Sjogren's Syndrome

Background

Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks the tear and salivary glands, and generally results in widespread dryness in the body. In addition to dry eyes and mouth (called Sicca Syndrome), this can result in difficulty breathing and problems with digestive and bowel function. As with most autoimmune illnesses, it is much more common in women than men. Unfortunately, key and very treatable parts of the process are often being missed.

Over 4 million Americans who suffer with Sjogren's, or even simply dry eyes and mouth, are missing very simple treatments that are natural and could give them their life back.

To start, it is critical to understand that Sjogren's often occurs alongside other conditions such as fibromyalgia. If all of the symptoms are blamed on the Sjogren's, then other treatable causes may be missed.

If you also have widespread pain along with fatigue and insomnia, think fibromyalgia!

Over the years, I have treated many women who had fibromyalgia secondary to their Sjogren's, and like most cases of fibromyalgia, they do very well with treatment with my "S.H.I.N.E. Protocol," averaging 90% improvement in quality of life in our published research.

Although the Sjogren's certainly can cause pain and fatigue, if the pain is widespread and there is also insomnia present, I find that a secondary fibromyalgia is also usually present — and treating this can result in dramatic improvement.

Treatment

Standard medical treatment includes artificial tears and saliva, and in more severe cases immune blockers such as prednisone, Plaquenil, and even the cancer medication Methotrexate, along with Motrin family medications.

Dry eyes and mouth, called Sicca Syndrome, is common not only in Sjogren's but also in fibromyalgia and in common life. Although artificial tears and saliva are helpful, natural treatments can also help stimulate your natural lubrication. Below is the recipe that I recommend.

Just like oils act as lubricants in your car, they can also assist lubrication in your body. Three key oils are especially important for dry eyes:

Fish oil

Either a portion of salmon or tuna daily, or take fish oil supplements.

Sea Buckthorn oil 

This special oil from the berries of a cold weather shrub is a special essential fatty acid called an Omega 7 (along with other helpful oils). This remarkable and little-known nutrient is very helpful at improving lubrication throughout the body, including tears, saliva, bowel protection, and vaginal dryness.

Evening Primrose oil or borage oil

In one study combining this oil with vitamin B6 and C, 76% had improvement in dry eye symptoms.

Other treatments that are clinically helpful for dry eyes and mouth include:

B complex

50 mg vitamin plus 200 mg of magnesium 200 mg each day.  

Sugar-free lemon drops

Suck on sugar-free lemon drops or drink sugar-free lemonade (e.g., Stevia, Truvia or PureVia sweetened). Avoiding sugar is critical as saliva is a major protection against cavities, and sucking on sweets when you have dry mouth is a good way to suddenly turn up with a mouthful of holey teeth. Lemon stimulates saliva production.

Sugar-free chewing gum

Suck on sugar-free chewing gum. This actually helps protect against cavities, but most importantly stimulates bowel function (called peristalsis) which is problematically decreased in Sjogren's. In fact, a study many years ago showed that simply having patients chew gum when they wake up after bowel surgery (surgery puts the bowels to sleep) resulted in restoring bowel function more quickly, shaving several days off the average hospital stay.

Check for food allergies

Blood tests (anti-transglutaminase IgG and IgA levels) should be checked  for a genetic wheat allergy as this is positive in 14.7% of those with Sjogren's, compared to only 1% of the general population.

Treating the Pain and Fatigue

If the patient has widespread pain and fatigue in Sjogren's, there is a significant chance that they also have fibromyalgia.  Rheumatoid arthritis, unlike Sjogren's,  is usually associated with red hot swollen joints.

I have discussed earlier about treating fibromyalgia with S.H.I.N.E.. The combination of insomnia, fatigue, and widespread pain suggest that fibromyalgia is also present. If so, do the free CFS Symptom Analysis Program to determine what you need to do to get well.

Although arthritis medications such as ibuprofen are often used to treat the pain, I prefer natural remedies such as:

Curcumin

Over 1,000 studies show curcumin to be a very promising herb for pain relief.

Boswellia, cherry, and willow bark

These three herbs make an excellent herbal mix for reducing pain, including inflammatory and muscle pain. They can be found in a good herbal pain relief supplement.

Whether you have Sjogren's, simply have dry eyes or dry mouth, or the combination of these with fatigue, widespread pain and insomnia (fibromyalgia), know that effective treatment is often available – naturally!

More Information Online

Energy Analysis Program (free tool that helps you find the causes of your fatigue)

Treating Dry Eyes and Dry Mouth  

Contributor: 

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes. Dr. Teitelbaum is the author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Penguin), which has sold over half a million copies; Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill); Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press); the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! series (Fair Winds Press);  Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press); The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution (Penguin/Avery); and his latest, The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015).