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.