Reactive arthritis occurs due to a bacterial infection affecting the bowel or the urogenital area. Reactive arthritis is also called Reiter’s syndrome and presents a negative serum rheumatoid factor. The bacteria present in the joints which are considered to be the cause of reactive arthritis, but which cannot be identified with the serum culture, are usually gram-negative: Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Chlamydia.
The onset of this type of arthritis is represented by the impairment of a single joint or by the asymmetrical oligoarthritis affecting: the knees, the ankles, the joint of the hand or fingers. At local level, there are inflammations, redness, heat and of course pain. Spondylitis, enthesitis or dactylitis may be present.
There are also present extra-articular manifestations, such as: conjunctivitis (usually, bilateral – affecting both eyes), urethritis, diarrhoea, renal or neurological manifestations.
The positive diagnosis of reactive arthritis implies the presence of the 3 important factors: conjunctivitis, urethritis, arthritis. The differential diagnosis is very important and is performed with the psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or gonococcal arthritis.
During treatment, it is essential that the infection is treated and it is diagnosed early. For the fever which is present and for the pain which occurs, oral anti-inflammatory drugs may be administered. For the improvement of joint pain, the Relaxing Gel with hellebore or the Dr. Boici Cream can be used. Usually, the healing process is quick and complete, the manifestation having an acute nature.