Symptoms of Dryness

5 Tips for Dry and Brittle Nails

Posted on Fri, Aug 22, 2014

Brittle nails are characterized by hardness, peeling, crumbling, fissures, excess longitudinal ridges or lack of flexibility of the finger and toe nails. This sometimes causes pain and interferes with normal daily activities.

Many different dermatologic conditions including some autoimmune disorders, infections, dryness and certain medications can affect the nails.

Here are some tips to help:

  1. Keep the nails short. This prevents the nails from catching on things or acting as a lever and causing further damage.
  2. Protect the nails when performing wet work (like washing dishes) by using rubber gloves and cotton glove liners.
  3. Avoid excess contact with water or chemicals (including nail polish remover) which can cause dryness.
  4. Use moisturizer on your nails multiple times per day and reapply the moisturizer after your hands come in contact with water. You can use the same moisturizer used for your dry skin.
  5. Steer clear of cosmetic products such as artificial nails and nail wraps which can cause damage.

Talk to your Dermatologist:

Nails pic 2  * If your dermatologist approves, try a course of biotin for your have brittle nails.
  * If you're diagnosed with a fungal infection of your nails, your dermatologist can discuss a variety of treatment options which are available.

Are your Dry & Brittle Nails associated with Sjögren’s? Do you also have Dry Eyes, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more

The SSF thanks Adam I. Rubin, MD for authoring these tips. Dr. Rubin is Director of the Nail Practice & Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Perleman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Symptoms, Sjogren's, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Treatment, Dry Skin, Top 5 Tips, Dry Nails, Makeup Tips

Ask the Eye Doctor: Why do my dry eyes hurt in the morning?

Posted on Tue, Jul 22, 2014

Q) Why do dry eyes feel awful in the morning when I first wake up, especially if I don’t use an eye lubricant at night?

describe the image

A) There are certain conditions that can get worse during the night with the eye in a closed state. For example, if you have blepharitis, which is caused by a common skin bacteria called “staph epidermidis,” the waste products of the staph are very irritating. But with your eye closed that staph toxin is lying there all night. If I have a patient who wakes up with really irritated eyes, one of the first things I want to look at is untreated blepharitis.

Another possible cause is called “recurrent corneal erosion.” Think about pulling a scab off all the time. It starts to heal and you pull the scab off. If the surface of the eye gets irritated through dryness and adherence to the back of the lid, or through an injury, that tissue needs to heal. The good news is it heals very quickly. The bad news is it hurts a lot as I’m sure you’ve found. So it heals quickly but it doesn’t necessarily anchor itself. That thin, outer layer of the cornea doesn’t anchor itself to the eye very fast, so you run the risk of re- irritating your eye even after you are feeling better. And when you do that over-and-over, it is called “recurrent corneal erosion.” You are basically tearing off the outer layer of the front of your eye. Classic sign is you wake up, you open your eyes and it hurts. Using ointments at night helps. Using an antibiotic ointment would help if you have blepharitis as well because it would treat that and give your eye a little more coating.

Dry Eye Tip!
If you have severe dry eyes and trouble opening your eyes in the morning because your lid is sticking, try to keep your eyes closed when you wake up and use the heels of your hands to gently massage your lids. What this will do is break any of those adhesions that may be there and it stimulates a little tear production so that you can actually open up your eye safely. But if you wake up and open up your eyes right away, you run the risk of – ouch – pulling that adhesion off, again, like pulling a scab off of a wound.

-Stephen Cohen, OD from his talk on Dry Eye

Is your Dry Mouth associated with Sjögren’s- Do you also have Dry Eyes, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more.

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Treatment, Blepharitis

Top 10 Tips for Burning Mouth from Oral Candidiasis (Thrush)

Posted on Wed, May 28, 2014

Oral candidiasis, or thrush, is a common problem in dry mouth patients.

