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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Symptoms usually appear within a few weeks after someone has had chlamydia or a diarrheal infection. Most people feel a little tired and have a slight fever, although a few have high fever, significant fatigue and weight loss. Other early symptoms include muscle aches, joint stiffness, and low back pain radiating into the buttocks or thighs. Back discomfort usually gets worse when you sit or lie still and gets better when you move around. Arthritis begins abruptly and usually affects one or several joints, especially the knees, ankles, feet or wrists. People often have pain at the back of an ankle or tenderness on the bottom of a heel (from inflammation at the spot where a tendon attaches to a bone).

Symptoms vary depending on what other areas of the body are inflamed:

  • Arthritis Joint pain; swelling; limited motion, especially of the ankles, knees, feet and less commonly of the wrists, fingers or other joints; tendon pain; low back pain; swelling in a finger or toe

  • Conjunctivitis Redness near an eyelid with sticky discharge from the eye, especially in the morning (usually mild and temporary)

  • Uveitis Redness near the iris of the eye, pain (especially when exposed to light), blurred vision

  • Urethritis Painful urination, a discharge from the penis or vagina

  • Dermatitis Painless or painful sores in the mouth, a scaly rash on the soles of the feet, inflammation at the tip of the penis

Other symptoms are more rare, including inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), bladder (cystitis) or heart lining (pericarditis) and leaking of the aortic valve.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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