Reactive Arthritis / Reiter's Syndrome.. HELP!

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/7/2007 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   
This is my first time on this site and I'm sure this forum receives threads like the following every day, however, I'm scared and need advice.
To preface, I very rarely become sick. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I had anything beyond a stuffy nose. I have always felt like I have had a strong immune system or maybe just fair luck. I am male and 18 years old as of today, 6' 2 200lbs and athletic. It is August 7th, 2007.
Approximately three weeks ago I began experiencing unbearable pain while urinating. Few days later I was seen by my pediatrician and within the next few days had two urinalysis and a few STD tests done as well as some precautionary bloodwork. This failed to produce a diagnosis. On Thursday, July 26, 2007, I had my wisdom teeth extracted and was prescribed a swelling medication and some pain killers. No antibiotics. Since then I have had considerable pain in my mouth and surrounding area that is just now diminishing as would be expected. Nothing abnormal there. Few days after the oral procedure I was seen in the ER still complaining about my urinary problems. A few more tests were conducted and leucocytes (white blood cells) appeared in my urine. The ER doctors prescribed me Cipro, an antibiotic, for three days and that cleared up all pain in my genitals. Just as I thought my problems were looking better my mom noticed that my eyes have been pinkish and that logically I might have pink eye. My pediatrician phoned in a prescription eye drop that I have been using whenever I think of it and I have yet to decide whether or not this has helped because this symptom has been intermittent. Now on to the more significant stuff. Like three or four days ago at work I noticed that my right knee was not normal. It was extremely stiff and I had limited range of motion.. maybe 70-80 degrees. In the next couple of days I noticed that my knee was becoming increasingly worse. The swelling was now noticable from great distance and the discomfort was persistent. Also, to the touch, the skin around my patella was spongy and pretty obviosuly filled with fluid..later to find out synovial fluid. At this point my mom and I had enough and we went to the emergeny room at 3:30 PM August 4, 2007. The ER doctors did not know what to make of the condition and a few simple blood tests and screens were conducted. At my request a resident orthopedic surgeon drained the synovial fluid around my knee to relieve the pressure. This improved my range of motion noticeably and I wasn't quite as achy. Initial blood results were normal and white blood cell count was low and normal. I was sent home pending blood culture results. On August 5, 2007 I woke up with stiffness in my knee again and while it was not quite as swollen as initially, it still was not normal. I received a call from the ER doc around 5:00 PM or so who reported that my culture tested positive for some kind of bacteria and I needed to be seen today. I went to the emergency room immediately. Following further consultation, bloodwork, and an EKG the doctor decided I should be tested for Lyme Disease. The EKG returned a slight abnormality and although it wasn't too serious he requested that I see a cardiologist. The results of the Lyme disease culture will be in Wednesday, August 8th, 2007 and while I have not ruled this out.. If the test is negative there will be no doubt in my mind that I suffer from Reiter's Syndrome. I have been researching all night and the symptoms are uncanny. I have all three of the major symptoms: Urethritis, Conjunctitis, and Joint Pain that is assymetric as well other less painful achy muscles and body parts. Last night I had a temperature of over 101 which would suggest that my body is fighting off an infection. To complicate the situation, the blood culture conducted on my second trip to the emergency room has NOT shown bacterial growth. I visited my pediatrician yesterday afternoon. He has been in contact with the ER doctor that saw my case both nights at the hospital and he has concluded that the first culture must have been exposed to a contaminant. My pediatrician who was uncharacteristicaly thorough set me up with three appts.. a cardiologist, orthopedist, and opthamologist. He also encouraged me to have a second Lyme's test conducted which I did this morning. I also had my cardiology appointment this morning and the EKG performed by her returned the same "slight" abnormailty that suggested to her that there was nothing more than mild inflammation caused by some bacteria or virus. I will follow up with the orthopedist and opthamologist tomorrow primarily to rule out any other possibilities. I understand this is premature in the eyes of the medical community but I have decided there is no other explanation for these circumstances other than Reiter's Syndrome. I am terrified and leave for Boston for college in three weeks (from New Jersey). Ironically I planned to study physical therapy which I am having second thoughts about now that I could probably benefit from it myself much less perform it. : ( That's probably been the hardest thing to swallow thus far.
Anyway, in your guys' opinions does it appear that I suffer from Reiter's Syndrome? Given the timeline of my symptoms, how far along in the disease am I? Can I still have hopes to become completely rid of this? Pending the results of my Lyme test, I have convinced my pediatrician to begin prescibing me antibiotics later this week.. is this what I should be doing? If not, what SHOULD I be doing. And, of course, what ELSE can I and should I be doing? Also, while I know it will be difficult to say, should I be hopeful that I can begin my freshman year of college normally early this September? I have always been involved in sports and now that high school is over I enjoy going to the gym as much as I can. Will this be a distant memory?
Another complication I wish to note.. what do you guys make of the fact that my urinary problem was COMPLETELY resolved following the three day Cipro prescription? Probably wishful thinking but is it possible that my other symptoms will clear up just as easily when I begin antibiotics later this week. I know some of you may, and rightfully so, have an issue with the fact that my blood culture is negative for bacterium. My pediatrician first ventured this guess but is it possible that the Cipro antibiotic that I took early on in my symptoms BEGAN to treat whatever bacterial infection I may have had but didn't completely take care of it resulting in my other symptoms onset 10-12 days later?
I really hope I have explained myself well and appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read all of this! I apologize once again if I am misusing this forum, I just am not familiar with it. Thank you all and stay well.
I really hope I have explained myself well and appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read all of this! I apologize once again if I am misusing this forum, I just am not familiar with it. Thank you all and stay well.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 8/7/2007 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
we know our bodies better than any one else, and our first inclination is usually the right one.  stress will probably make symptoms worse so I would try to talk yourself down a little. the bright side is-that it doesn't seem as severe as other forms of arthritis and only comes on, when there is a recent illness, and even then you may not get a bout. As for the antibiotic helping. there was a study that suggested ppl with ra had major improvement while being on a low does antiobiotic so maybe that's why it got better.
We don't have control over everything, but we have control over getting plenty of rest, eating right, and taking whatever is prescribed to get us back on track. From what i read quickly is many ppl go on to lead normal lives never having to deal w/ reactive.ra but a few times, then some have it their whole lives. keep positive and keep us posted:)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1179
   Posted 8/7/2007 7:47 PM (GMT -6)   
hi and welcome to our forum. although i do not have an answer for you at this time i am certain someone , like erin, will be along sooner than later to give you advice on the matter.
you hit a soft spot for me as my 18 y/o daughter will be soon traveling to northeastern in boston and as a mother i can only imagine how concerned yours must be. dont give up your dream as a PT i am an OT and although my RA didnt hit me til my adult life i still can practice in my field. please let us know your test results as even though i dont know you i am a mom and i do care
good luck and someone with better knowledge or who has your poss dx will come along sooner that later! hang in there
momma yally

