Sjogren's Syndrome Specialist

Valerius Medical Group & Research Center

Rheumatologists located in Los Alamitos, CA

If you’ve never suffered from chronic dry eyes, you can’t understand the burning, itching, and pain it can cause. At Valerius Medical Group & Research Center, the rheumatologists have vast experience with treating autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome, and can help reduce your symptoms -- even those bothersome dry eyes. Located in Los Alamitos Long Beach, CA, Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal, MD, are currently accepting new patients. Call to schedule your initial consultation or book your appointment online today.

Sjogren's Syndrome Q & A

What is Sjogren’s syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is a condition resulting in dry eyes and dry mouth. It’s often associated with other autoimmune diseases.

As an immune system disorder, Sjogren’s syndrome attacks your membranes first, impacting the glands that produce moisture in your eyes and mouth. It causes your eyes to burn or itch and they may even feel as though there’s sand in them. Dry mouth can become so severe that it may be difficult to swallow or speak.

Beyond dry mouth and eyes, you may experience other symptoms with Sjogren’s syndrome, including:

  • Pain, swelling, or stiffness in the joints
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Dry skin and rashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue

What causes Sjogren’s syndrome?

Like most autoimmune diseases, the cause of Sjogren’s syndrome is unknown. What’s known is that with Sjogren’s syndrome, your immune system first attacks the moisture-secreting glands responsible for saliva and tears.

When left untreated, the condition continues attacking the body, damaging your:

  • Joints
  • Thyroid
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Nerves

Although the cause of the syndrome is unknown, certain risk factors have been identified. People over the age of 40 are more likely to develop the disorder, as are women. Those with other autoimmune disorders, particularly rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are also at greater risk.

How is Sjogren’s syndrome treated?

Your rheumatologist individualizes your treatment depending on where Sjogren’s syndrome affects you. For dry eyes, they may recommend using over-the-counter eyedrops or a nighttime moisturizing ointment. For chronic dry mouth, increasing water consumption can help.

Sometimes Dr. Nathaniel or Dr. Rebekah may recommend prescription medication, including those that address:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Saliva production
  • Arthritis symptoms
  • Immune system suppression

If your case is severe, your physician at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center may recommend tear duct surgery.

When chronic dry eyes and dry mouth are interfering with your daily activities, contact a rheumatologist who has experience with treating Sjogren’s syndrome. Call the office to schedule your appointment with Dr. Nathaniel or Dr. Rebekah, or book it easily online today.