homeopath Treatment In Rajkot India

Sjögren’s Syndrome

Definition:

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder of unknown cause, characterised by lymphocytic infiltration of salivary and lacrimal glands, leading to glandular fibrosis and exocrine failure. [1]

  • The typical age of onset is between 40 and 50, with a 9 : 1 female preponderance.
  • The disease may occur in isolation (primary Sjögren’s syndrome) or in patients with other autoimmune diseases (secondary Sjögren’s syndrome). [1]
  • Sjogren’s causes your immune system to go haywire and attack healthy cells instead of invading bacteria or viruses.
  • Conditions like this are called autoimmune diseases.
  • Your white blood cells, which normally protect you from germs, attack the glands that are in charge of making moisture.
  • When that happens, they can’t produce tears and saliva.
  • About half of people with Sjogren’s also have another autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
  • Dry eyes and dry mouth are the most common symptoms.
  • You can sometimes get problems in other parts of your body, such as swollen glands around your face and neck, dry skin or nasal passages, or painful and stiff joints. [3]

Many people who have the condition don’t have any other symptoms.

However, symptoms can vary a lot from person to person.

Some people find they can manage their condition well, while others find it has a big effect on their daily life.

Eye:

  • Eyes may be dry and feel sore, irritable or as if they have grit or sand in them.
  • Some people feel discomfort under strong lights, or find their eyes become sticky with mucus.
  • Sometimes the eyelids might be sore or swollen, or your vision might become blurred.

Mouth and throat problems:

  • Mouth may be dry and you may get mouth ulcers.
  • Throat or mouth might also feel sticky.
  • It can sometimes be hard to swallow, or you might find that things taste different.
  • You may find that you need to drink water while eating.
  • Your voice may be hoarse or weak, and some people have a dry cough.
  • You could also have cracks in the skin at the corners of your mouth, or your tongue might look red and smooth.
  • These include fungal infections such as thrush, an unpleasant taste in your mouth, and more tooth decay.
  • Your salivary glands, which are on your face, just in front of your ears, may feel painful and swollen.

Fatigue:

  • Fatigue is an overwhelming feeling of tiredness that can happen after doing very little and has no obvious cause.
  • You may feel extremely tired, both physically and mentally, and you might find it difficult to concentrate.
  • Some people start to feel down or depressed as a result of their condition and the fatigue it causes.

Aches and pains:

  • Your joints may be painful and swollen due to inflammation, or you might feel that various parts of your body, such as your muscles, are achy and tender.
  • Some people with this condition have headaches and migraines.

Other symptoms:

You may feel as though other parts of the body are drier than normal, such as:

  • Bowel – this may cause symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as tummy pain, diarrhoea and constipation.
  • Bladder – this may cause irritation, soreness, or the need to pee more than usual.
  • Vagina – this can make sex uncomfortable and could cause symptoms of the menopause to feel worse.
  • Skin – this can make you feel itchy or unusually sensitive to strong sunlight & also get rashes.
  • Air passages – this may make you more sensitive to things in the air, such as smoke or dust, and cause a dry cough. [4]

Associated autoimmune disorders:

  • SLE
  • Progressive systemic sclerosis
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Chronic active hepatitis
  • Myasthenia gravis [1]
  • In Sjögren’s syndrome, the body’s immune system produces inflammation that damages the tissues and nerve signals to certain glands in the body.
  • The inflammation mainly attacks glands that produce fluids, such as the lacrimal glands behind the eyelids, and the salivary glands in the mouth. This reduces the amount of saliva, tears and other fluids the glands produce.
  • We don’t know what causes the immune system to start attacking the body, but it’s thought it could be partly due to the genes we inherit from our parents.
  • However, this doesn’t mean that children of people with Sjögren’s syndrome will automatically get the condition.
  • It’s also thought that the female hormone oestrogen could be linked to Sjögren’s syndrome, as more women get the condition than men. [4]

Risk factors:

  • Age: Sjogren’s syndrome is usually diagnosed in people older than 40.
  • Sex: Women are much more likely to have Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Rheumatic disease: It’s common for people who have Sjogren’s syndrome to also have a rheumatic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. [2]
  • HLA-B8/DR3 [1]

There are a number of tests that can help a doctor diagnose this condition.

