Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can Sjogren's Syndrome lead to dryness in places other than my mouth and eyes?"
I am 33 and have dry mouths and eyes but now its a lot other places also. Why?
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune condition that involves the body mounting attacks on glands that produce lubricating secretions, mostly inside body cavities. As these glands are attacked, the production of the secretions tapers off, producing dryness of the surfaces previously lubricated by the glands. Classically Sjogren's syndrome affects the eyes and the mouth, reducing tears and saliva. This can cause many complications, including that it may predispose you to infections or damage to the surface of the eye, dental infections, fungal infections of the mouth. This dryness can be also very uncomfortable, although it can usually be managed with artificial tears and artificial saliva. Less common, but also possible, is similar involvement of other body areas. For example, in women vaginal dryness and discomfort may be a problem. Similarly dysfunction of mucus glands in the lungs and airways may cause a chronic cough and predispose to lung infections, chronic sinus problems, and the like. If you are having difficulty with symptoms of dryness in these other areas, then I suggest talking to your rheumatologist, or whichever doctor is managing your Sjogren's treatment. They should be able to suggest some ways to treat these symptoms and prevent complications.
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