Sunday, October 09, 2005

Gout - what to do

I've now had really rather severe gout for 15 days. In the first week I went to work and walked on it which I think caused it to remain painful for longer ... and earlier this week it increased the swelling and pain levels to the point I couldn't put my boot on. Really.

So, here I am, over two weeks later, taking drugs, not leaving the house and doing all sorts of other home cures. Tonight though, about an hour ago (4:30am) I decided to do a bit of deep Google searching because I'm about sick of it.

warm or cold -- For the last 5 days I've been spending a lot of my time with a cold compress against the swollen bit, the bit that is radiating heat like as if it were Dungeoness power station. This made sense. It's hot so treat it with cold. Make heat go away with ice (the cold compress, incidentally, has been a bag of Bird's Eye 'Wok' stir fry vegetable that has been in my freezer for ages and just wasn't gonna get used, I tend to eat fresh natural stuff see).

Google tells me I am potentially wrong. It suggests that arthritis (gout full name: Gouty Arthritis) is best helped with warm baths and hot packs against the affected area. This seems counter-intuitive to me. I've been avoiding hot baths this past fortnight.

Bloody painful -- What Google has confirmed is the fact I'm not jus whinging because it seems that gout really is considered to be very very very painful. I can concur. I found some talk about crystal deposits forming a line in the joint and actually pricking into it too ... which could perhaps explain the sharp cutting blade-like feeling I get sometimes. Very unusual pain.

Pleased to see too that others report the pain to be so severe that even if a blanket gently brushes over a gout affected area, it causes pain. Always good to hear similar symptoms from others.

Food to eat or avoid -- Interesting this one. When I was diagnosed with gout last year the doc said "You could avoid anchovies, beer, marmite ... but food avoidance doesn't make that much difference to gout".

This is a crap thing to hear because it makes you feel a bit out of control. I have to say though, I disagree with him. My first big gout attacks 10 years ago and ever since always occurred after christmas. I don't indulge greatly on beer n'stuff at christmas but I do love mince pies, chocolate and cold meats.

Certainly Google tells me that eating lots of meat can cause gout. Anything with high levels of protein creates uric acid when the body metabolises it. Anchovies and sardines have high levels of protein and hence will cause higher levels of uric acid waste in the bloodstream, for instance. Not that I'd flipping touch that muck! But you can see that perhaps after christmas cold hams and turkey, gout could well kick in. Makes sense. My findings this night tell me I should only have one portion of meat a day. So, there ya go, I'm being forced into vegetarianism!

Cherries are good. yoghurt is good (off out to get cherry yoghurt later). I've been drinking cherry juice the last few days anyway ... and have some frozen cherries in the freezer which I really should start eating routinely like medicine!

Large amounts of water is good: "an internal bath for your organs" it seems. OK so I knew that but when you see it written down ... ya know. err ... they say avoid diet sodas and tea too. Up those water levels.

Blueberries, dark berries, strawberries also can help apparently.

Drugs - Colchicine is what my doctor gave me. Due to other drugs I'm on, this is my best bet apparently when it comes to treating the pain of gout.

It causes stomach issues after a couple of days taking it. I was prepared to deal with this and have been ploughing on with the drug for almost a fortnight now. The websites say no to this though. It seems Colchicine can affect your organs so the first sign of stomach issues means STOP TAKING IT!

Paracetamol - I've been taking loads of paracetamol and Codeine-based pain relief. It seems tylanol (which I think is the same as our paracetamol) can make it worse. Hmmm. Only came across that tip once on my googlings so not sure what to think about this nor entirely sure that tylanol (which you get over the counter in the US and looks like paracetamol at any rate) is the same thing exactly. Guess it must be.

Preventitive drugs are something I don't want to get into just yet. I want to see if I can kick this into touch with a food and lifestyle change. I have to say though, I've never considered my diet to be excessively beer or protein rich. So, a downer from the start.

