A recent Article from Frankfurt am Main , Germany
Sjögren syndrome is also referred to as rheumatism of the mucous membranes. The rare disease mainly affects women between the ages of 30 and 50.
Learning. Read more about the symptoms, causes, therapy and prevention of Sjögren's syndrome.
Editors Note (Please note the medication named in this article refers to medication available in Germany and may have different names in the UK or may not be available in the UK) Consult your doctor in respect of all prescribed medication.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an inflammatory rheumatic disease, an autoimmune disease.
It is slowly progressing chronically and can not be cured.
The Sjögren syndrome mainly affects women between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It causes dehydration in the eyes, in the mouth, in the nose and in the genital area. This causes inflammation in the lacrimal and salivary glands as well as in the glands of the mucous membranes.
Stress and congestion can activate the disease or aggravate the symptoms.
In about 30 percent of the Sjögren syndrome develops in connection with an existing autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus or multiple sclerosis.
Typical symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are dehydration of the mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth, nose and genital area. Complaints such as dry eyes, conjunctivitis, periodontitis, dysphagia or pain during sexual intercourse can be the result.
The disease can also lead to gastrointestinal disorders, muscle and joint pain and polyarthritis (inflammation of multiple joints).
The severity of symptoms depends on how much the glands are destroyed and how much their function is impaired.
Common symptoms at a glance
Dry, itchy eyes (sicca symptom), low tears, conjunctivitis, eye burning
Dry mouth, tooth decay, periodontitis, difficulty swallowing
Dryness in the nose, scabbing
Dry vagina, pain during intercourse
Fungal infections, eg. B. in the mouth and genital area
Gastrointestinal disorders such as chronic gastritis
Nervous disorders with emotional and physical restriction
Fever, fatigue, depressive mood
In addition to these symptoms sufferers often suffer from circulatory disorders of the fingers. The disease is referred to by physicians as the Raynaud phenomenon (Raynaud syndrome or Tricolore phenomenon). The complaints follow a typical coloring, namely the tricolor of the French flag.
Stage I: Sudden fading of the fingers, especially of the fingers (pale, white skin color)
Stage II: Blueness of affected fingers due to lack of oxygen
Stage III: Reddening of the fingers by the following multi-perfusion.
This circulatory disorder is described as very painful. It can be triggered by cold stimulation on the hands. Rarely are the feet affected. Then there are diffuse feelings in the foot area.
The cause of Sjögren syndrome is unknown. Hormonal factors and genetic predisposition as well as environmental influences are linked to the disease. Responsible for the symptoms of Sjögren syndrome is a malfunctioning immune response of the body. It causes lymphocytes (defense cells of the immune system) to invade mucous glands, form autoantibodies (ie antibodies against the body's own structures) and displace healthy tissue. This leads to reduced secretion production and as a result to inflammation of glands, mucous membranes, joints and organs.
The diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome is usually confirmed by a blood test. Typical laboratory results are:
increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate
increased immunoglobulin concentration
Reduction of white and red blood cells and platelets
Antibodies, e.g. B. Ro and LA antibodies
increased rheumatoid factors.
The diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome is usually confirmed by microscopic examination of mucosal tissue of the lower lip (lower lip biopsy). These methods are complemented by imaging techniques such as the gait of the parotid gland (sialography) and the so-called Schirmer test (measurement of tear quantity). Frequently a scintigraphy (nuclear diagnostics with radioactive material) is also used. With this examination, the doctor can determine exactly how much saliva is formed and how far the inflammation has progressed.
The Sjögren syndrome itself is not treatable.
Medical therapy aims to alleviate the symptoms and prevent inflammation. For this purpose, the following drugs are often used.
Tear fluid replacement with film formers such as hypromellose
Regulation of salivary secretion: pilocarpine
Cortisone anti-inflammatory drugs such as betamethasone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, prednisone or triamcinolone Immunosuppressants to reduce the immune system such as azathioprine or cyclosporine.
Homeopathy and Acupuncture
Many patients with Sjögres syndrome report that acupuncture and and Homeopathy relieves the symptoms.
However, scientific confirmation of these reports is still pending.
Self-help self-help in Sjögren's syndrome is mainly concerned with treating the symptoms or comorbidities well. In case of inflammation you should see the doctor immediately. In addition, the following recommendations help:
The right care for the mucous membranes is important. This is how you can achieve relief with regular moisturizing: For the eyes you will be able to provide daily drops of special eye drops, a kind of artificial tears.
Drink at least two liters per day, moisten or moisten the oral mucosa again and again with liquid. Chew sugar-free chewing gum to keep saliva production running. Use erosion or saline nasal sprays that moisturize the nasal mucosa . Nasal oils are also recommended.
Humidify room air well, avoid drafts. Air conditioners and overheated rooms. In drafts, glasses help protect eyes from additional dehydration.
Close consciously and frequently your eyelids. This distributes the existing tear fluid and reduces the risk of dehydration.
If the vagina is dry, use vaginal gel or an estrogen-containing ointment.
Mouthwashes with cooking oil often reduce the unpleasant feeling of dryness, in addition to thorough oral care, brush your teeth after every meal, rinse with mouthwash, possibly a spray with artificial saliva can help.
Frankfurt am Main