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Reiter's Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

With over 100 forms of arthritis, it's no wonder that not too many people have ever heard of Reiter's Syndrome. Reiter's Syndrome is a form of arthritis that affects the spine and the sacroiliac joints. This condition causes swelling, redness, warmth, and pain in the affected areas of the joints.

One common symptom of this condition is discharge from the urethra. The urethra is the tube that is responsible for disposing waste from the bladder. Reiter's Syndrome often causes patient's to experience urinary frequency, eye infections, weight loss, and skin infections and rashes.

Reiter's Syndrome most commonly affects young Caucasian males between the ages of 20 and 40, although it has also been known to afflict young children and older adults. The statistics are much lower for females and African Americans.

What causes Reiter's Syndrome?

Like other types of arthritis, health professionals and scientists have not been able to determine the direct cause of this condition. However, it does appear that there are several environmental factors that may be responsible for this condition.

Some researchers have been able to establish a link between Reiter's Syndrome and venereal infections and infections of the intestinal tract. These types of infections are often the result of the presence of amoeba, bacteria, salmonella and other infectious organisms.

Another clue about nature of Reiter's Syndrome is that it tends to appear in patients who have become infected with the HIV virus. Usually, the condition appears before the onset of full-blown AIDS.

What are the major symptoms of Reiter's Syndrome?

People afflicted with this condition may experience inflammation of the urethra several days (usually 7 to 14 days) after sexual intercourse. They may also experience urethra discharge.

They may experience frequent urgency to urinate, a low-grade fever, red eyes, sudden weight loss, and small sores inside the mouth, and sometimes on the genitals.

Other symptoms may include skin infections or rashes, aching of the pelvic area, and painful, stiff, or swelling joints, especially the back, hips, legs and toes. If this condition is untreated, the patient will usually not suffer from immediate loss of mobility or permanent joint damage. However, if the condition remains untreated, a permanent form of arthritis may set in.

Treatment for Reiter's Syndrome

Treatment for Reiter's Syndrome is not a set regimen because there are a number of treatment options that can provide substantial relief.

There is no one course of treatment. Rather, doctor and patient must adopt therapies aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the condition. Many symptoms, including eye and skin infections, will gradually resolve on their own. Other symptoms, such as joint stiffness and pain, must be alleviated through specific drug therapies. NSAID class drugs are typically used to control the pain, heat and swelling of the joints. Cortisone injections may sometimes be used to control swelling and pain.

In severe cases of the condition, surgical intervention may be necessary. Lifestyle changes coupled with drug therapy can often result in satisfactory results.

Once again we come to the see your doctor advice.  You will do well to remember that self-diagnosis in most cases is in error.  Your doctor has access to tests that can confirm or deny most any condition you think you might have.

Arthritis symptoms can have so much in common with so many other conditions.  Some forms of arthritis can be treated so easily and yet can be aggravated by improper treatment.  Don't condemn yourself to a life of pain when a simple visit to the doctor may possibly give you a cure. 

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Answers For Your Health.Arthritis Help is published and edited by Sharon Owen.