What to Do for Gout Pain
While altering your lifestyle may reduce your gout symptoms, if lifestyle changes fail, there are also several doctor prescribed and recommended treatments for gout and gout pain relief.
Gout and gout pain is caused by a buildup of crystalized uric acid in the joints and soft tissues of the body, producing inflammatory arthritis. Uric acid is produced by the digestive breakdown of purines in food. Lifestyle changes that either reduce purine intake, such as eating fewer rich foods, or aid in the removal of uric acid from the system, such as reducing alcohol intake and losing weight, can significantly reduce mild gout symptoms and gout pain. Treating any other underlying health problems may also help reduce gout symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of gout, you should also have your physician review any prescription medication you are taking, as certain medications can exacerbate gout symptoms.
When lifestyle changes fail to resolve gout and gout pain, there are medical options. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be used to reduce the pain and swelling associated with gout. If pain persists, you doctor can recommend stronger prescription NSAIDs such as indomethacin. All NSAIDs do carry a risk of gastrointestinal pain, bleeding, and ulcers. Patients unable to tolerate NSAIDs have the option of trying colchicine, but it has a high rate of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Corticosteroids such as prednisone or cortisone can be administered either orally or as an injection to treat patients unable to tolerate both NSAIDs and colchicine. Corticosteroids are a last choice because of the dangerous side effects associated with their long term use such as bone thinning, reduced resistance to infection, and poor wound healing.
Treating the Cause
In more severe cases of gout it may be necessary to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors, including allopurinol and febuxostat reduce the body's production of uric acid. Serious side effects include rashes, nausea, and reduced liver function. Alternatively, probenecid increases the body's ability to remove uric acid from the system. Rash, stomach pain, and kidney stones are possible side effects.