Moving and exercise -- haven't come across much about this. It seems to make sense that if you walk on swollen affected joints then that's a bit daft: "if it hurts, don't do it," that's what the doctors say isn't it? And it certainly bloody hurts!

However, I've not been out of the house in 6 days now. I need fresh air. I am also guessing that if this gout thing is about deposits in the joints an build-up of uric acid in local parts of the body, then maybe moving around, getting joints working, will help to disperse this?

But ... maybe I should start exercising more after this current bout goes away ... not during.

I need some thoughts and help and experience here. I just don't know what to do really.

Should I be lying down with my feet up or have a cold or hot compress while not moving or exercising but with no painkillers yet lots of cherries but no meat? I can't separate out the preventitive from the gout pain relief issues I've currently got.



Rosa Benito said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlesdawson said...

Hi Damon

Sorry to hear of your sufferings (I am allowed to use that word here?).

Don't be confused by the term "gouty rthritis": "arthritis" merely means "inflammation of the joint(s)", so you get "osteo-arthritis", "rheumatoid arthritis" etc etc; they're all joint inflammations but the causes are very different and so are the treatments. Recipes for osteo probably won't work for gout, I'm afraid.

I understand why you're worried about prophylaxis drugs, but think on: the pain and immobility you're experiencing is a signal that damage has been done. The idea of prophylaxis is to prevent or limit that damage from the start. You have to weigh the side-effects of the prophylaxes against the side-effects of the doses of curative drugs and analgesics.

Is there any charity or self-help group for gout sufferers (there I go again) you can consult for parallel experiences? Try Arthritis Care - it's run by arthritics and I have found that a huge point in its favour when it comes to Advice & Information.

At least it's a classy illness, unlike common old osteo (this is a feeble attempt to raise your morale). did you know William Pitt the Elder had gout? He had a specially designed sedan chair and a coach with a huge front extension specially for his foot. Think, if W. Pitt hadn't been distracted by gout, we might have kept America.

w1ld child said...

As stupid as it sounds hot water, be it a bath or a bowl of water could help with the pain, wet heat works better than dry heat as in a heat pad, I can't rememeber why but it does. The hot water method is something I've resorted to on many occaisions, although there have been the odd occaision I have resorted to the ice treatment in the vague hope it will numb then pain.

w1ld child said...

Oh yeah one other thing, I don't know what you mean by loads of codiene but that stuff in large amounts is bad for you. Think it's the stomach it can cause problems with but not 100% sure as my memory is not so hot.

fledchen said...

paracetamol is the same drug as what's called acetaminophen here in the U.S. Tylenol is the brand name of the first company that developed it.

Gimpy Mumpy said...

Although it doesn't sound entirely pleasant, I've also heard that a seaweed bath can help. Perhaps something from the local natural foods store?

Katie said...

Hi Damon, Sorry to hear about your ongoing pain! I agree with most of the people here that have told you to have a bath and use heat to make it go away. I get pains in my stomach a lot and swelling muscles because of my bad muscle tone.I always find a bath soothes my aching muscles and the pain in my stomach.

My favourite thing to put in a lovely bath which you might find useful is a product by Molton Brown called Hydrosoak bath crystals and comes in a blue shiny container.

Get some of that Damon and soak in the bath for at last 20 minutes to let the hydrosoak gently soothe your aches and pains away. You can buy in John Lewis or anywhere that does Molton Brown products.

My sister had some one day and when I tried I begged her to buy me some as it was heavenly! If I love it, so will you my friend!

Julia! said...

Did your doctor mention naproxen sodium as a possible medication? I know it's brand name Aleve in the States and it's commonly used for general arthritis, tends to work better than Tylenol for aches and pains. Tylenol doesn't treat inflammation, but naproxen does.

Whatever, I'm not a doctor. Hope you at least had a somewhat-happy birthday.

Gimpy Mumpy said...

Damon, if you do end up taking Naproxen, just be careful. It can cause stomach ulcers (happened to me in a pretty short amount of time). You may need a stomach acid reducer type med while taking it.

