Reiter or Reiter' s syndrome is a type of reactive arthritis, meaning that it happens as a reaction to a bacterial infection in the body. The infection usually occurs in the intestines, genitals, or urinary tract. Reiter syndrome includes joint swelling and pain (often in knees, ankles, and feet) along with inflammation of the eyes and urinary tract. It is not contagious, but the bacteria that trigger it can be passed from one person to another. There is no cure for Reiter syndrome, but you can control the symptoms. For most people, symptoms will disappear in 2 - 6 months.
Reiter syndrome is a type of reactive arthritis, which means that another illness brings it on. Researchers don' t know exactly why some people develop Reiter syndrome after an infection while others don' t, although they suspect that genetics may play a role. The following factors may raise your risk for Reiter syndrome.
Tell your health care provider about any intestinal conditions or sexually transmitted diseases you have had recently. While there is no test for Reiter syndrome, you may be tested for chlamydia. The doctor may test samples of cells from your throat as well as the urethra in men or the cervix in women. Urine and stool samples may also be tested, and you may need to have a blood test to rule other diseases and to see if you have the HLA-B27 gene. Your doctor may refer you to a rheumatologist (a specialist who treats arthritis).
Your health care provider may also prescribe drugs to treat specific symptoms, such as steroid eye drops for eye inflammation.
Although no complementary and alternative therapies have been shown to help Reiter syndrome specifically, some may help reduce inflammation and support your immune system.
Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to diagnose your problem before starting any treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.
The following herbs help reduce inflammation, although they have not been studied specifically for Reiter syndrome. Do not take these herbs without your doctor' s supervision. Many interact with each other and with other prescription medications, and can cause unwanted side effects.
Although very few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies, professional homeopaths may consider the following remedies for Reiter syndrome based on their knowledge and experience. Finding the right homeopathic remedy is complicated, and you should consult a competent homeopathic practitioner. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type -- your physical, emotional, and psychological makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate treatment for each individual.
As with other forms of arthritis, acupuncture may help strengthen the immune system and reduce pain.
The initial attack usually lasts 3 - 6 months. Most people are able to maintain their usual activities with treatment.
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