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Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: joint pain & sore throat lasting 5 weeks after strep

 lmern - Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:44 pm

I had strep throat in May 2010, and took 10 days of penicillin. I felt better after the meds, but 3 days after I finished them I started to have a sore throat again, but this time it felt more like a burning pain in my throat, and I could hardly swallow my saliva. I took Motrin every 4-5 hrs for 21 days; it was the only thing that helped. When it wore off, my throat would burn again, and my joints (mainly ankles and knees) hurt. I also started having night sweats and developed pink eye in my right eye. I saw my primary care doc who did a strep culture which was negative. After 14 days of the sore throat, I saw an ENT who scoped me and said my throat looked very red and it was probably a viral infection that would go away. He sent me for a CT scan of my sinuses which were normal. On the 18th day of the sore/burning throat, I broke out with what looked like canker sores in the back of my throat. They lasted a few days and went away, and so did the pain in my joints, too. The night sweats also subsided.
I was symptom-free for 7 days, and then the sore/burning throat started again, along with the joint pain and night sweats. I don't have a fever, although the glands in my neck seem slightly swollen and tender. I have a headache once in a while, too, and my right eye is red/bloodshot. (My husband is an eye doc and checked my eyes but didn't find anything remarkable). My throat burns so bad I can barely swallow and Motrin seems to only last a few hours this time.
All of these symptoms started after I got strep in May, and I'm thinking I might be having have some type of autoimmune response. I have 2 children, ages 4 and 18 months, and I'm having a hard time taking care of them because I feel so awful all the time, and I'm tired, too. Any thoughts you have as to who I should see next (ENT again, primary doc, rheumatologist) would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure who to go to for help.
Thank you,
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:21 pm

Hello, Imern,

What a difficult and distressing situation for you! You have certainly gone beyond a reasonable time for the symptoms to resolve, so it is indeed time to seek help from a physician. Perhaps the best place to start is to see your usual physician for a complete physical examination. Did you see a physician when you had the lesions in the back of your throat? A viral episode is certainly possible, but there should be signs of improvement after 2 weeks or less. Discuss with your doctor if he or she would recommend an immunologist or rheumatologist as the next step if all of his or her findings are negative. A medication such as xylocaine viscous(which you swallow) may help your comfort level while you are waiting for your next evaluation; be sure your doctor understands how miserable this has been. If the immunologist or rheumatologist evaluation comes up negative, I would then ask to see an infectious disease specialist. You may have superimposed infections, and evaluation and treatment is obviously needed. I hope this is helpful to you.

Good luck to you.
 lmern - Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:47 pm

Hi Faye,
Thanks so much for your post. I did end up seeing a rheumatologist and he did a lot of blood work. Turns out I have mono. It's been going on for so long, but I am starting to feel better. I am still feeling fatigue, but the sore throat has been gone for 6 days now and I'm hoping I'm nearing the end. What an ordeal! I had mono when I was 19 but it presented so differently and I was only really sick for 2 weeks. But at least I know now and don't have to worry.
Thanks again!
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:48 pm

Hi Imern,

Thank you so much for your update! I'm so glad your rheumatologist was able to identify the source of your problem. Mono can be mild, moderate or severe, and it appears you've been hit with both mild in the past, and with severe in this episode. I'm pleased with your positive outcome. Great!

Keep well,

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