The most commonly reported symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are a dry mouth and dry eyes, both of which can lead to other associated symptoms.
However, these symptoms can be common in old age and most people with dry eyes or mouth do not have Sjogren’s syndrome.
Many women also experience dryness of the vagina, which can make sexual intercourse painful.
Associated symptoms of dry mouth include:
- tooth decay, leading to an increased risk of tooth loss
- dry cough
- difficulty swallowing and chewing
- hoarse voice
- difficulty speaking
- swollen salivary glands (located between your jaw and your ears)
- repeated fungal infections of your mouth (oral thrush), symptoms of which can include coated or white tongue
Associated symptoms of dry eyes include:
- a burning or stinging sensation in your eyes
- itchy eyes
- a feeling that there is a piece of sand or gravel in your eyes
- irritated and swollen eyelids
- sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- tired eyes
- a discharge of mucus from your eyes
Symptoms can become worse when you are in a windy or smoky environment. Air-conditioned buildings and travelling on aeroplanes can also make symptoms worse.
In more serious cases of Sjogren’s syndrome, the immune system can attack other parts of the body as well as the tear, saliva and vaginal glands, causing a wide range of symptoms and conditions such as:
- dry skin
- tiredness and fatigue, which are common features and can amount to total exhaustion in some cases
- muscle pain
- joint pain, stiffness and swelling
- vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels)
- difficulty concentrating, remembering and reasoning
It is not known exactly what causes Sjogren’s syndrome, but it is thought to be linked to a problem with the immune system. The immune system is designed to recognise any foreign object that presents a threat to the body, such as a virus or bacterium, and to attack it with special chemicals known as antibodies (produced by white blood cells).
In Sjogren’s syndrome, the immune system mistakes healthy tissue for a foreign body and attacks it with antibodies. The parts of the body usually affected are the tear, saliva and vaginal glands, which are collectively known as the exocrine glands.
The antibodies damage the exocrine glands so that they can no longer function normally. There is also some evidence that the immune system damages the nerves that control these glands, further reducing their effectiveness.
The immune system can go on to damage other parts of the body such as muscles, joints, blood vessels, nerves and (less commonly) organs.
Primary Sjogren’s syndrome: Most researchers believe that primary Sjogren’s syndrome is triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Certain people are born with specific genes that make them more vulnerable to a faulty immune system. Then many years later, an environmental factor, possibly a common virus, triggers the immune system to stop working properly.
The female hormone oestrogen seems to play an important role as well. Sjogren’s syndrome mostly occurs in women, and symptoms usually start around the time of the menopause, when levels of oestrogen begin to fall. Falling oestrogen levels can contribute to dryness and it may be that this worsening of dryness makes the condition more noticeable.
Secondary Sjogren’s Syndrome:
Sjogren’s syndrome can occur later in the course of other auto-immune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. This is known as secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.
If you have one of these other conditions, you will already be under the care of a licensed health practitioner, who will diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome if you start experiencing eye and mouth dryness.
If you suffer from Sjogren’s, you should avoid spicy foods or foods that are particularly acidic. It is also advisable to avoid alcohol. A vegan, raw diet is often recommended.
It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so try to adhere to the following
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef. www.grasslandbeef.com/StoreFront.bok?affld=104400 The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
The raw food diet is a food plan that can have great benefits. After a few months of following our recommended whole foods diet, one can then transition into a high level raw or 100% raw food diet, as desired. This diet is composed of raw and live foods only, and includes a wide selection of raw fruits, vegetables, soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds and sea vegetables, in a wide variety of creative combinations. If choosing a raw food plan, we highly recommend daily consumption of fresh green juices, made from an array of green vegetables, such as celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrot, kale, parsley, with an ever rotating seasonal selection of other organic veggies. Daily salad meals, dehydrated flax crackers, seed and nut pates, blended soups, smoothies and marinated vegetable salads, often mixed with soaked sea vegetables are the base for the raw diet. Since little to no cooked food is consumed, a raw diet has the advantage of instant elimination of many common allergens. No cooked wheat, wheat byproducts or grains (generally) are consumed, and very little, if any, dairy products. Raw foodists may include small quantities of dairy, typically as cultured raw goat or sheep’s milk yogurt or kefir, usually homemade (these products can occasionally be found online or from local sources).
Raw food generates rapid results because of its ability to thoroughly detoxify and liberate your body’s previously untapped energy. Dr. Gabriel Cousins, at the Tree of Life Center in Patagonia Arizona, endorses the raw food plan as the ultimate healing diet, and offers delicious 100% raw food meals at both the café and all of the healing retreats he offers.
We recommend the raw food diet for long term cleansing and detoxification. Eating primarily raw food for three to twelve months can be an incredible experience to help increase energy, detoxify your body, support you in letting go of long time food addictions, and throughout your diet you will naturally be a major sponsor for organic produce. Most of us eat a variety of addictive foods, from sugar to pasta. The addictive nature of these foods is often overlooked, even in the healthiest of food plans. When eating raw, these items are automatically eliminated, hence freeing up energy the body can use to heal.
What is important to note when choosing a raw food diet is the issue of trade-offs. You might miss cooked foods, though you will not miss your disease, and more times than not the raw food diet is an incredible tool that can be used to help shift serious health challenges into greater health and well being.
The following supplements are particularly useful:
- Evening Primrose
- Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids
We also recommend:
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day http:// for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here http://kevintrudeaudailylifesessentials.com/
- Take an Omega 3 supplement:
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually dis-ease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
- Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
- . Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here (link) or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
Tennis star Venus Williams and Sjogren’s syndrome:alternativendhealth.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/venus-williams-quits-because-of-sjogrens-syndrome-more-than-dry-eyes/
The Sjogren’s Foundation: www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens-syndrome/living-with-sjogrens/diet-a-food-tips
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ancient Healingwww.naturalcures.com/healthblog/traditional_chinese_ancient_healing.php
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Mother Nature’s Natural Germ Fighters naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/03/mother-natures-natural-germ-fighters/
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong(from August 2012 newsletter)
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT (June 2012 newsletter)
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress (Oct 2012 newsletter)
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout (Oct 2012 newsletter)
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effectivewww.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
Home remedies for Sjogren’s: www.ehow.com/video_4951285_chinese-remedies-sjogrens-syndrome.html
EFT for treating disease www.garythink.com/eft/physicial.html
Green tea benefits Sjogren’s: www.naturalnews.com/024983_diabetes_tea_health.html
Evening Primrose Oil: the cure-all:www.naturalnews.com/036177_evening_primrose_oil_nutrition_healthy_oils.html
Chlorella and spirulina: www.naturalnews.com/SpecialReports/Superfoods.pdf
Further Information (links and books)
Positive Options for Sjogren’s Syndrome: Self-Help and Treatment (Positive Options for Health) by Sue Dyson; The Sjogren’s Book by Daniel J. Wallace MD; Body out of Balance: Understanding and Treating Sjogrens Syndrome: Understanding the Treating Sjogren’s Syndrome by Ruth Fremes and Nancy Carterton
Natural Alternatives to Antibiotics by John McKenna
by Bernie S Siegel
The Healing Power of Nature Foods: 50 Revitalizing Superfoods & Lifestyle Choices To Promote Vibrant Health by Susan Smith Jones
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food … A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies) by Phyllis Balch
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
Colloidal Silver: The Natural Antibiotic Alternative by Zane Baranowski
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
1,000 Indian Recipes (1,000 Recipes) by Neelam Batra;
Food–Your Miracle Medicine by Jean Carper