I'm sorry that it took me so long to respond to Sjogren's Newbie's questions after I was asked a few times. My excuse for being so delinquent in my answer is.....um.....that....um......I HAD TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY. Wah! Wah wah!
You say that my surgery was over a month ago and that I should just get over myself?
Busted. It's true. See how AWESOME my knee scar looks?
Her questions are difficult ones to answer. Perhaps that's the real reason that I've not attempted to answer them before today. I'll give it a shot but please chime in if you have additional information:
Sjogrens Newbie said...
Any thoughts on a tie between auto immune diseases and birth control pills? Or the possibility of getting Sjogrens after changing birth control pills?
Also any tips for someone with Sjogrens who because of their anxiety can not sleep. I'm struggling. How can I get the amount of sleep/rest someone with an auto immune disease requires if my anxiety won't let me nod off. It's like my body is afraid that if I fall asleep I'll die - so it wakes me up with a fright every time I get close to drifting off. Dr has put me on Zoloft but I've only been on it for a few days so far. What do I do?
Regarding Sjogren's and birth control pills?
Here's the long answer:
Relationship between hormones and autoimmune disease is complex and like almost everything related to causative factors in Sjogren's syndrome, needs more study. Most researchers agree that sex hormones affect our immune system but there is much more to be learned. The different sex hormones each have demonstrably different effects on autoimmune cells, read this and this.
I couldn't find much recent information that looked at the use of birth control pills and Sjogren's specifically, however I could for a few other autoimmune diseases. For Lupus patients, recent studies seem to be conflicting with older ones, specifically those that study the effects of OCs and flares of Lupus (another autoimmune disease) activity. It was previously thought that Lupus patients should never be prescribed oral contraceptives to avoid increased autoimmune disease activity, more recently after new studies were reviewed, stable Lupus patients who meet certain strict criteria may use OC safely according to Michelle Petri, MD, a rheumatologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland and Jill P. Buyon, MD, a rheumatologist at the New York Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City.
There is some evidence that the use of oral contraceptives and menopausal hormone therapy may increase the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Read this.
Here's the short answer:
Maybe. Maybe not. More research is needed. Yes. This is a very unsatisfying answer, I would agree.
Regarding anxiety and sleep and Sjogren's?
A recent diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome can indeed cause sleep reducing anxiety. I recall many sleepless nights early on after I learned of my autoimmune disease. But take heart and take time to breathe. Just breathe. You and your doctor will find your way through this. It appears that you must have confided in your doctor regarding your anxiety since she/he prescribed Zoloft (sertraline hcl) for you. This information about Zoloft was found on WebMD:
This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. (Bolding mine)While the effects of this medication can be very helpful, one needs to have some patience after beginning to take it since it may take from two to six weeks before you may feel it's effects. So hang in there. And be sure to remain in contact with your physician if you feel as though this medication isn't right for you.
In the meantime, please know that you're not alone. Visit Sjogren's World Forums to post your questions and connect with hundreds of other folks dealing with Sjogren's. It's a great way to find support and answers. My user name there is Annj5, so if you see me, say hi!
When you read Reasonably Well from a non-mobile device, you will see a left sidebar that has links to many other resources for Sjogren's patients. Take a look.