What do you do during a gout attack?
It’s the holidays and temptation comes calling, saying “eat me, eat me” or “drink me, drink me” and since you are human and not perfect, you stumble and cave in to temptation, only to find yourself suffering from a gout attack at 3 o’clock in the morning. Now comes the hard part of how to deal with this attack and how to stop the pain. Well lucky for you, I’ve been around the block a few times so here are my tips.
First of all, gout attacks come with warnings in the form of a burning, itching or a tingling feeling in the joint and this occurs usually an hour or two before the gout flare-up begins. But I’ve experienced those feelings a day or two before as well, so pay attention to your joints where gout attacks keep reoccuring and learn your body’s signals. Your joint may feel a bit sore or a little stiff and when the gout attack strikes, you’ll most likely have severe pain, swelling and redness in the affected joint, usually the big toe but can also be your knee, elbow, wrist or ankle. It hurts so much that anything that touches the joint feels so painful that you can’t even bear the pain of your bedsheets touching the inflamed joint. A gout attack can last anywhere from hours to days if treated quickly but left untreated can last for weeks. To best mitigate the pain, it’s best to get your gout treated within 36 hours! Some of you may also suffer from high fever and chills.
Make sure to have these handy!
What you need handy at home is some colchicine and/or some ibuprofen like Advil or Motrin. I tell my doctor to always prescribe me colchicine and have it ready during a gout attack, cause you don’t want to be stuck with your doctor being away during the holidays or away on vacation. If you are on allopurinol or febuxostat, chances are you are taking a certain dose daily as a long-term uric acid lowering therapy, so you always have that medication handy but not colchicine, since it’s widely used to treat gout attacks and then the medication is stopped after you feel better.
Colchicine is effective when taken within 12 to 24 hours after your gout attack. Colchicine can be a cause to major gut problems if taken in a high dose and is important to follow your doctor’s recommended dose. For most people, this means taking no more than two to four tablets a day. Got no colchicine? Then ibuprofen is a must since it’s available at your local pharmacy over-the-counter. Take it to remove the edge off your pain, it makes it much easier to walk around while you wait to visit your doctor to prescribe you colchicine, NSAIDs or provide you with other advice and medication depending on the severity of your gout. Whatever you do, do not take aspirin since it can affect your uric acid level by worsening your attack.
Some other tips
You got no colchicine and no ibuprofen? Ouff! Make sure to rest that joint as much as possible until the pain lessens. Use some cold compresses or cold packs and place it on the affected joint to lessen the inflammation for about 20 to 30 minutes several times a day. Drink lots of water, by drinking more water it will stabilize your uric acid levels, flushing the excess. Make sure to read my post on water to understand its many benefits for us gout sufferers. Aim for 8 to 16 cups of water daily. Watch what you eat, that means avoiding all of the forbidden gout foods like organ meats, seafood, alcohol especially beer, foods or beverages with high fructose corn syrup or high in purines and limit your meat intake as much as you can. I also suggest if you’re going to walk, to walk with a cane, to keep pressure off of your affected joint. I’ve done this before and helps tremendously. There are many other home remedies listed in many different posts on my website that you can check out as well.
Whatever the case may be, make sure to let your doctor know as soon as you can and if this is your first gout attack you’re gonna need to visit your doctor to run some blood tests and suggest a urate lowering therapy. If your symptoms don’t somewhat improve within 48 hours, then it’s best to call your doctor and may suggest a different treatment.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris
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