What is Reiter's Syndrome?
By Collette A. Osuna
is a form of arthritis characterized by inflammation of the joints, eyes and genital,
urinary or gastrointestinal tract. Reiter's syndrome is also called "reactive
arthritis". Some individuals think that it involves the immune system, which
is "reacting" to the presence of bacterial infections in the genital,
urinary or gastrointestinal systems.
What is the Cause of Reiter's Syndrome?
exact cause of Reiter's syndrome is unknown. It occurs most commonly in men before
the age of 40. It may follow a sexually transmitted disease.
Reiter's syndrome commonly shows itself as arthritis,
often in the pelvis and spine, inflammation of the urinary tract, and inflammation
of the mucous membranes in the eyes and mouth. These symptoms need not be present
all the time, as they may come and go.
How is Reiter's Syndrome Diagnosed?
examine the inflammation of the eyes, genital and urinary tracts to diagnose Reiter's
How is Reiter's Syndrome Treated?
The treatment of
Reiter's Disease is largely based on the individual's symptoms. For joint inflammation,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually preferred. Corticosteroids can
be helpful to reduce inflammation.
Eye inflammation can be treated with anti-inflammatory
drops. Some patients with severe iritis require local injections of cortisone
to prevent damaging inflammation to the eye, which can lead to blindness. When
bacteria are present in the bowel or urine, antibiotics are used.
has been shown to be effective in some patients. Methotrexate** may also be used.
*Sulfasalazine is a sulfonamide used to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease,
and rheumatoid arthritis.
**Methotrexate is an antimetabolite agent used
to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and certain types of cancers. Methotrexate
is also used to treat ectopic pregnancy and can be used for early abortion. Find more about treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy at http://www.ectopic.org.uk.
there is no cure for Reiter's syndrome. Relapse occurs in about one third of cases,
especially after further episodes of non-specific urethritis. The illness may
resolve in 3 to 4 months, but up to one-half of those affected experience recurrences
of the arthritis or other symptoms of the syndrome over a period of several years.
The condition may become chronic. About 20 per cent of patients with Reiter's
syndrome develop sacroilitis and ascending spinal disease.
primarily affects young white men between the ages of 20 and 40.
Reiter's syndrome only one fifth as often as men.
Collette A. Osuna
Collette Osuna is a free lance writer from the south eastern
Michigan area. She is a single mother of two beautiful children. Her life's trials
have given her an open mind and have sent her on a vigilant quest for the truth
in all aspects of life, crushing lies and injustices through her writing.
women's movement will present a growing threat to partriarchial religion less
by attacking it than by simply leaving it behind."
Feminist Women's Health Center