Thrush can cause oral burning and pain. The appearance of thrush in a dry mouth patient is often atypical and appears as red and irritated instead of the typical white cottage-cheesy. The tongue may show grooves, and the corners of the lips appear red and crusty (called angular cheilitis). Here are 10 tips that can help manage & treat oral thursh:

  1. Practice excellent oral hygiene and change your toothbrush frequently when oral candidiasis is active.

  2. Talk to your dentist or rheumatologist about taking Evoxac® (cevimilene) or Salagen® (pilocarpine) to increase salivary flow.

  3. Don’t use mouthwashes containing alcohol.

  4. Limit sugar and foods that contain yeast, such as wine, beer and bread. And increase your intake of acidophilus through unsweetened yogurts with live lactobacillus acidophilus or capsules.

  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, both of which can increase dryness.

  6. Sip water frequently and rinse after eating or drinking if you can’t brush.

  7. If you smoke, STOP!

  8. Clean dental prostheses every day with an anti-fungal preparation and avoid wearing them at night.

  9. Talk to your dentist about prescription therapies available to help with oral candidiasis. Sometimes a combination of treatments is necessary if the problem is severe.

  10. For maintenance once thrush is under control, discuss with your dentist frequent use of a magic mouthwash with diphenhydramine, nystatin and Maalox. A chlorhexidine gluconate rinse can also be helpful (and if you wear dentures, it’s good for cleaning those too).
Is your Dry Mouth & Thrush associated with Sjögren’s? Do you also have Dry Eyes, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more

Check the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation's Product Directory (free of charge to all SSF members) to see the many products available for dry mouth.

This information was taken from the SSF Patient Education Sheet: Oral Candidiasis (Thrush) authored by Nelson L. Rhodus, DMD, MPH, FICD. Dr. Rhodus is Professor and Director, Division of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry Adjunct Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Click Here to view the full SSF Patient Education Sheet: Oral Candidiasis (Thrush)

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Symptoms, Sjogren's, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Tooth Decay, Treatment, Saliva, Oral Candidiasis, Thrush, Burning mouth, coping with sjogren's, Chronic Pain

Vaginal Dryness & Genital Pain

Posted on Wed, Apr 16, 2014

Vaginal DrynessMaking sure you have a gynecologist who is in tune with what you are experiencing is of prime importance. Vaginal dryness can often be caused by aging, decreased hormone levels, and infection. These elements can also be a source of pain in the genital area and during intercourse. This is also a common problem for women with Sjögren’s syndrome. 

Assure that your doctor is checking for infection, particularly yeast. She/he should be sending a culture and looking at your vaginal swab under a microscope. Yeast infections can be difficult to treat and may require higher and more frequent doses of antifungal medication. Sometimes it is necessary to combine antifungals to eliminate the infection. If yeast and other infections are ruled out, your doctor should be looking for signs of inflammation to the tissues in the area and try to determine a reason for the inflammation.

There are numerous products available over the counter and via prescription to treat vaginal dryness. Your doctor may order a topical or intravaginal estrogen preparation. Vaginal moisturizers are available for daily use and lubricants are available for use during intercourse. Your approach to these products should be the same as finding the right artificial tear or saliva substitute – trial and error – keep trying products until you find one that works.

Sometimes your doctor may not be able to determine the source of your pain. If you are not obtaining relief from the above, you may need to see a vaginosis specialist or a gynecologist who specializes in pelvic pain problems.

The SSF carries a book titled The Vulvodynia Survival Guide that can be ordered on-line by clicking here or by calling the office at (301) 530-4420. 

This article written by Lynn M. Petruzzi, RN, MSN, published in the April 2012 Issue of The Moisture SeekersSSF members can click here to read the full issue on the members section of the website.

Is your Vaginal Dryness associated with Sjögren’s? Do you also have Dry Eyes, Dry Mouth, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Fatigue, Vaginal Dryness, Women's Genital Pain

The Importance of Saliva

Posted on Thu, Mar 13, 2014

A human being normally produces approximately 1.5 liters of saliva per day. There is a typical diurnal circadian rhythm in the production of that saliva with one peak in the mid-morning followed by a relative decrease until the second peak occurs around early evening.


