Your doctor will help relieve your symptoms, especially dryness.
Treatment is different for each person, depending on what parts of the body are affected. The autoimmune response that causes dryness can cause inflammation throughout the body. You may also may have:
- skin, lung, kidney, and nerve problems
- disorders of the digestive system and connective tissue
If you have extraglandular involvement, your doctor will also treat these problems. Drug options may include:
- NSAIDs for joint pain or muscle pain
- saliva and mucus stimulating drugs for nose and throat dryness
- corticosteroids or DMARDs (immunosuppressants) for lung, kidney, blood vessel, or nervous system problems
Hoarseness can develop if your vocal cords become inflamed as part of the disease or become irritated from throat dryness or coughing. To prevent further strain on your vocal cords, try not to clear your throat before speaking. Instead, take a sip of water, chew gum, or suck on candy. Or else make an "h" sound, hum, or laugh to gently bring the vocal cords together so you can get sound out. Clearing your throat does the same thing, but it is hard on the vocal cords, and you want to avoid irritating them further.
Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse are common. Vaginal moisturizers help retain moisture. Water-soluble vaginal lubricants can make intercourse more comfortable. Regular skin products can relieve dry skin on the outer surface of the vagina.