Proper penis care can be tricky sometimes, especially when the penis can be affected by seemingly unrelated problems. For example, if a man has penis pain, it’s not unreasonable to expect the cause to be something obvious, like a kick to the penis or a sexually-transmitted infection. But sometimes discovering the penis pain cause can be circuitous. A case in point is when that penis pain is linked to a condition known as Reiter’s syndrome.

Explaining Reiter’s syndrome

Named after a German physician who described it during World War I, Reiter’s syndrome is also known by numerous other names, including reactive arthritis, arthritis urethritica and polyarteritis enterica. It’s a form of arthritis which manifests in seemingly unconnected areas of the body.

When a person has Reiter’s syndrome, they experience the following:

- Arthritis (a stiffness or pain in the joints, especially knees, ankles, feet and wrists);

- Conjunctivitis (itchy, red inflammation of the eyes); and

- Inflammation of the urinary and/or gastrointestinal system. (In men, this typically presents as penis pain.)

Reiter’s syndrome is generally thought to occur as a reaction to an infection somewhere in the body. For example, in one medically famous case, a salmonella outbreak among police officers caused Reiter’s syndrome to show up in some of them several months later. Several bacteria are strongly associated with Reiter’s, and salmonella is one of them. So, for that matter, are the bacteria associated with chlamydia, a sexually-transmitted infection.

While bacteria are a major factor, there also seems to be a genetic factor. The current working theory is that some people are more genetically disposed to develop Reiter’s syndrome than others. When these people are exposed to the right kind of bacteria, it can trigger the development of Reiter’s.

The condition itself is therefore not contagious; however, the bacteria that trigger it can be passed from one person to another.

Penis symptoms

Penis pain is not the only discomfort that can be associated with Reiter’s. It often causes men to need to urinate much more frequently and with greater urgency. And when urinating, there is often a burning sensation, as well as some form of discharge. In some cases, a man may develop some painful feelings in the prostate as well. If the prostate pains develop into prostatitis, they will usually be accompanied by fever and chills.

In some cases, a man may also develop lesions or sores on the penis, typically on the tip. Although usually painless, they can be off-putting visually. Occasionally, other rashes may develop.


Proper diagnosis is important to begin treatment. Reiter’s syndrome cannot be cured, so the emphasis is on managing the symptoms. There are several lifestyle corrections, including getting plenty of rest and initiating exercises aimed at strengthening joints, which may be employed. Among the medications typically utilized in treating the disease are corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs. Treatment is effective in most people, although some may have recurrences.

Reiter’s syndrome is one of the less common sources of penis pain. In general, of course, the better health of the penis, the more resilient it is to common forms of penis pain - so regular application of a top notch penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is strongly advised. The best crèmes are those which contain L-carnitine. Often, a penis will lose sensation over time, especially if it is handled too roughly (even if such handling is pleasurable at the time). The amino acid L-carnitine has neuroprotective properties which can help to prevent diminishment of penis sensitivity in the often-handled penis. The finest crème should also include alpha lipoic acid. This is a potent antioxidant and as such is well-positioned to fight excess free radicals and thereby prevent damage from oxidative stress.