Reiters syndrome (reactive arthritis) is an inflammatory condition involving the eyes, urethra and joints. The cause is unknown, but it is more common in young men. It often follows a bacterial infection. There is some evidence that it may be caused by a Chlamydial infection.
Other symptoms that may occur include mouth ulcers, skin sores, inflammation of the foreskin of the penis, inflammation of the cervix in women and a fever. Rarely, the heart becomes inflamed.
Blood tests are not diagnostic, but indicate presence of inflammation. X-rays may show arthritis in the joints of the back but only after several attacks.
It heals without treatment after a few days or weeks. The arthritis tends to last longer. Recurrences of Reiters syndrome are common. The disease course can be shortened by anti-inflammatory drugs such as indomethacin.