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Kevin Kennedy-Spaien said...

Hi Damon,

I hope your Gout flare is over by now. As a long-time gout sufferrer (and webmaster of a site on the topic) my research leads me to ask you a question... Do you snore?

If so, your Gout may be secondary to Sleep Apnea which can have a host of very bad effects. If you do snore and have Gout, please get Apnea screening. Many doctors aren't aware of the link, but if you DO have Apnea, a sleep mask can effectively cure your gout.

You can check out the reseach at my blog (click signature).

Best Luck!

PS: During a flare, I always liked Indocin (Indomethacin) for the pain.

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Do not take more of the medication than is prescribed for you. Propecia is habit forming. You can become physically and psychologically dependent on the medication. Do not take more than the prescribed amount.

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Albert said...

on wikipedia i read that uric acid breaks down in the presence of heat, so maybe that is why the hot baths are helpful. i'm not sure how much heat it takes to break down the uric acid, but i feel like it helps make my joint more mobile. maybe it is melting those evil uric acid crystals and dispersing them into the liquids.

Mark said...

I just got over my first bout of gout. Here are things that had no effect but I tried
Large amounts of cherries, baking soda and water, celery seed capsules, high dose vitamin C, WATER , WATER, WATER, ice packs.
My doctor put me on indomethacin and this helped after 2 full days.
My podiatrist prescribed Methylprednisolone and steroid anti inflammatory and that knocked it way way down in only hours. The next day it was almost gone and I could wear shoes again. 3 days later it's history

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Maco said...

Google has it right: you need to soak the sore extremity in a warm bath. Gout is the effect of uric acid crystals precipitating out of your bodily fluids, and that happens where it's coldest--at the end of your feet. When you heat up the limb and injured area, the uric acid goes back into solution, blood flow is enhanced, and your immediate situation is improved. Drinking plenty of water at the same time, to ensure that you are not dehydrated and to facility clearance of the uric acid from your blood, is part of the picture, too. So when you're awakened in the middle of the night by that sense that "it's coming," go get a large glass of cold water and plunk yourself down in the tub, adding water to the limit of your comfort level, with the aim of redissolving the crystals that are causing you pain.

Cold is exactly the wrong thing to apply, and will only result in more agony.

Josemartin said...

Damon. OWWWWW is all I have to say. I found your blog to be full of good info because I just came out of the doctor's office with a crappy diagnosis of gout. The indocin medication is on and off but we clearly aren't in a position to walk or drive out to get things we need. The thing that interested me most was the link between snoring and gout. I'll have to look into that. Our pain be eased.

Gordon said...

Hi Damon
Read your blog with interest as I have been an occasional gout sufferer for a number of years now. I agree, there is no pain quite like it - even a sheet lying on the infected area is intolerable. GOOD NEWS - I discovered a cure and preventative!!! Totally herbal and safe and been around for 10+ years (I started using it about 2000 when I was stuck indoors for 2 weeks and spent ages on the web looking for answers). GO TO WWW.GOUTCARE.CO.UK They are very helpful and knowledgeable. On an extreme attack I found a marked and noticeable difference in 24 hours...
I think you are UK based but they also have it in America where it originated.
Hope this helps
best wishes

Gordon McAdam (UK)

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Jeff Spencer said...

I have had gout for 10 years i could tell you all the stuff heard have heard before some works some dont. What i found to be a life saver celery seed not extract strait seed 1 cap kills pain and can releive symptoms in an hour

Doug B said...

