Reactive arthritis — symptoms and treatment

Reactive arthritis (Rea) is an inflammation of the joints that occurs as a reaction to the invasion of the body-any infectious agents.

It is important to note that the joint cavity while maintaining its sterility (that is, the inflammation is aseptic).

reactive arthritis

The underlying causes of Pea is still unsolved. It is believed that infection plays a role in trigger that if there is a genetic predisposition triggers immunopathological reaction.


The disease can be triggered by various bacterial infectious diseases, often infections of the gastrointestinal tract and the genitourinary system. In reactive arthritis, which is triggered by infection of the genitourinary system, the initial factors are infections in the urethra, bladder and genital organs.

In the case of infection associated with food poisoning, there is a condition called enterogastric. One to two percent of people who were poisoned by food, suffer from the development of the inflammatory process of the joints a few weeks after poisoning. A role played by hereditary predisposition, many people suffering from reactive arthritis have the gene HLA-B27.

What causes the disease?

As already mentioned, reactive arthritis is partially genetically determined disease. There are certain genetic markers which are much more common in patients with reactive arthritis than those who never suffered from the disease. For example, patients with reactive arthritis is frequently observed HLA-B27 gene. But even in patients with a genetic predisposition, reactive arthritis develops only in case of infection.

Reactive arthritis can occur after venereal infections. The most common bacterium that has been associated with this post-venereal form of reactive arthritis chlamydia infection is considered to be. It also occurs after infectious dysentery, with bacterial infection such as Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia., Campylobacter. Typically, the arthritis develops one to three weeks after the appearance of bacterial infection.

Risk factors

risk factors

Reactive arthritis most often affects people aged 20-40 years. Interestingly, after infection, sexually transmitted diseases, men develop nine times more often than women, whereas after intestinal infections danger of the same. Men suffer more heavier women. The risk is increased in individuals with HLA B 27, but his study before the development of disease is not necessary.

Reactive arthritis in children

More rare, but still occurs reactive arthritis in children. The disease is no less serious than in adults, and can significantly affect the future life of the child, especially when it comes to sports future.

Symptoms in children depends on the type of arthritis, age. But the main symptoms are the following:

  1. Before the manifestation of symptoms of arthritis the child has a fever, there is diarrhoea, often running to the bathroom small. These same signs can also talk about intestinal infections (dysentery, salmonellosis) or about the problems of an infectious nature in the urogenital system (urethritis, cystitis, chlamydia).
  2. Reactive arthritis in children mostly inflamed joints of the foot – ankle, hip or knee joint. Joints markedly increase in size.
  3. During active physical exertion felt pretty severe pain.
  4. Drowsiness, weakness.
  5. Inflammation of the eyes, tearing, fear of bright light.

If the time to diagnose the disease, the treatment results will be positive, getting rid of reactive arthritis will be fast enough. In addition to antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunomodulatory drugs, is a very effective therapeutic exercise, and other Wellness treatments.

The symptoms of reactive arthritis

In the first two to four weeks, the patient has an intestinal disorder, respiratory disease, or illness, very similar to cystitis in the early stages.

Further, the symptoms of reactive arthritis are becoming classic and can be divided into three groups:

the symptoms of reactive arthritis
  • inflamed mucous membranes of the eyes (developing eye) and the eyes;
  • experiencing pain in the joints (limited to their activity, redness and swelling);
  • develop inflammation in the urogenital sphere.

In most cases the initial inflammation occurs in one joint and then the joint disease affects the whole group. Clinical manifestations of reactive arthritis range from temporary monoartrit and to a sufficiently severe multisystem disease.

Common symptoms include: weakness, General malaise, increased body temperature. The severity of these manifestations may be quite insignificant, and very strong.

There may be asymmetric polyarthritis or oligoarthritises, which mainly hit the toes or large joints of lower extremities. In severe course of the disease is possible pain in the back.

How to diagnose?

In order to understand how to treat reactive arthritis, it is necessary initially to correctly diagnose. The accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis a lot will depend on the success of subsequent treatment.

On the photo you can see the external symptoms of the disease, but the rest should go to the doctor if you have the following complaints:

  • pain in the joints;
  • the presence of some characteristic of the infection, which manifested itself a few weeks before the problems with the joints;
  • the problem occurs in no more than 4 or 5 joints at a time;
  • marked dissymmetry in joint problems;
  • most problems with joints of feet.

The symptoms are sometimes quite deceptive and similar to other diseases and therefore for the expert it is important to apply a differential diagnosis.



Prevention of reactive arthritis is reduced to the prevention of infectious diseases: hygiene practices, proper food preparation, observation of expiration dates of food.

In the event of illness need adequate treatment prescribed by a specialist. Over the next 1-3 weeks is to observe a protective regime and avoid re-infection.

Treatment of reactive arthritis

In the case of diagnosed reactive arthritis treatment should be doctors-rheumatology. In parallel the development of acute infectious disease a treating specialist can be infectious disease physician.

Because the triggering factor for reactive arthritis is usually infection, one of the most important aspects of treatment is to rid the body of these infectious agents. How well this can be done, will depend on the outcome of the disease.

Drug treatment can be divided into several main areas:

  • the elimination of the inflammatory process;
  • therapy intestinal or respiratory infections;
  • therapy of chlamydia;
  • therapy conjunctivitis syndrome Reiter.

Also prescribed painkillers to relieve joint pain, and in severe cases of the disease — glucocorticoids and immunosuppressants. The treatment of this disease on an outpatient basis, hospitalization is only possible in cases when the diagnosis is unclear and requires constant supervision and severe manifestations of the disease and General condition.

The prognosis of the disease

For patients who complete treatment for reactive arthritis, there is the following forecast for the future life:

  1. In 20% of cases the symptoms disappear within 6 months;
  2. After a properly sized treatment there is no recurrence of the disease;
  3. In 25% of cases reactive arthritis goes into a chronic phase, progressing only in the acute phase;
  4. In 50% of cases, the disease after a certain period of time starts to progress with a new force;
diet for reactive arthritis

Only 5% of cases a severe form of reactive arthritis leads to deformation of the spine and joints.


It is important to follow a diet. In the diet of the patient should enter natural omega-3 fatty acids, which are rich in sea fish and flax seed oil. The diet should contain stimulating, spicy and salty foods.

It is noticed that certain vegetables the nightshade family can cause exacerbation of the disease and exacerbate the symptoms of reactive arthritis. So eat potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers should be used with caution. Food should be balanced: not shown is low or high-calorie diet.