Reiter’s Syndrome

Reiter’s Syndrome can also be known as ‘Reactive Arthritis’

In its full blown form it will consist of a triad of conditions namely; urethritis, arthritis and conjunctivitis and was named after Hans Reiter who first described this triad. It is more common in men and may be self limiting, but will often frequently occur or gradually worsen so that some sufferers will end up with a disabling arthritis, heart disease or
impaired vision.

To understand the possible treatments for this type of disease it is necessary to understand the background because as you have no doubt discovered simply taking anti-inflammatory drugs does not necessarily end the cycle. The pain will often disappear only to return else -where in the body.

Reiter’s syndrome usually occurs following infection of the urinary tract or intestine.
Often the infecting agent (bacteria) will be Shigella flexneri, Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella. Enteritidis, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter or Chlamydia trachomatis. I have seen one reference to Streptococcus viridians also been included in this group.

These are all intracellular living micro-organisms that are capable of causing arthritis.

They tend first to affect mucosal areas. The intestinal mucosa should function as a
barrier to prevent gut bacteria invading the body’s tissues but the fact that these entero-bacteria are capable of penetrating the host’s cells by various pathways is evident by the fact that several investigators have detected antigens to these bacteria in synovial fluid of patients with Reiter’s syndrome and Reactive Arthritis.

Not everyone that becomes infected with these organisms develops an arthritic condition and although the reason for this is still unclear it is thought that in some people the infecting organism is not properly eliminated. These people tend to be those that test positive to a specific human leucocyte antigen (HLA), labelled B27. This has been termed the ‘host factor’.
Not alot of help perhaps once you have Reiter’s Syndrome!

However eliminating these entero-bacteria from the gut, improving the condition
of the guts mucosa and therefore the overall immune status of the gut and the
body, can definitely help.

The use of a good probiotic is the first step in correcting the gut flora.
Probiotics will improve the immune system by: normalizing gut microbiology, decreasing gut permeability, eradicating pathogens, enhancing IgA responses, stimulating T cell populations and helping maintain tolerance to food antigens and non pathogenic enteric organisms.

Not all probiotics are considered the same. Although there are many commercially available strains, only a few have been demonstrated effective in human clinical trials. There are also many different strains of ‘Lactobacillus’, just because a product has ‘Lactobacillus’ on its label does not necessarily mean it is going to reach your gut or if it
does it may not necessarily do lot of good.

Some proven strains of Probiotics that could help greatly in this instance would be: Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM strain, which restores gut flora in the small intestine. and improves resistance to infection.
Bifidobacteria lactis HN019 strain which improves gut immunity (by normalising T helper cell responses) and
Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 strain which improves immunity by increasing natural killer cell responses and phagocytic activity.
Lactobacillus plantarum 299V strain also helps improve immune status and may also be useful in osteoarthritis and other autoimmune conditions.
See page on Probiotics.

Colostrum can also make a great improvement to the integrity of the gut.

Also the use of herbal anti-inflammatory preparations is useful and can reduce the dependence on other drugs. There are a number of these on the market, including Turmeric, Tart Cherry and others.

I have also seen nice improvement in people using a combination of Vitamin B12 and Potassium Iodide to help relieve nerve pain and boost flagging energy levels.
If you are unsure what to use send your details to Ask Alison.

Also I have found that the use of herbs such as Reishi mushroom, products containing Oregano oil, Artemisia, Allicin (from garlic), or other anti-bacterial herbals can greatly reduce the incidence of infection and my own observations have been that joint pain is then also reduced.

See page on Rheumatoid Arthritis’ for more information and treatments.

Up-dated March 2017