Tear production:

  • The diagnosis can be established by the Schirmer tear test, which measures tear flow over 5 minutes using absorbent paper strips placed on the lower eyelid; a normal result is more than 6 mm of wetting.
  • Staining with rose Bengal may show punctate epithelial abnormalities over the area not covered by the open eyelid. [1]

Eye examination: 

  • During this test, an eye specialist will put a dye into your eyes and use a microscope with a light to examine them.
  • The light makes it possible to see the film of liquid over the surface of each eye.
  • If you don’t have enough of this liquid, you may have Sjögren’s syndrome.

Spit test:

  • This test involves getting you to spit or dribble into a container over five minutes.
  • The amount of saliva that you produce in that time is measured.
  • If it’s lower than expected, this could be a sign of this condition.

Ultrasound scans:

  • Ultrasound scans can sometimes help with a diagnosis, with high-frequency sound waves used to build up pictures of your salivary glands.
  • The glands usually appear grey on ultrasound images, but in people with Sjögren’s syndrome, round black areas can be seen in the scans.

Sialography:

  • A sialography is an x-ray of the salivary glands and ducts.
  • In this x-ray, contrast dye is injected so that the glands and ducts show up clearly in the images.
  • This can be used for diagnosis, but is mainly used to identify blockages of the ducts in people who keep getting salivary gland infections.

MRI scans:

  • Occasionally, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are used if there is uncertainty over the diagnosis, or if it is thought you may have another condition, such as lymphoma.
  • MRI scans use radio waves in a strong magnetic field to build up pictures of the inside of the body.

Blood tests:

  • People with Sjögren’s syndrome often have high levels of inflammation in their blood, which can measure with blood tests, such as an erythrocyte (er-i-throw-site) sedimentation rate (ESR) test.
  • Two autoantibodies, called anti-Ro and anti-La, are important in diagnosis and can found in blood tests.
  • About two-thirds of people with primary Sjögren’s syndrome have anti-Ro or anti-La antibodies, or both.
  • The presence of one or more of these autoantibodies in a person with dry eyes or a dry mouth strongly suggests they have the condition.

Lip biopsy:

  • A lip biopsy is done to see if any clumps of white blood cells have formed inside your salivary glands, and might also be used to check if you’re at risk of lymphoma.
  • During the biopsy, a tiny piece of tissue containing several tiny salivary glands is removed from your lower lip under local anaesthetic and examined under a microscope. [4]

No treatments that have disease modifying effects have yet identified and management is symptomatic.

  • Lachrymal substitutes, such as hypromellose, should be used during the day in combination with more viscous lubricating ointment at night.
  • Soft contact lenses can useful for corneal protection in patients with filamentary keratitis, and occlusion of the lachrymal ducts is occasionally needed.
  • Artificial saliva and oral gels can tried for xerostomia but are often not effective.
  • Stimulation of saliva flow by sugar free chewing gum or lozenges may be helpful.
  • Adequate postprandial oral hygiene and prompt treatment of oral candidiasis are essential.
  • Vaginal dryness treat with lubricants such as K­Y jelly.
  • Extra glandular and musculo skeletal manifestations may respond to steroids, and if so, immuno suppressive drugs can added for their steroid­sparing effect.
  • Fatigue is difficult to treat; this is usually due to non­ restorative sleep (often because of xerostomia) and is unresponsive to steroids.
  • Immuno suppression does not improve sicca symptoms.
  • If lymphadenopathy or salivary gland enlargement develops, biopsy should perform to exclude malignancy. [1]

Homeopathic treatment for sjögren’s syndrome is  natural, safe and without any side-effects, and one can enjoy immense relief from these frustrating symptoms.

It is a patient-oriented science and medicines are prescribed on the characteristics of the individual rather than just the symptoms of the disease.

