Is bacteria to blame for an arthritis flare-up?

Reactive Arthritis: What is it?

Reactive arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that is painful. It occurs as a reaction to certain bacteria infecting the body. Even though some of these bacteria don’t have symptoms related to them, they can cause a number of different reactions just from having them inside of your body.

Reactive arthritis can have one of these symptoms or many of them at the same time:

  • Pain and swelling at the heels
  • Swelling and pain in certain joints, often those of the ankles or knees
  • Extensive swelling in the fingers or toes
  • Persistent pain in the lower back, which worsens at night or first thing in the morning

Some individuals who have this arthritis also have irritation and eye redness. Other symptoms and signs include a rash on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands and burning with urination.

Reactive Arthritis: What causes it?

Bacteria induce arthritis in the body by distorting its defense against any infections, as well as the genetic environment of your body. Even though you might have the same disease as someone else, the factors affecting the disease will vary significantly.

Who is Susceptible to Reactive Arthritis?

The bacteria causing reactive arthritis is quite common. In reality, anyone who ends up becoming infected with this bacteria can end up developing the condition. Very few individuals suffering with bacterial diarrhea will go on to have serious arthritis. Since a chlamydia infection doesn’t have any symptoms, it is unclear what the role of the disease is. It’s possible that there are some cases of arthritis with an unknown cause that could be attributed to chlamydia.

Men between 20-50 years of age are most susceptible to reactive arthritis. Some individuals have a gene known as HLA-B27. Patients that test positive for HLA-B27 tend to have more severe and sudden onset of the symptoms of arthritis. They also tend to have symptoms that are long-lasting. Patients that don’t have the gene can still get arthritis after being exposed to the organisms that cause it in the first place.

Treating the Condition

In the early stages of the condition, inflammation and joint pain can easily be treated with an anti-inflammatory medication. These supplements can suppress the pain and swelling in the joints. Effective doses are going to vary from one individual to another. Side effects of these supplements vary, so make sure to discuss this with your provider.

Chronic arthritis might require treatment with an anti-rheumatic supplement, often known as DMARD. Sulfasalazine might be useful when the arthritis is triggered from a GI infection. In certain instances, joint pain and inflammation might benefit from a cortisone injection.

Getting rid of the bacteria in your system will help to eliminate any joint pain and allow you to move forward with your health and well-being. Take the time to discuss your conditions and symptoms of arthritis with a health care provider who is able to prescribe you with the necessary medication to help you take control of your life quickly and efficiently.

Kelly Everson is an American author and MA in English literature. She is a health article writer who has written numerous articles/online journals on sleep disorders, stretch marks and joint pain problems. She is contributing to from 2011.