Reactive Arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome)


Reiter’s syndrome is an inflammatory reaction to an infection somewhere in the body.  It usually follows a urogenital or intestinal infection.  Symptoms of the disorder primarily involve three body systems:

  • The joints
  • The eyes
  • The urinary or genital tract


Reiter's syndrome is triggered by certain infections in a genetically susceptible person.  The infection often starts in the urinary or genital tract, and is usually caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.  Chlamydia is passed between people through sexual activity.

The infection can also begin in the digestive system.  In these cases, the infection occurs after eating food tainted with bacteria, usually Shigella ,Salmonella , Yersinia , or Campylobacter .

About 1 to 4 weeks after the infection, a susceptible person may develop Reiter’s syndrome.  Doctors do not know why some people develop the disease and others do not.  However, most patients with the condition carry a specific genetic factor called HLA-B27 (or the B27 gene).

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.  Risk factors for Reiter's syndrome include:

  • Family members with Reiter's syndrome
  • Inheriting the genetic trait associated with Reiter’s syndrome (HLA-B27)
  • Sex: male
  • Sexual orientation: homosexual or bisexual man
  • Age: 20 to 40
  • Having a sexually-transmitted disease
  • Recent new sexual partner
  • Eating improperly handled food

Reiter's syndrome is considered a type of arthritis that is reactive.  Individuals suffer from arthritic symptoms, urethritis that is nongonococcal based, skin lesions, and even conjunctivitis.

This syndrome is actually considered a group of inflammatory based conditions that directly affect the joints, the eyes as well as the urethra of the body.  Most all patients will experience some type of skin complications such as sores and in many cases; the mucus membranes of the body are affected.  In this guide, you will learn important facts pertaining to Reiter's syndrome.

  • An inflammatory condition resulting from an infection   the primary symptom is arthritis, particularly in ankles, knees, feet and hips.  Other symptoms of reactive arthritis can include low-grade fever, malaise, low back pain, erythema, photophobia,  eye  pain,  conjunctivitis, uveitis, tendinitis, tenosynovitis, urethritis, mouth ulcers and skin rashes.  Reiter's syndrome includes (arthritis, conjunctivitis and urethritis).
  • Symptoms generally begin seven to 14 days after the infection that triggers the disease.
  • Reiter's syndrome may get better on its own, (after months or years), but it can become chronic or even life-long.

How can Medical Marijuana Help Reactive Arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome)

Cannabis is an immune system modulator, an anti-inflammatory.  Cannabidiol (CBD) suppresses immune response, improves mobility, and reduces inflammation and morning stiffness.  When THC metabolizes, it turns into a compound called CT-3.  CT-3 has analgesic effects.  Ajulemic acid (non-psychoactive cannabinoid), reduces joint and tissue damage.  Taking cannabis as an adjunct treatment reduces the patient’s usage of NSAIDS.


The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and treat any underlying infectIon.  Treatment may include antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications/NSAIDs (ibuprofen/Motrin or Advil, naproxen/Naprosyn), acetaminophen (Tylenol), intra-articular steroid injection, and/or physical therapy.  Immuno-suppressive medications may be recommended for severe cases. Cannabis Oil taken orally can relieve most symptoms. 

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