Reactive Arthritis

What is Reactive Arthritis?

Reactive Arthritis involves a long-term swelling caused by a certain infection in other parts of the body, resulting to pain of the joints in the urinary tract as well as the small and large intestines. It is also called the Reiter’s syndrome but in actuality, the syndrome is just a kind of reactive arthritis.

reactive arthritis


This type of disease is quite rare and mostly occurs to individuals between 20-40 years of age in both genders. The main targets of reactive arthritis are the feet and the joints of the ankles; however, it can still influence the tissues of the body by causing inflammation.

Reactive arthritis can last for about a year with the symptoms that gradually comes and go from time to time and sometimes it can be mild or severe.

What are the Symptoms of Reactive Arthritis?

The symptoms of reactive arthritis can either have an impact to the joints and those areas that does not connect with the joints. It commonly begins when an infection has been triggered and it happens one to three weeks after. The symptom that usually appears to come out first is the release of some type of fluid when the urethra swells and a throbbing urination.

Other types of symptoms may include:

  • Fingers, hips, knee, wrists, buttocks, ankles or toes are inflamed. It is uncommon for a lot of joints to be inflamed for it usually affects one or a few joints only.
  • Ulcers of the mouth
  • Pain in the back
  • The eye becomes puffy or inflamed
  • Stiffness of the joints
  • Costochondritis
  • Blisters can sometimes be developed on the soles of the feet or the palms
  • Diarrhea

What Causes Reactive Arthritis?

According to researchers, reactive arthritis is somehow caused by a genetic disposition since almost all individuals with the same condition had been tested and known to have a positive blood test for the HLA-B27 genes.  This type of condition is not contagious but the bacteria causing it may be acquired through food that are contaminated with the bacteria or through sexual intercourse.

Chlamydia trachomitis is an infection that is accompanied together with reactive arthritis and is typically found in men who are sexually active and are common to men from ages 20 to 40.

Other causes may also depend on the body’s reaction to a certain infection from another body part, most-likely in the genitals or intestines. The person may not be aware of the reaction that already triggered a virus since most of the time the symptoms are far from severe or nothing at all.


No specific diet had been found effective for reactive arthritis; however, picking the right kind of foods that can possibly reduce the inflammation and avoiding those that can worsen it will surely help the person handle the symptoms.

Some individuals found out that rose hip extract and oils from the body of the fish and not in the liver itself can prevent inflammation or decrease the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs. Most of the time, it is hard to determine whether the food eaten outside or inside the house are fresh so the person should be a little extra careful since it can be dangerous if too much amount of food are consumed that may trigger reactive arthritis.

There are several healthy ingredients that can be followed which are found online to relieve arthritis pain and some remedies are even found at home. A well balanced diet is not only important to avoid any risk factors of reactive arthritis but also for the health and wellness of a person in general.


The major objective of the treatment is to control the symptoms and cure any infections that may still be available. The treatment is also based on where the symptom is clearly evident. For people with inflamed joints, physicians give and prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as medications. There may be side effects along with it so it is best recommended to take it with food.

Some other drugs and treatments might be:

  • Antibiotics if the infection is still present which was prompted by reactive arthritis
  • Corticosteroids are used in order to lessen the inflammation. This drug also serves as a treatment for a short-term basis of the condition.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis drugs can be taken for individuals who have stiff and painful joints in order to feel a certain relief
  • Anti-inflammatory drops for eyes that are swollen due to the condition
  • Cortisone creams for the inflamed penis
  • Physical therapy in order to exercise and improve the function of the muscles and joints


The prognosis of a patient with reactive arthritis still varies but from the researcher’s study, it is generally very good. Most individuals fully recovers in three to four months since there are several treatment options that had been found and a number of people carry the condition for several years.

The best outlook for the patient is when the disease is properly diagnosed and treated right away. When causes had been specified and eliminated, reactive arthritis can be entirely cured.


  1. What Causes Reactive Arthritis?, What Are the Symptoms?, How Is Reactive Arthritis Diagnosed?, How it Is Treated?, What Is the Outlook For People With Reactive Arthritis? at
  2. Reactive Arthritis (Formerly Reiter’s Syndrome): What is the treatment?, What is the prognosis of reactive arthritis?, Is it possible to prevent that? at
  3. Reactive arthritis : Symptoms, Risk factors, Causes, Preparing for your appointment, Tests and diagnosis, Treatments and drugs, Prevention at
  4. Sampaio-Barros PD, Bortoluzzo AB, Conde RA, Costallat LT, Samara AM, Bértolo MB (June 2010). “Undifferentiated spondyloarthritis: a longterm followup”. The Journal of Rheumatology (The Journal of Rheumatology) 37 (6): 1195–1199.
  5. Hunter Handsfield (2001). Color atlas and synopsis of sexually transmitted diseases, Volume 236. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 148.
  6. Ruddy, Shaun (2001). Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology, 6th Ed. W. B. Saunders. pp. 1055–1064.

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