Facts: Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that damages moisture-producing glands (glands producing tears and saliva) causing dry eyes and mouth, dry skin, as well as vaginal dryness. Dry eyes present with a burning, dry, gritty or itchy sensation in eyes. Eyes may look red and be sensitive to bright lights. Dry eyes are more prone to getting infected. Dry mouth may also involve difficulty swallowing and speaking. There may also be a change in taste or smell. Just like dry eyes dry mouth is prone to mouth infections and cavities. Oral thrush is common and includes tongue redness, burning and a white film in the mouth. Other symptoms include:
- Saliva-producing glands under your tongue, in front of your ears and near the jawline may become swollen and tender.
- Half of people with Sjögren’s have dry skin. The skin may only itch, or it may also become so dry that it cracks and splits and is, therefore prone to infection.
- Vaginal dryness is common in women with Sjögren’s syndrome. Painful intercourse is the most common complaint.