A person with reactive arthritis probably will need to see several different types of doctors because reactive arthritis affects different parts of the body. However, it may be helpful to the doctors and the patient for one doctor, usually a rheumatologist (a doctor specializing in arthritis), to manage the complete treatment plan. This doctor can coordinate treatments and monitor the side effects from the various medicines the patient may take. The following specialists treat other features that affect different parts of the body.
- Ophthalmologist (treats eye disease)
- Gynecologist (treats genital symptoms in women)
- Urologist (treats genital symptoms in men and women)
- Dermatologist (treats skin symptoms)
- Orthopaedist (performs surgery on severely damaged joints)
- Physiatrist (supervises exercise regimens)
At the beginning of an examination, the doctor will probably take a complete medical history and note current symptoms as well as any previous medical problems or infections. Before and after seeing the doctor, it is sometimes useful for the patient to keep a record of the symptoms that occur, when they occur, and how long they last. It is especially important to report any flu-like symptoms, such as:
These symptoms may be evidence of a bacterial infection. Doctors sometimes find it difficult to diagnose reactive arthritis because there is no specific laboratory test to confirm that a person has reactive arthritis.