Areas of the Body That Reactive Arthritis Affects

Reactive Arthritis Symptoms in the Urogenital Tract

Reactive arthritis often affects the urogenital tract, including the prostate or urethra in men and the urethra, uterus, or vagina in women. Men may notice:
 
  • An increased need to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • A fluid discharge from the penis.
     
Some men with reactive arthritis develop prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland). Symptoms of prostatitis can include fever and chills, as well as an increased need to urinate and a burning sensation when urinating.
 
Women with reactive arthritis may develop problems in the urogenital tract, such as cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) or urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), which can cause a burning sensation during urination. In addition, some women also develop salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes) or vulvovaginitis (inflammation of the vulva and vagina). These conditions may or may not cause any arthritic symptoms.
 

Symptoms of Reactive Arthritis Affecting the Eyes

Conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and eyelid, develops in approximately half of the people with reactive arthritis. Some people may develop uveitis, which is an inflammation of the inner eye. Conjunctivitis and uveitis can cause:
 
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Eye pain and irritation
  • Blurred vision.
 
Uveitis can be more serious and in some cases may not respond to treatment. This can lead to blindness.
 
Eye involvement typically occurs early in the course of reactive arthritis; symptoms may come and go.
 

Other Reactive Arthritis Symptoms

Between 20 and 40 percent of men with reactive arthritis develop small, shallow, painless sores (ulcers) on the end of the penis. A small percentage of men and women develop rashes or small, hard nodules on the soles of the feet and, less often, on the palms of their hands or elsewhere.
 
In addition, some people with reactive arthritis develop mouth ulcers that come and go. In some cases, these ulcers are painless and go unnoticed.
 
In rare cases, reactive arthritis can affect the heart, nervous system, or lungs.
 
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Reactive Arthritis Information

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