Reactive arthritis also referred to as Reiter’s syndrome is a condition associated with a triad manifestation comprising of inflammation of the urinary tract, joints and eyes. This condition is an autoimmune disorder and is associated with other disorders like psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
This condition is usually acute in nature and resolves without treatment within one year, however in some cases; it may recur after a few years making it chronic. Epidemiological profile indicates that the condition is frequently observed in Caucasians in the age group of 16 to 42 years, though it may affect older people or younger children.
The prevalence of the condition is five times higher in males compared to females. In female gastrointestinal symptoms are more pronounced compared to arthritic symptoms.
What Causes Reactive Arthritis?
In general the condition is an autoimmune disorder and its trigger factors are not very clearly understood. However certain studies and reports have indicated that there are certain factors that may contribute to the onset of this disease,
- A history of food poisoning along with a gastrointestinal infection usually precedes the onset of reactive arthritis. Bacterial infections namely salmonella, Camplylobacter and Yersinia are usually associated with this condition.
- A history of genital infection is also associated with this condition and associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection.
- Some experts presume a possible genetic linkage to the development of the condition.
Symptoms Of Reactive Arthritis
Patients affected with this condition have usually a normal life span and early diagnosis of the condition improves the overall quality of life. The symptoms associated with the condition include the following,
- Joints: Joints including ankles, feet, knees and wrists are involved. The involvement is usually asymmetric in nature, thereby meaning that the wrist of the right hand may be involved along with the knee of the left leg and so on. The joint symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, redness and reduced mobility. In some cases the spine may be involved associated with stiffness in the back and the neck.
- Inflammation of the urethra is another common symptom associated with the condition. The inflammation may affect other parts of the genitourinary symptom including the bladder and the prostate gland. The key symptoms including urgency and increased frequency of urination, stinging and burning pain while micturition and inflammation of the foreskin. In females addition symptoms include cervicitis, salpingitis and vulvovaginitis.
- Involvement of the iris of the eye may be associated with photophobia and irritation of the eyes.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms include ulceration of the mouth, colitis, involvement of the bowels resulting in diarrhea.
- Other additional symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, low grade fever and rash on the skin.
The condition may be associated with rare complication including
- Aortic valve dysfunction, arrhythmia and pericarditis.
- Pneumonia, pleural effusion and pulmonary fibrosis.
- Tingling numbness along with multiple neuropathies.
Natural Treatment For Reactive Arthritis
The natural treatment focuses on alleviating the symptoms by use of supplements and herbs,
- Multivitamin supplements including Vitamins C, E and A are important. Vitamin C helps normalize the immune system while Vitamins E and A play a vital role in alleviating symptoms associated with the skin and the eyes respectively.
- Glucosamine supplements (500 mg thrice daily) along with chondroitin sulfate (800 mg each day) are recommended to alleviate joint symptoms.
- Different homeopathic drugs can be helpful to alleviate the symptoms. Cantharis is useful for genitourinary symptoms, while Bryonia and Rhus Tox are beneficial for joint complaints. Nux Vomica and Arg Nitricum are recommended for gastrointestinal related symptoms.