Reactive arthritis comes from overreaction to infections

When you have an infection, your immune system fights hard to get rid of it. White blood cells work throughout your body to kill viruses or bacteria that are hurting you. White blood cells also cause inflammation.

Arthritis is inflammation in your joints that causes pain and swelling. Sometimes when you get an infection, it can cause a condition called reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome.

Common infections that cause reactive arthritis include chlamydia and salmonella. Men are more likely to get reactive arthritis and have a certain gene can put them more at risk.

Reactive arthritis leads to variety of symptoms

Reactive arthritis has many of the same symptoms as osteoarthritis, including bony growths (bone spurs) and pain and swelling in your joints. Unlike other types of arthritis, reactive arthritis can also lead to symptoms outside of your joints.

Some people have urinary tract symptoms, such as a burning feeling when using the bathroom or using the bathroom more often. You may also have symptoms in your eyes, such as red and painful eyes or blurry vision.

Medicines help fight infection and symptoms

Reactive arthritis is usually short lived, with symptoms only lasting a few months. Your doctor can help relieve your symptoms with different medicines that reduce inflammation, like corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium) and immunosuppressants. You may also take antibiotics to fight the infection.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.