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7314
   Posted 8/9/2007 12:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Skwirl. I do think that you are going in the right direction. The eye redness would make me consider iritis or uveitis rather than conjunctivitis and it should be followed up on by an Eye Doc. Your ped just doesn't have the equipment to get a good look into your eyes. It might also be prudent to have a consult with a pediatric Rheumatologist too.

I have a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis and my symptoms began in childhood. Through my teens, I had all sorts of awful problems with my knee and my shoulders weren't so hot either. Finally, at 19, I had exploratory knee surgery and all they found was chronic synovitis. At 24, I had shoulder surgery for a non-existant rotator cuff tear. All they found that time was inflammation. Too bad they never put the pieces together to get me appropriately treated.

After 25+ years of untreated disease, I have very little permanent damage. That damage might have been avoided with early treatment, but without a crystal ball, I don't know that for certain. What I do know is that while I did occasionally have some problems, for the most part, I was able to exercise, participate in sports and live a pretty full, active life until the disease became more active in my late 30s. I'm even hoping that if I can finally succeed in getting the disease under control, I might go back to school for PT. I used to work in Health Care QA, but I can't sit behind a desk for 40+ hours a week anymore. I might not be able to handle the heavy duty lifting and such required for PT in an acute care setting, but I don't see why I couldn't handle it in an outpatient setting. PT would also give me the flexibility to sit when I need to and get up and move when necessary.

Facing this so close to leaving home for school must be a really scary thing. I'd suggest that once you get to school, you contact Health Services and make arrangements to find whatever Docs you may need to see for treatment this semester. That way if a problem crops up, you have someone to see without having to worry about traveling home. Hopefully, this won't last very long or have a great impact. I can't say it's going to be easy, but catching these types of problems early is half the battle. You've also found a great place to find support and info. The folks here at HW are the bestest! LOL

There's some great info on ReA available at the Spondylitis site that I frequent. Here's a link:

I hope you find your answers soon and that it doesn't interfere with school.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
 God helps those who help themselves.
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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/4/2013 1:57 AM (GMT -6)   
hello everyone I wish I could help everyone with reiters syndrome. I amd a 55 year old man and I first got diagnosted at 18 and it came on horrible to me with all the symtoms. But it was all gone in 2 years later. I had some problems from now and then just a pain. My symtoms would apear all of a sudden from 18 yrs. to 50 yrs. when I was 50 I started having lots of trouble with my joints in my body everywhere, I am at the point where I can t sleep and I hurt all the time, I had to file for perment disability my life kind of sucks.I have had two surguries in my left ankle and next week having surgury on my right ankle. When I get done with the ankles both my knees have to be replaced. I have to do this in kind of a hurry two reasons. the pain in my knees is terrible and I only have 18 months of insurance and my wifes insurance is terrible and can t aford the deductable and coinsurance. It is 3 am sorry for the spelling and grammer on pain meds.and so tired. I am a good guy I can t understand why this is happening to me.and I feal so alone and no one else out there is having the same problems.I love God but my goodness this sucks!
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