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Reiter syndrome or reactive arthritis What is it?

Reiter syndrome or reactive arthritis What is it?

Reiter's syndrome is a condition that affects the joints, triggering reactive arthritis. It also affects the eyes, causing conjunctivitis. It also causes damage to the urethra and skin, leading to cutaneous and mucous lesions.

It is very rare for this disease to appear in children, but it can occur in adolescents and is more common in men under 40 years of age.

What is Reiter syndrome?

Reiter syndrome or reactive arthritis is, as its name indicates, an arthritis that occurs as a reaction to different infections. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. That is, the tendons, their fascia and synovial membrane, which are the parts that make up each joint.

In addition to the joints, this syndrome also affects other parts of the body. These are, above all:

  • Eyes
  • Fur
  • Reproductive system
  • Urinary system

This pathology, although it can affect anyone, occurs mainly in men under 40 years of age. The prototype of a person who suffers from this disease is usually a man around 30 years old, although, we repeat, it can occur in any other age group.

What are your causes?

Reiter syndrome is basically arthritis, and as such, it affects the joints.

As we have already mentioned, it usually occurs after different infections. Although its causes are not fully established yet, there are certain antecedents that seem to be the most predisposing to this syndrome. Some examples would be:

  • After intestinal infections due to food poisoning. Those that most frequently cause reactive arthritis are Shigella and salmonellosis.
  • After suffering urethral infections, in both men and women, after having had unprotected sexual relations. Some of the sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to Reiter syndrome are, for example, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Although it is not entirely clear, it is also suspected that genetics may play a role. More cases of Reiter syndrome have been described in people with a direct family member with a history of it.

What symptoms does it produce?

Like all arthritis, the main symptom that this syndrome will produce is pain in the joints. Normally, it will be in more than one joint, and affecting areas that support our weight, such as the hips, knees or the lumbar area of ​​the back.

In addition to affecting the joints, problems in the reproductive and urinary systems can manifest as pain or discomfort when urinating or having sexual relations. In addition, on some occasions a whitish discharge can be observed coming out of the urethra, especially in men. Blood-tinged urine may also appear at the time of urination.

Conjunctivitis may also appear in the eyes. As for general symptoms, it is capable of producing a low-grade fever, general malaise and fatigue. Painless ulcers also appear on the tongue or lips, eyes and genital tract.

Diagnosis and treatment of Reiter syndrome

The diagnosis will be made, as always, by a specialist, based on the signs and symptoms and a good physical examination. In addition to this, blood and urine tests, and imaging tests, such as x-rays or ultrasound of the spine or affected joint, may be performed.

Once the diagnosis is established, treatment will be based, above all, on rest and control of symptoms. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories may be prescribed. If a clear cause is found, such as a sexually transmitted infection, the treatment of reactive arthritis will be based on the therapy for said infection.

The manifestations of this syndrome can be present from a few weeks to months. Everything will depend on the intensity of the infection and the impact on the body, as well as the response of each patient to the treatment and the processes that occur.

Therefore, the most important thing, as always, is that if we have any symptoms that may make us suspicious, we go to the specialist. The professional will be the one who establishes the steps to follow so that the process goes as well as possible and affects us as little as possible.

Even so, in many cases, once reactive arthritis has been suffered, it is not uncommon for it to reappear after months or years as a result of some other infection.

An aid for this pain is CBD, which in addition to helping us for other things.

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