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Chlamydial arthritis

Chlamydial arthritis is a complication of chronic inflammatory diseases caused by chlamydia. These diseases can include urethritis, pneumonia, prostatitis, conjunctivitis.

The causative agent of chlamydial infection affects the synovial membrane, joint cartilage and joint capsule. This disease is diagnosed in 15% of cases of infection with chlamydia.

Most often, this infection develops in the human body as a result of the penetration of its causative agent through sexual intercourse and less often, as an exception, due to the use of non-sterile instruments during surgical interventions.

Most cases of this disease develop in men. Arthritis that occurs after an infectious disease is called post-infectious and develops as a consequence of the formation of an immune complex in the joint tissues, causing inflammation.

Chlamydia themselves are not capable of destroying joint tissues, but they trigger autoimmune processes in the body, in which the immune system recognizes the “native” tissues as “hostile” and begins to attack them. This type of arthritis is a manifestation of Reiter’s disease.

This is a disease characterized by simultaneous or successive involvement of the urinary tract, mucous membranes of the eyes, joints and the reproductive system.

What are the symptoms?

Some time after a chlamydia infection has passed, this form of arthritis begins to develop into an acute phase, affecting the knee and ankle joints.

As the disease progresses, the joints of the hands and the spine are involved in the pathological process. The acute stage is characterized by the following symptoms:

• Pain in the lumbosacral region combined with muscle stiffness;
• Swelling of the affected joints;
• Hyperemia;
• Change in skin color;

If the ankle joints are affected, flat feet develops.

Acute chlamydial reactive arthritis is combined with skin inflammatory processes – a rash similar to that of psoriasis, keratoderma, hyperkeratosis, mainly on the hands, feet and scalp.

What are the complications?

Chlamydial arthritis in most cases is accompanied by complications, affecting the heart, kidneys, lungs, eyes.

Other complications of the disease are:

• Fever;
• Fatigue;
• Lack of appetite;
• Weakness;
• Thrombophlebitis;
• Pleurisy;
• Aortitis, neuritis;
• Conjunctivitis, carditis;
• Urethritis;

These comorbidities can be both short-term and long-term.

When this type of arthritis occurs, weakness, an increase in body temperature, chills, and swelling of the lymph nodes are observed.

In the advanced form of arthritis due to past chlamydial infection, cellulitis, tissue infiltration and bone-cartilage erosions develop.

Diagnosis and treatment of chlamydial arthritis

X-rays are used to make a diagnosis. This is a basic research method for this form of arthritis.

On X-rays, it is possible to observe peri-articular osteoporosis, erosion of bones and cartilage, reduction of the distances between the joint surfaces.

In the laboratory method of research, increased levels of leukocytes are detected, and the sedimentation rate of erythrocytes indicates the presence of an inflammatory process.

Treatment consists of taking antibiotics, other antibacterial drugs and non-hormonal anti-inflammatory drugs. In the acute form of chlamydial arthritis, the affected joints become stiff.

In most cases, antibiotics are prescribed, which are administered parenterally directly to the affected area. The treatment of this form of arthritis is very long and often a complete cure does not occur.

In order to increase the effectiveness of drug therapy, it can be combined with phytopreparations, since drugs made on the basis of herbs do not have side effects and the treatment can be carried out for a long time.

When permanent remission is achieved, it is recommended to undergo a course of physiotherapy procedures – mud treatment, ozone therapy, manual therapy. Therapeutic gymnastics is also useful for the joints.

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