Reactive arthritis is a self-limiting condition that affects the joints and usually develops after certain types of infection such as a bowel or genital infection. It is sometimes known as Reiter’s syndrome or disease and can involve a combination of three symptoms:
- Arthritis – pain, redness and swelling affecting a number of joints. Most often the joints of the lower limbs are affected (e.g. knees ankles and toes) but other joints may be affected such as the elbows, hands or the joints between the lower back and hips (sacroiliac joints).
- Uveitis or conjunctivitis – Inflammation of the coating of the eye (conjunctiva) or the front chamber of the eye (anterior uveitis). Conjunctivitis causes redness and itching. Uveitis is more serious and causes pain and blurring as well as redness.
- Urethritis – Inflammation of the tube which connects the bladder to the outside of the body (urethra). This can cause discharge which may be seen at the tip of the penis or in the vagina. It can also cause pain on passing urine.