Saliva flow normally is decreased at night. Saliva is produced by several glands: the submandibular glands (which lie bilaterally just under the posterior jaw) produce most of the quantity of saliva (45%) and it is a mixed fluid with both mucous (thick, stringy fluid) and water but containing most of the proteins; the paired parotid glands (which are in the mid-face just in front of the ears) produce primarily serous (or watery) fluid and accounts for about 35% of the total quantity; the sublingual glands (again in a pair just beneath the anterior tongue) are much smaller and contribute only about 10% of the total volume; and finally there are hundreds of small minor salivary glands in the lips, palate and throat which contribute a relatively small, but important portion of natural salivary flow.

The normal quantity of saliva naturally provides necessary oral lubrication and moisture to assure comfort and function for the individual, but saliva does much more than that. At least equally as important as this volume of saliva, if not more so, is the composition of saliva, which is rich in constituents which have potent digestive, coating, protective, antimicrobial, antiacid, lubricative and homeostatic properties. Saliva is much more than water. In fact, saliva contains approximately 60 important, protective constituents including: immunoglobulins,electrolytes, buffers, antimicrobial enzymes, digestive enzymes and many others, all of which make saliva an essential contributor to the health and homeostasis of the oral cavity. This is the reason that water or artificial salivas are a poor substitute; none of them have the rich composition of ones own natural saliva.

Is your Dry Mouth associated with Sjögren’s- Do you also have Dry Eyes, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more.

This is the first part of the article written by Nelson L. Rhodus. DMD, MPH, FICD, University of Minnesota, published in the March 2010 Issue of
The Moisture Seekers. SSF members can click here to read the full article on the members section of the website.

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Saliva

Natural Herbs & Spices That Alleviate Dry Eye Symptoms

Posted on Thu, Feb 20, 2014

spicesCould alleviating dry eye pain be as simple as spicing up your life a little bit? (No, don’t cue Victoria Beckham- we mean that in a literal sense!) There are plenty of natural herbs and spices that are full of dry eye fighting antioxidants. In fact, you might even find dry eye relief in your own spice cabinet! Intrigued yet? We thought so. Behold, some of the best natural herbs and spices to help prevent your peepers from drying out:


This wonder spice was a hit with our dry eye prone friends. Sometimes known as curcumin, turmeric is an asian spice that is protective against a number of diseases (including dry eye!). However, there’s a catch: tumeric is not always easily absorbed. Experiment with this natural anti-inflammatory anyway- it may help reduce oxidative stress. (P.S. One of our Facebook friends shared her go-to hot beverage for dry eyes a few months back. Try Janice’s recipe: Warm up some almond milk, sprinkle a tsp of turmeric, ½ tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp cloves. Finish with a dollop of raw honey. Whisk together and voila, an inventive {and delicious} way to incorporate turmeric into your diet!)


Paprika has an extremely high concentration of vitamin A, which is great for warding off dry eye symptoms. Other good news about paprika, it’s an extremely versatile ingredient- and just about everyone has it sitting in the spice cabinet. Try using paprika next time you cook. It’s awesome for boosting flavor- and nutrition! Get a dose of paprika by sprinkling it on potato salads, fish, chicken and eggs.


You may have already heard that bilberry, a shrub closely related to the blueberry, is great for overall eye health and retinal diseases like macular degeneration. Well, it’s also particularly beneficial for dry, itchy eyes. Extracts from the bilberry fruit help to improve blood circulation, oxygen supply and tear gland function. Additionally, bilberries contain vitamin P and citrin, both of which help to decrease swelling and inflammation in the body; a common dry eye trigger. Experiment with bilberry supplements or tea made from bilberry leaves. However, be careful not to over indulge. Ingest no more than 220 mg of bilberry per day.


Next time you’re tempted to rub those itchy, stinging eyes, try a spearmint eyewash instead. Simply boil about 10-12 leaves of spearmint in some water. Wait until the solution cools (at least 20 minutes!) and then use a clean face cloth to apply the wash to your eyes. Menthol, the active ingredient in mint, actually stimulates tear production and will leave your eyes feeling energized and refreshed. Plus, it smells amazing! Win-win.


