Other normal infections. Then R.A seems to be out of my body!

I was reading about others with throat infections etc and I wondered if anyone shared my experience.About 5 weeks ago I had urinary infection plus conjunctivitis NO RA SYMPTOMS foe over a week.when they cleared R A symptoms back to normal. My theory is my immune system was coping with the other two infections so functioned normally for that time.Ive always had to analyse everything. Does anyone else have a view on this? x

19 Replies

  • It's a tricky bugger this RA so nothing would surprise me. Personally mine is still there while my infections rage on but we all react in different ways. I can see where you're coming from though.

    Paula x

  • Thanks Paula I always need to find answers.x

  • i always like to try to understand what's going on too, but I see it slightly differently from you. If you've got an infection then your immune system would be in overdrive trying to fight it off and it's an over active immune system that creates the RA problems so to me that should mean that your RA would be worse not better? Instead I wonder whether it's more that your nervous system is fully occupied transmitting the misery of your infection to your brain so no space to tell it that your joints are still hurting? But that's just a random guess.... Hope you feel better, Polly

  • Hmm that's so interesting Nel. I'm like you and want to get to the bottom of this question of immunity. I asked my GP a while ago why I never seem to get bugs that are doing the rounds such as colds etc and yet my immune system must surely be compromised because of taking MTX.

    But strangely I am really getting it in the stomach at the moment and had what I'm sure was a sick bug a few weeks ago - the 2nd one this year. Otherwise I've had no colds or coughs since New Year and with many young coming and going they are all around me. What I wondered was whether this meant that my immune system was still overactive and not being sufficiently supressed yet by the MTX. And now with the recent short sharp sick bug and reduction in RA symptoms I've been wondering if this means that the raised dose of MTX is working more efficiently. But my GP didn't seem to think that it worked this way - but then he's not an expert in MTX as I've found out recently.

    But it also strikes me that Polly could well be right and it could be that when we are focusing on feeling horrible and fighting viruses etc we are less aware of what the RA is getting up to in the background.

    We really need a nice rheumy on here don't we?! Tilda x

  • Nel i always believed that as i have ra i wouldn't have as many infections. I was diagnosed 9yrs ago and until last xmas that statement has held true. I have had no infections at all.Since xmas it has been downhill ever since. I have no answer as to why. Today i am off to hospital to see about some help as i am in a flare.


  • Yes. wouldn't it be nice to have a rheumy "on tap"' and get to ask all the questions we forget when we see our own one. I was mulling this one over again, and now think you were probably right to start with! After all, you have a certain amount of blood, with a certain amount of white blood cells in it. And even tho' the WBC increase when you have an infection there is probably a limit to that. So if the WBC are all busy rushing around seeking out and destroying your other infections then they can't be attacking your joints?

    But generally I've been v healthy since I got RA with no infections (fingers crossed), which I put down to the fact that I look after myself better now. I'm probably the healthiest I've ever been (except for small matter of the RA of course....)


  • Hi

    Opposite for me its always my joints let me know when I am getting a virus in particular or a bit less in infection. I have bad throat again and diarrohea after my injection on Monday and my joints also bad!! Wierd!


  • I always get called Dr Carol because i will not leave a thing until i am completely satisfied, one thing the OT said last week was I was not doing myself any favors as I will never get a definitive answer to all my questions, Which stands to reason, but then what has reason got to do with anything. I am much happier if what I think is at least discussed. Which is why I love this site becausse we are all so different and we all have RA and we all react differently to Meds and we are all human....I think....

    Your point? I think initially my RA was triggered by an infection/flu from then it was all downhill....

  • I had two Rheumatologists in 2010 who told me I did not have RA (but they didn't do the definitive blood test) and put me on steroid for Polymyalgia Rheumatica, then I had Shingles and other strange viruses, then the next Rheumatologist who did the definitive test said I had it in January 2012, put me on MTX which made me very ill and scheduled me to go on Enbrel and said every doctor on earth would put me on something. Then my GP said to get another opinion. I went to a very well known clinic and the Rheumatologist who has been practising for 27 years said they treat people not numbers, and has not put me on anything. I feel fantastic. My xrays are fine. I even stopped the calcium and Vitamin D and no more leg cramps. If I get another 'flare' (not completely sure that's what I had before), they will decide what to do then, slowly. I am grateful to everyone in this site who writes about their reactions to the drugs. Thank you.

  • There is no such thing as a definitive blood test AliceDiana - only two blood tests which help make diagnosis easier that's all. You can have a positive rheumatoid factor and not have RA and also have a negative rheumatoid factor and have it - it's called sero negative. If you are really well then it may well not have been RA at all but possibly a reactive arthritis (post viral) or something similar. Many who decide to stop taking the drugs with or without support of experienced rheumatologists find that they are better for a while but then the disease returns with a vengeance but we are all different and maybe you have been super fortunate and gone into complete natural remission. Good luck I hope it continues. Tilda

  • I don't seem to catch infections now that i have r/a. I have had r/a for over 11 years and in all that time i have never had a cold or any other infection which i find strange. I think it is because my immune system is so active that it fights them all off and it is my poor joints that suffer

  • I agree, For a long time I have suspected that my over-active Immune System actually prevents me getting infections, especially Virals, the flu, colds, etc. I can get an infection in a simple cut, especially if I am unaware I have one until it gets sore with infection. Now when I know I have even nicked myself with a paring knife, I put antibiotic ointment on it and a bandaid. I can be around really sick grandkids over the years, and never get what they have.

    Sure would be great if somebody could talk their Rheumy into signing on here, to answer some of our questions, ttfn, Lxxx

  • Brilliant idea Loret we could ask NRAS if a friendly rheummy could come along and give their take on our questions

  • Interesting idea Nel,

    A bit like a distraction therapy for your antibodies you mean? Give them something else to work on and they'll leave the joints alone.

    Careful though, if there turns out to be any truth in that they'll be injecting us with bacterial infections next as a possible cure.


  • I find it varies like everything else with RA. Sometimes I get an infection and everything flares up, other times it seems better, then flares up afterwards, other times it doesn't seem to make any difference. And I've had RA for a long time now - you would think that I would notice some pattern of it being better with infections, but I haven't.

  • I think all the rheumies will be busy earning shed loads of money for doing a really onerous job with lists as long as both their arms and legs combined! Shame - any pet rheumies who want to answer this one about antibodies/ immune systems out there please come forward (they'd have to be nuts to want to unleash these flood gates though surely?!). Otherwise we are all going to become psuedo scientists - or maybe amateur sleuths would be a better description?! TTx

  • But why does this all have to be presented in such a complicated way that only doctors can make sense of it? I do truly believe that they train hard and draw on their experience hugely, and would never wish to say that they weren't the best source of advice, but it should be possible for normally intelligent people to understand just one measly disease? I do sometimes think that many prefer patients to shut up and swallow the meds we're prescribed without questioning things..... Rant over. Px

  • Well, since Science can't explain why some of us get this crummy disease, they have no idea what causes it, can slow it down but can't cure it, ...they probably can't explain our questiion either :P

  • The answer I give is that we have RA due to an over active immune system. , that is why we dont often get common colds etc .

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