Sjogren’s syndrome affects more than 4,000,000 Americans making it one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases. Almost ninety percent of people affected by Sjogren’s are women. The most common symptoms associated with Sjogren’s syndrome are dry mouth and eyes, joint pain, and fatigue. Other organs like the kidneys, liver, and lungs can also be affected.

Sjogren’s syndrome can affect all aspects of life, even when it comes to relationships. As if the dating world wasn’t complicated enough, adding a chronic illness to the mix can make things even more challenging.

Challenge #1: Fatigue. While not everyone with Sjogren’s experiences fatigue, more often than not this symptom rears its ugly head. In relationships, constantly telling your partner “I’m tired” or “maybe tomorrow” when it comes to certain activities can sometimes cause issues. Not everyone understands the special brand of fatigue associated with Sjogren’s and may see it as a cop-out.

Challenge #2: Dry eyes and mouth. Some people opt to carry a water bottle at all times to help with dry mouth, which can be a nuisance at times. Sjogren’s sufferers sometimes also experience swelling of eyelids and salivary glands in the cheeks. This can give off a look of being stressed or tired and prompt a number of questions from a loved one-i.e. “Why are you so stressed?” “Relax” “Did you get enough sleep?” All of those inquiries and assumptions can cause tension in a relationship.

Challenge #3: Personal Life. Some people with Sjogren’s syndrome are disabled from the disease and unable to work. Questions about career may come up while on a date that can be uncomfortable and hard to answer for those with Sjogren’s.

While it’s clear that Sjogren’s syndrome can present challenges when it comes to dating, new options may be available. If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, studies are enrolling now that could help. Qualified participants have access to potential new medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. CLICK HERE to learn more about exciting research opportunities.