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Self-Care for Sjögren's Syndrome

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Skin

  • Use moisturizing skin creams or ointments throughout the day.
  • Shower instead of taking a bath. Use only moisturizing soaps.
  • After showering, pat off excess water, leaving the skin moist. Then, replenish the moisture in your skin by applying a skin cream or ointment.
  • Your skin may be extra sensitive to the sun. Avoid the midday sun, from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cover your skin when you are outside—for example, wear long pants and long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats—and use SPF 30 or stronger sunscreen. Many experts recommend using sunscreen with SPF 50. For more information, see the Prevention section of the topic Sunburn.

Respiratory tract

  • Place a humidifier (and an air purifier, if you feel it helps) in your home and at work to increase your comfort.
  • Use nasal spray made of water and salt (saline) to help a dry nose or nasal congestion.

Vagina

It is common for women with Sjögren's syndrome to experience vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.

Vaginal moisturizing products help to replenish natural moisture and relieve discomfort. These products include:

  • Replens, a nonhormonal vaginal moisturizer that lasts for hours or even days.
  • K-Y Silk-e.
  • Vagisil Personal Moisturizer.

Vaginal lubricants can make intercourse more comfortable for you by relieving the friction you might experience if you have vaginal dryness. But vaginal lubricants do not add moisture to the vagina and are not useful for everyday moisturizing. Look for a water-based lubricant instead of an oil-based lubricant, which can interfere with the vagina's natural cleansing process. Vaginal lubricants include:

  • Astroglide.
  • Wet Lubricant Gel.
  • K-Y Jelly.
  • Maxilube.
  • Surgilube.

Stomach

  • Take a nonprescription antacid or acid reducer, such as Pepcid or Zantac, when needed, to reduce heartburn.
  • Raise the head of your bed 6 inches to reduce the backflow (reflux) of stomach acid into your esophagus when you sleep.
  • See your doctor if you have heartburn or reflux that does not respond to self-care.

Energy (reducing fatigue)

  • Listen to your body. Alternate rest with exercise. Gradually doing more exercise may help lower your fatigue.
  • Limit medicines that might make you feel sleepy, such as those used to treat anxiety, colds, or pain. But do not stop or change your medicine usage before talking with your doctor.
  • Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. Improving your diet may increase your energy level.
  • Reduce your use of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, which tend to contribute to fatigue.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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