Pain is an alert of the body, one of the ways it has to warn that something is happening. When the joints hurt, it can be a symptom of something greater. Pain and inflammation of the joints and mucous membranes could indicate reactive or postinfectious arthritis. This inflammatory reaction, also called Reiter’s Syndrome, is a rare rheumatological disease that occurs after bacterial infection of the urinary tract or digestive system.
In addition to inflammation of the joints, this condition can cause inflammation of the urinary tract, conjunctivitis, and lesions on the skin and other mucous membranes. With such various symptoms, which may or may not all occur at once, diagnosis is sometimes difficult. The treating doctor will have to do a series of tests to determine if you have this disease. Once the diagnosis is established, different options may be considered to treat the patient, depending on the case. In FastlyHeal, we offer some t natural ratamientos for reactive arthritis. However, ask your doctor which ones would be the most appropriate in your particular case.
Causes of reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome
Reactive postinfectious arthritis, as the name implies, is an inflammation of the joints that occurs in response to infection. Symptoms appear one to three weeks after the condition occurs, which can be urinary tract infections transmitted through unprotected sex or digestive tract infections due to consumption or handling of contaminated food. Neither form of the disease is contagious, but of course, the bacteria that cause the initial condition are.
Among the bacteria that are frequently related to this condition are: Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter, in the case of gastroenteric or post-dysenteric symptoms, also called GI Reiter Syndrome; and Chlamydia and Ureaplasma in the case of sexually transmitted infections or post-venereal Reiter’s Syndrome, as it is currently called. Other germs include Pseudomonas, Clostridium, Lactobacillus, Neisseria meningitides and gonorrhea, Beta hemolytic streptococcus, and Trophyrema whippelii have also been identified as triggers of hyperresponsiveness in some patients.
In reality, doctors do not know the exact mechanism that causes reactive arthritis. They do not yet know why some people have this condition, and others do not. So far, they are tracking a genetic factor called HLA-B27, which is present in 80% of people with reactive arthritis, and only 6% of people without the condition have the allele.
It is estimated that there are 3 to 5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and that it has a higher incidence in men between 20 and 40 years of age. In specific populations, the incidence can be much higher, such as in the case of homosexual and bisexual men, whose group presents high rates of genitourinary and gastrointestinal infections. The prevalence is close to one in every 1000 cases in this segment. It is considered the most common arthritis in young men. It also affects women but less frequently and with milder symptoms. In the elderly and children, it is rare.
Treatment of reactive arthritis
Reactive arthritis is part of the group of seronegative spondyloarthropathies, which are described as conditions that share some clinical characteristics and, in some cases, are associated with the HLA-B27 gene. This group includes psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. All of these diseases affect the connective tissue, causing significant joint inflammation.
Diagnosis of reactive arthritis can be difficult, as there are no specific laboratory tests to confirm it, but it can be done based on the patient’s medical history and symptoms. Blood tests also rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
The doctor will establish the most appropriate treatment in each case, considering the patient’s age, general health, medical history, and tolerance to medications and therapies. Typically for this condition, treatment includes rest, exercise, and physical therapy to help relieve pain, improve mobility, and maintain muscle strength.
In addition, of course, to a whole range of medications that in bulk aim to fight the infection that originated the inflammation, reduce the inflammation of the affected parts and the pain, treat skin conditions, reduce the irritation of the eyes, and, in the more severe cases, suppressing the immune system so that it does not continue to attack its tissues.
On the other hand, some natural treatments for reactive arthritis can help improve the symptoms that it causes; we will show them all in the next section.
Reactive arthritis: natural treatment
People suffering from this condition can also opt for natural remedies and alternative therapies. Certain plants have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the symptoms of the disease, with the advantage that they are also easy home remedies to make since most of these plants are consumed directly, in infusion, or placed as a poultice.
Among the natural treatments for reactive arthritis that can be used are:
- The harpagofito, nail, or claw Diablo: is a plant in Africa containing specific molecules that make it a potent anti-inflammatory. From this plant, its roots are used, which are made into an infusion.
- Licorice: considered the natural cortisone, it has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Willow: from this tree, its bark is used in an infusion to obtain an anti-inflammatory effect and eliminate pain.
- Nettle: contributes to the remineralization of bones and helps reduce inflammation in the urinary tract. The itchy fluid helps treat joint pain.
- Horsetail: it is a diuretic rich in mineral salts and stimulates collagen synthesis, helping to rebuild cartilage and improve tendon flexibility.
- Linden or linden: helps reduce inflammation of the joints by increasing perspiration from the body, which causes the elimination of toxins that would otherwise accumulate in the joints. It is taken as an infusion.
- Birch: has diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is prepared as an infusion and should be taken between two and three cups a day.
- Wormwood: it is a medicinal herbaceous plant with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Capers: they are diuretics, so they help eliminate toxins. Fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate them into your diet easily.
- Lemon juice: contains vitamin C, an antioxidant, and helps maintain collagen in the body. It also contains citric acid that prevents fluid retention, helping to reduce inflammation in the joints.
- Green tea: contains antioxidant substances that improve the general state of health.
- Noni: it is rich in potassium, which contributes to cell regeneration, reduces inflammation, and improves muscle function.
- Ginger: it is taken as an infusion; it can be eaten in small pieces, powdered, or even included in salads and other dishes. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and natural analgesic.
- Apple cider vinegar also helps fight inflammation and is taken dissolved in water (a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of water). Honey can be added if the flavor is too strong.
This list is not exhaustive; many other plants can help reduce the symptoms of this syndrome. In addition, some of those above are used to take baths and make compresses that, placed on the joints, have an anti-inflammatory effect. Such is the case of ginger, nettle, and willow, which, like they are taken in infusion, are used topically and, in this way, also help with blood circulation and serve as a natural analgesic. The compressed bay leaves are another option to relieve pain and improve sleep infusion, highly recommended for insomnia.
Activities such as meditation and relaxation are known to improve the general health of patients, which is why they tend to help with arthritis symptoms. Likewise, some studies reveal a positive effect of alternative therapies such as acupuncture in people with reactive arthritis.
Diet and reactive arthritis
Much has been said about the effects of diet on general health, and in the case of arthritis, it seems to be no less accurate. Some specialists recommend that their patients radically change the way they eat. They emphasize that the intake of dairy products, processed flours, foods rich in saturated fat, pre-cooked food, and industrial pastries, among others, be reduced and even eliminated.
Similarly, consuming foods rich in vitamin E and D, calcium and Omega-3 is recommended because they are essential for bones, bone tissues, and muscles. There are many testimonies from arthritis patients who speak of their improvement with the change of diet. This change, or the consumption of vitamin supplements, is also considered a natural treatment for reactive arthritis.
Risks of reactive arthritis
The symptoms of reactive arthritis can be extremely bothersome and have a variable duration, depending on the patient’s general conditions. Most patients fully recover from the first attack two to six months after the outbreak. Others will have mild arthritis for a long time, and only some people will have severe arthritis, which is challenging to treat with permanent joint damage. In 50% of cases, symptoms reappear, and in sporadic cases, patients may have an abnormal heart rhythm or problems with the aortic valve of the heart.
If you have been diagnosed with reactive arthritis and want to try some natural treatment, we recommend you go to your doctor and consult him about these possibilities. Without a doubt, it is the most indicated to help you.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.