Chances are you’ve never heard of Sjögren’s syndrome before. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that typically causes dry eyes and dry mouth. While the disorder itself is manageable without treatment, it can lead to a number of inconvenient and even dangerous side effects.
HealthFirst is a leader in functional and alternative medicine. Our expert team, led by Dr. Jonathan W. Singer, provides innovative treatment options for those suffering from an autoimmune disorder. We’re here to walk you through how changing your diet can help if you have Sjögren’s syndrome.
Understanding Sjögren’s syndrome
Like any other autoimmune disorder, Sjögren’s syndrome occurs when your immune system attacks part of your body by mistake. If you have Sjögren’s syndrome, your immune system attacks the glands that produce tears and saliva.
This causes chronic dry eyes and dry mouth. In some cases, Sjögren’s syndrome can also affect other parts of your body that require moisture, such as your skin, nose, throat, lungs, kidneys, or digestive organs.
Causes of Sjögren’s syndrome
We don’t yet know the cause of Sjögren’s syndrome. Scientists believe there’s a genetic component that increases your risk of developing the disorder, as well as a triggering mechanism in the form of a venereal or bacterial infection. The disorder is common among patients 40 and over, and women seem to experience the disorder more often than men.
Patients with the syndrome also commonly suffer from rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
How your diet can help
There’s no known cure for Sjögren’s syndrome. When looking at the disorder, we help manage the symptoms to minimize the discomfort caused by dryness. There are a number of foods we recommend you consume and others you need to avoid.
For dry eyes, adding flaxseed oil and Vitamin D supplements to your diet seems to have positive results in our patients. Applying eye drops regularly is also helpful.
For a dry mouth, you should drink plenty of fluids. You can suck on sugar-free lozenges to promote saliva production.
To facilitate eating food, you should make sure your food has moisture such as sauce or dressing that will make it easier to swallow. Make sure to have a drink alongside every meal. Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and low in saturated fats and sugar.
You should avoid certain spicy or acidic foods that can irritate your mouth. You should also avoid drinking alcohol.
We suggest you have a food diary to keep a record of food that causes a negative reaction or worsens symptoms.
You can help minimize your Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms with over-the-counter medication, as well as using the right toothpaste, gum, and mouthwash. It’s important to maintain good dental hygiene because a dry mouth increases your risk of developing cavities.
When you visit one of our offices in Greenwood Village, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, we can recommend prescription medication and other treatments to help you manage your symptoms. To schedule an appointment, call HealthFirst or book online today.