Nux Moschata – For dry mouth:

  • Nux Moschata is a homeopathic medicine prepared from seeds of the Nutmeg plant.
  • The natural order of this plant is Myristicaceae.
  • Nux Moschata is beneficial for treating dry mouth in cases of Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • People who need Nux Moschata have an intensely dry mouth.
  • The dryness is so marked that the tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth.
  • The dryness of the mouth is most experienced while sleeping.
  • A peculiar symptom is a lack of thirst in spite of a dry mouth.
  • Besides this, A bad smell from the mouth may be present.
  • The lips are also dry.
  • The dryness may extend to throat from mouth.

Belladonna – For managing dry eyes:

  • Belladonna is a natural treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome prepared from the plant Deadly Nightshade.
  • It belongs to the natural order Solanaceae.
  • Belladonna is helpful for managing dry eyes in Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Along with dryness, the eyes also appear red.
  • Itching in the eyes may be present, and in some cases, a burning, smarting and stinging sensation in eyes is present.
  • Sand-like gritty sensation in the eyes along with the above symptoms may also be present.

Rhus Toxicodendron – For joint pains:

  • Rhus Tox is an effective homeopathic cure for joint pains in cases of Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • People needing rhus tox experience pain, swelling, redness, heat in joints with marked stiffness.
  • Cracking on stretching the joints also appears.
  • They may feel better by warm application.
  • For using rhus tox, a characteristic feature is a joint pain that gets worse during rest whereas better by motion.

Arsenic Album – For fatigue:

  • Arsenic Album is an effective medicine especially for Sjogren’s Syndrome where the person experiences extreme fatigue.
  • Weariness and weakness prevail all the time, and intense fatigue makes a person want to lie down constantly.
  • The slightest exertion can cause fatigue, and there may be anxiety or restlessness.

Bryonia Alba – For dry cough:

  • Bryonia is a natural medicine prepared especially from the root of a plant named Bryonia Alba, of the natural order Cucurbitaceae.
  • It is well-indicated to treat a dry cough in cases of Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • People needing bryonia have a dry, spasmodic cough.
  • A tickling sensation in the throat may be present along with a cough.
  • The cough may worsen after either eating or drinking.
  • Pain in the head and chest appear with a cough.
  • Apart from the above symptoms, dryness of the mouth and cracking of the lips may be present.
  • Joint pains that are worse from motion, on the other hand better by rest is another prominent attending symptom.

Sulphur – For dry, itching skin:

  • Sulphur is a natural remedy specifically for dry, itchy skin in Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • The itching may be either localized or widespread all over the body.
  • Intense itching is present, also scratching the skin causes a burning sensation.
  • The itchy spots may also become painful after scratching.
  • In some cases, bleeding appears upon scratching the skin.
  • The skin itching is most worse in the evening and night time, especially upon getting warm in the bed.
  • Along with the above symptoms, a stitching, prickling sensation on the skin may also appear.

Sepia – For vaginal dryness:

  • Sepia is an effective natural medicine especially for vaginal dryness in sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Furthermore, Women needing sepia may experience itching in the vagina along with dryness.
  • They also complain of painful coition (intercourse) from extreme dryness of the vagina. [5]

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?

This is an autoimmune disorder of unknown cause, characterised by lymphocytic infiltration of salivary and lacrimal glands, leading to glandular fibrosis and exocrine failure.

Homeopathic Medicines used by Homeopathic Doctors in treatment of Sjögren’s Syndrome?

  • Nux Moschata
  • Belladonna
  • Rhus Toxicodendron
  • Arsenic Album
  • Bryonia Alba
  • Sulphur

What triggers Sjogren’s Syndrome?

  • Age: older than 40.
  • Sex: Women
  • Rheumatic disease: either rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
  • HLA-B8/DR3

What are the symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome?

  • Eyes may be dry also feel sore, irritable
  • Mouth may be dry also you may get mouth ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • tummy pain, diarrhoea also constipation
  • Bladder irritation, soreness
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