What is Reiter’s Syndrome

There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, so it is no mystery why many people have never heard of Reiter’s Syndrome.

Reiter’s Syndrome is a form of arthritis which affects the spine and the sacroiliac joints. This condition causes swelling, redness, warmth, and pain in the affected areas of the joints.

Symptoms

One typical symptom of this condition is a discharge from the urethra, the tube that is responsible for disposing waste from the bladder. Reiter’s Syndrome often causes patient’s to experience raised urinary frequency, eye infections, weight loss, and skin infections and rashes.

Reiter’s Syndrome most commonly affects young Caucasian males between the ages of 20 and 40, although it has also been known to afflict young children and older adults. This condition may also appear in the female population and African Americans, although the statistics are much lower in these populations.

People afflicted with this condition may experience inflammation of the urethra several days (usually 7 to 14 days) after sexual intercourse. They may experience frequent urgency to urinate, a low-grade fever, red eyes, sudden weight loss, and small sores inside the mouth, and sometimes on the genitals.

Other symptoms may include skin infections or rashes, aching of the pelvic area, and painful, stiff, or swollen joints, especially the back, hips, legs and toes. If this condition remains untreated, the patient will usually not suffer from immediate loss of mobility or permanent joint damage. However, if the condition remains untreated, a permanent form of arthritis may set in.

What Causes Reiter’s Syndrome?

Like other types of arthritis, health professionals and scientists have not been able to determine the exact cause of this condition. However, it does look like there are several environmental factors that may be responsible for this condition. Some researchers have been able to establish a link between Reiter’s Syndrome and venereal infections and infections of the intestinal tract.

These types of infections are often the result of the presence of amoeba, bacteria, salmonella and other infectious organisms. Another clue about nature of Reiter’s Syndrome is that it tends to appear in patients who have become infected with the HIV virus. Usually, the condition appears before the onset of full-blown AIDS.

Treatment

Treating Reiter’s Syndrome can be delicate, but there are a number of treatment options that can provide substantial relief. There is no one course of treatment. Rather, doctor and patient must adopt therapies aimed at eradicating the conditions symptoms.

Many symptoms, including eye and skin infections, will gradually resolve on their own. Other symptoms, such as joint stiffness and pain, must be alleviated through specific drug therapies.

NSAID class drugs are typically used to control the pain, heat and swelling of the joints. Cortisone injections may sometimes be used to control swelling and pain. In severe cases of the condition, surgical intervention may be necessary. Lifestyle changes coupled with drug therapy can often result in satisfactory results.

 

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