Reiter’s syndrome is an inflammatory reaction to an infection somewhere in the body. It usually follows an infection of the urinary, genital, or digestive tract. It is treated with rest and medication.
Reiter's syndrome is triggered by certain infections. It is usually caused by the bacterium that causes chlamydia. Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected partner. The infection can also begin in the digestive system. In these cases, the infection occurs after eating food tainted with bacteria.
Factors that may increase your chances of getting Reiter's syndrome:
Symptoms occur in the joints, the eyes, the urinary tract, and genitals. Men and women may experience different symptoms. In rare cases, heart problems may develop later in the disease.
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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor uses these findings to help make the diagnosis. There is no specific test to check for Reiter’s syndrome.
Your doctor may need to test your bodily fluids and tissues. This can be done with:
Your doctor may need pictures of your bodily structures. This can be done with x-rays.
There is no cure for Reiter’s syndrome. Most people recover from the initial episode within 12 months. Others develop mild, chronic arthritis. Some suffer from additional episodes of the disorder.
Treatment aims to relieve symptoms and may include:
Short-term rest to take the strain off the joints.
Your doctor may prescribe some of the following:
To reduce your chances of Reiter's syndrome:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Public Health Agency of Canada
Questions and answers about reactive arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/reactive-arthritis. Accessed December 8, 2017.
Reactive arthritis. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Reactive-Arthritis. Updated March 2017. Accessed December 8, 2017.
Reactive arthritis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116312/Reactive-arthritis. Updated March 27, 2017. Accessed December 8, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 12/20/2014