In the case of reactive arthritis, your immune system is “reacting” to an existent infection in some other part of your body. This “not in your joint” infection makes it distinguishable from infectious arthritis.
Joint symptoms of Reiter’s syndrome are comparable to other forms of arthritis, causing:
- joint pain
- swollen joints
Joint aches will be likely felt in your low back, hips, knees, ankles and feet.
In addition to joint inflammation, you could have an inflammatory reaction involving your urethra, eyes and skin. Because of this and the presence of an infection, you may also endure these symptoms besides:
- skin sores
- weight loss
- blurry vision
- mouth ulcers
- eye discharge
- painful urination
- penis discharge
- urinary hesitancy
- red, burning eyes
- urethral discharge
- end of penis ulcers
- frequent, urgent urination
- palm, sole skin lesions ~ resembles psoriasis
The exact cause of reactive arthritis is unknown, but the HLA-B27 gene seems to cause you to be more prone to Reiter’s syndrome.
Frequently occurring in previously healthy men before their 40th birthday, reactive arthritis usually begins within a couple of weeks after commencement of its instigating infection.
There is no cure for reactive arthritis Reiter’s syndrome. However, these treatments can help relieve inflammatory symptoms or rid your body of the offending bacteria:
- NSAIDs ~ aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen
- exercise ~ helps improve joint function
- COX-2 inhibitors ~ available by prescription only
- topical corticosteroids ~ applied directly to skin ulcers
- corticosteroid injections ~ for severe joint inflammation
- antibiotics ~ eliminate bacteria that triggered reactive arthritis
- immunosuppressive drugs ~ rarely used because they suppress immune system
- TNF inhibitors ~ curbs a protein involved in inflammatory response, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis as well
After a bout with reactive arthritis, your future health without it is uncertain. It might go away in a few weeks, last for a couple of months, intermittently return or be chronic.