Sjogren’s syndrome is an immune system disorder identified by two of the most common symptoms, including dry eyes and a dry mouth. This disorder may also accompany other immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Decreased tears and saliva are typically the first signs of the disorder because the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes are usually affected first. You can develop Sjogren’s syndrome at any age, but most people are over 40 years old when they are diagnosed. Women are more common to get the disease.
Because Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, your immune system attacks your body’s own cells and tissues. Certain genes may make people more susceptible to developing the disorder, but a trigger such as an infection with a particular strain is also necessary. Risk factors include age, sex, and rheumatic disease.
- Dry mouth, or the feeling that you have cotton in your mouth, is a symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome. Your eyes may also burn or feel itchy or sandy.
- Besides dry eye and dry mouth, some of the common symptoms include:
- Joint pain, stiffness or swelling
- Swollen salivary glands, especially the set located behind your jaw and in front of your ears
- Skin rashes, dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
- A persistent dry cough
Complications of Sjogren’s syndrome typically include your eyes and your mouth. You may be prone to developing dental cavities because of dry mouth. You may also develop oral thrush, which is a yeast infection in your mouth. Finally, vision problems are a complication, as dry eyes may lead to blurred vision, corneal damage or sensitivity to light.
Medical Marijuana and Sjogren’s Syndrome
Research suggests that CBD-enriched extracts can help treat the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome. Topical ointments such as cannabis-infused cream and CBD oil are helpful in reducing musculoskeletal pain. The Sjogren’s Syndrome foundation notes that medical cannabis is also effective in reducing musculoskeletal pain that is caused by lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s.