Reactive arthritis, also known
as Reiter’s Syndrome, is aptly named because it occurs as
a reaction to an infection present somewhere else in the body. The
most common infection that can result in reactive arthritis is Chlamydia
Trachomatis, a sexually transmitted venereal infection. Common digestive
system infections can also trigger reactive arthritis; generally,
the digestive infections are caused by contact with foods contaminated
with common food borne bacteria such as Salmonella.
Symptoms of reactive arthritis:
The symptoms from this form of arthritis do not just affect the
joints; there are some other symptoms present that can help determine
if it is truly reactive arthritis that you may be suffering from.
The most common symptoms are:
Joint pain – The most commonly effected
joints are the knees, hips, and elbows. However, with reactive
arthritis there is also the possibility you will experience
pain and inflammation at the points in your body where your
tendons attach to your bones. These can be found in the chest,
heels, and lower back and buttocks area.
Urogential Tract – Because reactive
arthritis is commonly a reaction to an infection in the genitalia,
there is often pain and inflammation in the prostrate and urethra
in men, and the urethra, uterus, and vagina in women. Both men
and women may notice an increased need to urinate, as well as
a burning sensation during urination, and inflammation of the
Eye – Conjunctivitis and uveitis can
often occur at the onset of reactive arthritis. Conjunctivitis
is an inflammation of the white part of the eye that can cause
redness and blurred vision. Uveitis is an inflammation of the
iris, or the colored portion, of the eye.
Skin Sores – With reactive arthritis,
some men may develop sores on the end of their penis, and the
skin can become irritated enough in some cases to cause the
skin to peel. Women who have reactive arthritis may experience
same type of skin sores on their hands and feet. Both men and
women may develop the same type of small, painless ulcers inside
of the mouth.
Treatment for reactive arthritis:
Because the symptoms of reactive arthritis are able to affect so
many parts of the body, it may be necessary to seek treatment from
multiple doctors that specialize in those particular fields, depending
on the severity of the symptoms. For instance, it may be necessary
to seek help from a urologist if your symptoms are strongly affecting
your urological system, or an ophthalmologist for your eye symptoms.
In most cases, the symptoms can be treated individually and can
be lessened within the first three months. However, it is possible
for reactive arthritis symptoms to be felt for up to a year.
If you feel that you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of
reactive arthritis, contact your health provider immediately. The
earlier reactive arthritis is diagnosed, the more likely it is that
the symptoms can be controlled and even stopped.