According to the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, Sjögren's syndrome (pronounced "SHOW-grins") is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which a person's white blood cells attack the body's own moisture producing glands. As of 2014, 4,000,000 Americans are estimated to suffer from Sjögren's syndrome, according to the University of Utah.
The Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation lists a host of side effects caused by the disease. Possible complications include impaired cognitive function, dry mouth, difficulty speaking and eating, difficulty swallowing, stomach upset and heartburn, dry skin, dry nose and nosebleeds, arthritis and muscle pain, numbness and tingling in the extremities, abnormal liver function, and lung complications. Women with the disorder also experience vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. The incidence of infection is increased in any of the above mentioned areas, leading to chronic bronchial infection, dental infections and decay, eye infections, autoimmune hepatitis and autoimmune pancreatitis.
As of 2014, there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, but there are a number of treatment options to deal with the symptoms of the syndrome, according to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation. Over the counter pain medications and lubricants (such as eye drops) offer some help. A physician can prescribe more robust medications for pain, dry mouth and dry eyes. Some patients receive immunosupressive medications to treat problems with their internal organs. Consulting a physician is crucial to managing Sjögren's syndrome.