Gout is a condition in which the body cannot efficiently eliminate a certain cellular breakdown product called uric acid from the blood. Under certain circumstances this uric acid settles out of the blood as tiny crystals in joint or tendon fluid, causing severe pain, swelling and redness of the affected joint. This is called a "gout attack." It commonly affects the foot or great toe, but can occur in almost any joint or fluid filled sac.

Risk factors for developing gout include being male and having a relative with gout, or taking certain medications such as diuretics. Eating protein rich foods may also contribute.

Treatment of gout consists of controlling the pain as quickly as possible and resuming normal activities. Taking measures to prevent further attacks becomes important, especially so when the episodes are occurring more frequently.

Home Care for Gout

  • During an acute attack, rest the affected joint or body part as much as possible. Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses per day) and avoid alcohol.

  • Take your medication(s) exactly as prescribed, as gout remedies can have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Those medications most commonly used are:

  • Indomethacin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory pain medication. It should not be used if you have a sensitive stomach or history of bleeding ulcers or kidney disease. Nor is it advised if you are taking certain blood thinners such as Coumadin. (Many other similar drugs can be substituted for Indomethacin).

  • Colchicine, which stops inflammation by affecting the white blood cells. It works well, but can cause severe diarrhea if taken in excess of prescribed doses.

  • Allopurinol, which interferes with the production of uric acid by the body. This medication is generally not used during an acute attack, but may be useful later as a preventative measure. It can cause an allergic rash in some people.

  • Prednisone, a cortisone medication, is sometimes recommended.

  • Dietary measures have limited value, but avoid excess intake of red meat and animal organs such as liver and kidneys.

  • Be sure to follow-up with your primary care physician for further help in controlling this condition, particularly if you are taking other medications.


Call or Return If Any of the Following Occur:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea that does not stop after discontinuing the medication.

  • Fever greater than 101° F

  • Skin rash

  • No improvement in 48 hours

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