Reactive arthritis, previously known as Reiter’s syndrome, is rare type of arthritis caused by bacterial infections, most often in the genital, urinary or gastrointestinal tract. It can cause joint pain and inflammation that may last for three to twelve months.
Reactive arthritis symptoms can be minor at first and then worsen with time. It commonly affects the knees, ankles, and feet and the inflammation can also affect the eyes, skin, and urethra. In most cases, the signs and symptoms may come and go and typically goes away within a year.
The symptoms of reactive arthritis can vary from person to person, and typically appear within one to four weeks after an infection. They may include:
In some cases, people with reactive arthritis may also experience diarrhea and abdominal pain.
If any symptoms of reactive arthritis persist for a month, especially diarrhea and genital infection, or if they keep recurring, it is important to consult a healthcare provider.
According to researchers, reactive arthritis is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body attempts to attack germs or viruses but instead attacks healthy tissue. Reactive arthritis occurs as a result of an infection in the body, most commonly in the intestines, genitals, or urinary tract.
Reactive arthritis itself is not contagious; however, the bacteria that can cause it can be transmitted through sexual contact or contaminated food. Only a small percentage of people who are exposed to these bacteria actually develop reactive arthritis. Additionally, the initial infection may not be noticeable, especially if it causes only mild or no symptoms.
Reactive arthritis can be triggered by a variety of bacteria, with some of the most common being Campylobacter, Chlamydia, Clostridioides difficile, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia. While some of these bacteria can be sexually transmitted, others are typically foodborne.
Several factors may contribute to the risk of developing reactive arthritis:
+66 2066 8888