Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sjogren's Helpers

Every chronic disease comes with its own shelf of products to make your life 'easier'.  With Sjogren's Syndrome you have many parts of the body with symptoms that you have to deal with.


There are many strategies that you hear of to help your symptoms in one way of another, very little that helps overall.  I looked around my house and found many standbyes and possibilities.

Salagen (pilocarpine) would be the winner if there was one prescription drug I would not give up. When I don't take it my mouth and throat get unbearably dry and I cough and choke when I swallow. My voice even becomes faint.

You can have a mouthwash made with the active ingredient (pilocarpine) I found it very bitter.

There are also many artificial saliva products available like MoiStir for one. Biotene makes a special dry mouth tooth paste and mouth wash, as well as my stand-by product Oral Balance.

The dental hygienist I see suggested a little olive oil for mouth dryness and a support group member suggested oregano oil. The benefits of using MI Paste and a night guard can be found here.  As you can see Oral Balance and MI Paste get a lot of use in my house. 

I keep the tubes sitting around for a while in case I run out and need to try to get one last bit out of them. Oral Balance is a product I use every night before I go to bed. I hate to wake up and have a dry mouth. It's a gel you put between your teeth and gums before bed.

And this is a product used by singers, one of those tried and true ideas based on a natural product.

In the category of dry eyes some use a personal humidifier at their bedside.  I bought a pair of these goggles called Tranquil Eyes through the Sjogren's Society of Canada and so far used them only on a plane.

I hear that they are also great for sleeping. The spongy part that touches your eyelid can be moistened for extra sleeping comfort. 

Blepharitis is often part of the dry eye equation. I have tried these items to help.  The Blephagel was suggested by my opthalmologist.

And don't forget the nose. I have found the saline spray the most helpful item so far.  I have not wanted to use a neti pot or a nasal rinse but I would if things got worse.

When my nose gets so dry I can feel it in the sinuses and that's when I use saline spray. I find the NeilMed easiest to handle.  It probably works best if you use it every day but it's easy to get tired of working so hard to stay in the same place.  That's what happens when you treat the symptoms and not the underlying causes. A lot of work and no apparent progress, though not getting worse is what we all hope for.

This is far from a complete listing of products and is not meant to be a commercial for items. They were all here in my house even though I use some very infrequently.

For additional information there are tips at Sjogren's Society of Canada, and also at Dr Robert Fox's helpful and comprehensive site called dry .org. That was one of the first resources I used.

It's also a great benefit to attend the Annual Conference of the Sjogren's Society of Canada. The speakers are all at the top in their fields, and there is an hour set aside to give patients in the audience a chance to ask speakers and other volunteer health professionals questions of their own.

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