Reiters of the Storm
July 24, 2007 8:05 PM   Subscribe

So I just found out I might have Reiter's syndrome. Please tell me how big a deal this is, what your personal experiences might be and what I should do next.

My back has been hurting, I've had some urethritis (but tested negative for all STDS) and then, when it couldn't get worse, my vision started getting cloudy. My doctor is currently beginning the long series of tests to see if it's Reiters.

My question is: if it IS Reiters, what's that gonna be like?

The reading I've done says you get it either through food poisoning or sexual activity. And it can be chronic or never come back. So does that mean I've got a lifetime STD now? Do I need to call my partners and tell them to go to the doctor and get tested (even though it's a tough syndrome to prove or check for).

This question will be anonymous so any followup questions aren't going to be answered. I hope I've been thorough because I need some help and advice and my doctor seems a little out of his depth. I'm setting appointments with a specialist but anything I could know now would help me with the stress.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Reiter's is more commonly known as reactive arthritis these days. You've got the triad of symptoms. Most people only have the urethritis after the initiating chlamydia or dysentery and then move on to random arthritis pain. It will probably go away. Remember, the chlamydia or dysentery was only an environmental trigger for an auto-immune disorder. It's a good bet that you have the hbla-27 gene that is responsible for ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis.
You don't have an STD. You will however either have to visit a rheumatologist for the rest of your life or hope that it goes into remission. Both are possibilities. I have had a very similar form of arthritis for 15 years and manage just fine.
posted by machaus at 8:24 PM on July 24, 2007

IANAD but I work in STD, and my understanding is that Reiter's can be a result of untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea, which, though STDs, are bacterial STDs, which means that the STDs themselves can be cured with antibiotics.

So, if your Reiter's was caused by untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea, the infections themselves can be cured if they're even still an active, which they may not be. The Reiter's, I understand, is usually chronic.
posted by tristeza at 8:28 PM on July 24, 2007

There are good pain meds for RA when you have flare-ups, you will get used to watching for the signs and will take them when needed. Your rhumatologist will be your friend, make sure you're happy with the one you're sent to. This will be an important relationship in your life. Probabaly 6 monthly visits after the initial treatment plan is established, or depending on your medical system s/he may liase with your family doctor for the routine stuff.
posted by Wilder at 4:01 AM on July 25, 2007

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