Symptoms of reactive arthritis

The symptoms of reactive arthritis usually developwithin four weeks of an infection.

In most cases, reactive arthritis follows a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia , or abowel infection such as food poisoning .

The three parts of the body most commonly affected by reactive arthritisare the:

  • joints andtendons
  • urinary system
  • eyes

However, most people won't experience problems inall of these areas.

Joints and tendons

Reactive arthritis usually involves inflammation of the joints ( arthritis ) and tendons, which can cause:

  • joint pain, tenderness and swelling usually in weight-bearing joints such as your knees, feet and ankles
  • lower back and buttock pain
  • swelling of your fingers and toes
  • joint stiffness particularly in the morning

See your GP if you have any swollen and painful joints, especially if you have recently had diarrhoea or problems passing urine.

The urinary system

Reactive arthritis can sometimes alsoinvolve inflammation of the urethra ( non-gonococcal urethritis ), which is the tube that carries urine out of the body. Symptoms of urethritis caninclude:

  • pain or a burning sensation when you pee
  • urinating more often than usual
  • having a sudden urge topee
  • a discharge of fluid from the penis or vagina
  • blood in your urine (less commonly)

The eyes

Reactive arthritis may occasionallyinvolve inflammation of the eyes ( conjunctivitis ). Symptoms of conjunctivitis caninclude:

  • red eyes
  • watery eyes
  • eye pain
  • swollen eye lids

In rare cases, a type of uveitis called iritis can develop.Iritis can cause the eyes to becomepainful, red and sensitive to light.See your doctor or an eye specialist as soon as possible if you have these symptoms.

Other symptoms

Reactive arthritis can also cause symptoms, including:

  • feeling unusually tired
  • ahightemperature(fever)
  • weight loss
  • mouth ulcers
  • painless whitepatchesinside your mouth
  • a rash
  • thick and crumbly nails
  • abdominal (tummy) pain
  • bouts ofdiarrhoea

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016