Chamomile is known for its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes tired eyes and can help restore moisture. Another bonus? Drinking chamomile tea makes you feel sleepy and prepares you for rest, so it’s the perfect drink to sip on after a long day.

So, there you have it; options for natural dry eye relief. Of course, the above mentioned are merely a few of the wondrous herbs and spices that can alleviate dry eye pain.  Other potential dry eye fighters include thyme, fennel, marigold and calendula.


Is your Dry Mouth associated with Sjögren’s- Do you also have Dry Eyes, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more.


This article is a reprint from, which is sponsored by TearLab Corporation and first shown by the SSF in The Mositure Seekers Summer 2013.

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Joint Pain, Fatigue

Top 5 Tips for Dry Skin

Posted on Thu, Jan 16, 2014

Your dermatologist can be your best ally and may be able to give you samples of products
to try, but here are some basic dry skin survival tips that may help:

  1. Dry SkinUse gloves when you are using strong soaps or chemicals to clean. One way to get in the habit is to keep a pair of gloves in several areas, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, garage.
  2. Terry robes will dry you gently. Or after the shower, let yourself dry naturally since the moisture from the water will be absorbed by your skin.
  3. Use warm, not hot, water for bathing and use soap sparingly (shampoo might also be drying to the rest of your body in the shower). 
  4. After bathing, apply lotion as soon as possible to seal in moisture.
  5. Use a humidifier, especially if you have forced-heat which is especially drying. 
Is your Dry Skin associated with Sjögren’s? Do you also have Dry Eyes, Dry Mouth, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Symptoms, Sjogren's, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Dry Skin

Dry Mouth and Tooth Decay

Posted on Tue, Dec 10, 2013

describe the imageSince saliva plays such an important role in the oral cavity, decreased salivation can lead to many problems. If a person's dry mouth condition persists for months or years, a patient may develop oral complications such as difficulty swallowing, severe and progressive tooth decay, oral infections (particularly fungal), or combinations of these.

Early signs to look for that indicate dry mouth include: dental decay located at the necks of teeth next to the gums or on the chewing edges of teeth. Symptoms of dry mouth can include difficulty swallowing food (especially dry food) without a drink, a change in the sense of taste, a burning sensation or pain in the mouth, tooth decay, difficulty talking or eating certain foods, or some combination of these.

About Saliva
Saliva is an essential body fluid for protection and preservation of the oral cavity and oral functions. It is produced by the three pairs of major salivary glands and hundreds of minor salivary glands. Its value is seldom appreciated until there is not enough. Saliva is mostly water, but it also contains over 60 substances, which:

  • protect, lubricate and cleanse the oral mucosa
  • aid chewing, swallowing and talking
  • protect the teeth against decay
  • protect the mouth, teeth, and throat from infection by bacteria, yeasts, and viruses
  • support and facilitate our sense of taste 

Ask your dentist

  • how frequently you need to be checked for early decay.
  • for specific instructions regarding your oral hygiene.
  • about the possible need for home and/ or professionally-applied topical fluoride (in addition to the fluoride contained in your daily toothpaste). Topical fluoride gels usually require a personalized ‘tray’ for best delivery to your teeth. In some cases, a fluoride varnish may be applied by your dentist.
  • if you should use a remineralizing agent. 

Dry mouth causes include

  • prolonged use of many prescription drugs including certain antihistamines, antihypertensives, and antidepressants
  • chronic diseases such as Sjögren’s, sarcoidosis, hepatitis C, diabetes, or depression
  • medical treatments such as radiation therapy to the head and neck or bone marrow transplantation 
Is your Dry Mouth associated with Sjögren’s? Do you also have Dry Eyes, Joint Pain or Fatigue? Click here to learn more

Additional Dry Mouth Resources: 

Topics: Dry Mouth, Dry Eyes, Symptoms, Sjogren's, Joint Pain, Fatigue, Tooth Decay

Subscribe via E-mail

Latest Posts

Follow Me


Help support the SSF's 5-Year Breakthrough Goal initiatives by donating.