Tips for moisturizing intimate areas:

  • Use vaginal moisturizers and lubricants.
  • Avoid scented body washes or bubble baths that can irritate the inside of the vagina.
  • Prolong foreplay so that your vagina has more time for natural lubrication.

Joints

Sjögren's syndrome may be associated with joint pain and inflammation itself or it may accompany an inflammatory form of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Treatment: Treatment for joint inflammation typically consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as iburopfen (Motrin) or naproxen (Anaprox, Aleve). For more severe inflammation, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid medication such as prednisone, which mimics natural substances that control immune response, or a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), methotrexate (Rheumatrex) or leflunomide (Arava) to actually inhibit the body’s immune response.

Tips for treating painful joints:

  • Apply heat or cold (or alternate the two) to painful joints with warm washcloths or a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel.
  • Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about exercises to keep joints mobile, relieve stiffness and improve range of motion.
  • Rest painful or swollen joints – use assistive devices to spare joints that are inflamed.

Lungs

In some people with Sjögren's syndrome, a bout with the flu or sinus infection can leave dried mucus that obstructs the upper airways, causing a dry cough and potentially leading to pneumonia.

Sometimes the inflammatory process of Sjögren's affects the walls of tiny balloon-like airs sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, where oxygen is added to your blood and the waste product carbon dioxide is removed. This inflammation can cause the interstitium, the tissue that lines and supports the sacs, to thicken and scar – a problem known as interstitial pneumonitis or interstitial lung disease. This thickening makes it more difficult for oxygen to enter bloodstream, causing shortness of breath. Interstitial pneumonitis may not show up on a routine chest X-ray. If your doctor suspects this problem, she may order a high-resolution CT scan to look for inflammation.

Treatment: Staying well hydrated after an upper respiratory infection may help prevent the development of pneumonia as may sinus lavage, a procedure that uses salt water to remove mucus and debris from the nasal passages and sinuses.  While scarring of the lungs cannot be reversed, medical treatment may help prevent it from progressing. Treatment may consist of a combination of medications, including corticosteroids; DMARDs such as azathioprine (Imuran) or cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan); the mucus-thinning medication acetylcysteine; and anti-fibrotics (anti-scarring) medications such as bosentan (Tracleer) and pirfenidone. Oxygen therapy may make breathing less difficult. Pulmonary rehabilitation may help you live better by teaching you exercised to improve breathing and how to breathe more efficiently.

Tips for managing an upper respiratory infection:

  • If you are sick with an upper respiratory infection, drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer in your room.
  • Use a salt-water solution to relieve nasal congestion.