Being a fellow gout prone individual, I have my own experiences and research to share on this topic.
When I have an attack, I begin a regimen of;
*Turmeric/Curcumin (supplement capsules)
-a natural anti-inflammatory
*Tart Cherry (supplement capsules)
Not just plain cherries, must be specifically "Tart Cherries" due to a certain chemical not present in plain old cherries.
-aids the breakdown of the uric acid
*And plenty of water.
*Avoid high-fructose corn syrup
*recently I have found recommendations for taking Vitamin C. When having an attack, keep the doses low, or it could aggravate your gout, but after the attack has ended, it has been recommended to take higher doses as regular supplemental Vitamin C to aid with uric acid clearance (removal from your system) to lower your blood levels to help reduce chances of future attacks.

When your attack is over, a regular supplemental regimen of Tart Cherry and Turmeric supplements with Vitamin C and plenty of water could help reduce your risk of future episodes.

Talk to your naturopath about recommended dosages, or do some more research online.
At least these natural supplements won't damage heart, stomach, intestines or kidneys like a pharmaceutical drug will.

Biggs123playa said...

I've suffered with gout for 5 years but was only recently diagnosed I am currently in the process of dealing with a flare up I've been prescribed preventative meds which oddly enough may make it worse to begin with my foot feels like it's going to blow my toes off which oddly may provide relief I also have gout in my hands and elbows also hips I have found a diet change although recommended for other things has not been helpful in the gout area it's a disabling disease in my opinion I can't even walk to get my son milk laying down hurts sitting hurts and walking is well impossible I soak in a hot bath when my foot flares 2 or 3 times a day this provides only temporary relief as for other joints I'm yet to find any relief in short HELP

60+survivor said...

I am aware of having gout for 6 years now and the pain from it is the best incentive to learn how to deal with it. These are the things that work for me when I get a gout attack:


A warm bath, as warm as you can stand. I have tried adding Epsom salts but they don't seem to make a difference.

Drink lots of water.

Get in the habit of doing exercise.

But when I misbehave or indulge too much, I take colchicine until I upset my stomach (diarrhea) and then I quit taking it.


Stay away from chocolate, carbonated soft drinks and anything with high fructose corn syrup and/or fructose in general.

Stay away from beer and alcoholic drinks.

Stay away from high purine foods, the higher the purine level the less you can aford them.

Aspirin makes it worst.

Pip Bull said...

Hello friend. As an occasional self diagnosed gout sufferer I feel you pain..literally. One thing I have found extremely helpful is cutting refined sugar out. I did this by 80% and lost a good 15 pounds too. Since then the only gout attack I had was from a sprained ankle. I do a few non traditional things like massaging affected area with a high power massager to break the crystals down

ChumleyEX said...

Turkey man, that and how some foods are prepared. I have it too and pain is what it does.

Watch your Turkey intake.

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Ra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ra said...

2015-June (left toe; normal weight) I'm 16 days into a gout flare probably after injury(dropped fridge on left toe) or sugary drink cans. Have had 2 previous attacks 2nd January 2012(right toe) when very stressed, overweight not obese; June 2012 (right toe) after injury (salad salmon diet/normal weight); I have fractured my right leg twice. Suspicion is that there are several different causes of gout: past injury; current injury; sugary diet. Obviously, a predisposition is required too. Colchicine gives me flu symptoms, headaches. Being disabled for so long is a terrible for work/business. NSAIDs give me ulcers (probably because I never took enough water with them when I had fractured legs). This all sucks. I fear that gout implies other health problems and probably a short life expectancy. I suspect the fear is borne out of the severe pain. I have never had a rich lifestyle although I used to eat a lot of heart during 2008-2010.
Sorry 2nd flare was June 2012 then I embarked on a salmon salad diet with 2x fresh lemon juice & had no gout until June 2015 following either/or injury (gout in right toe for the first time)/sugary drinks/6 mths off salad diet onto normal (crap) diet.

I have only taken colchicine for June 2015 attack, never any painkillers but I now give up and plan to risk allopurinol because diet apparently can only effect 10% of body uric acid stores.

Ra said...

Exercise (to reduce recuperation time) during a gout flare should NOT include the gout attacked joint.
As soon as you feel a twinge like a 'march fracture' or you stub your toe, drink a glacier of Evian.