Gout is a complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. However, men are much more likely to get it than women. Women are much more likely to experience attacks of gout following menopause. Gout is characterized by sudden and extreme attacks of redness, pain, and a general tenderness in the joints- most often the base of the big toe. An acute attack can wake you up in the middle of the night with a sensation that your big toe is on fire. The joint will be swollen and hot and so tender that even the sheet is intolerable.
Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Most of the time, the signs and symptoms of gout are acute, and suddenly come on, usually at night without any sort of warning. The signs and symptoms include the following:
Intense Pain in Joints
Most of the time, gout will affect the large joint of your big toe. However, it can also occur in your ankles, feet, hands, knees, and even wrists. The pain is usually most severe within the first 12-24 hours after it starts.
Discomfort that Lingers
Once the most intense pain subsides, you may find that you have some discomfort for a few days to a few weeks. Later attacks will most likely last longer and affect more of your joints.
Redness and Inflammation
The joint that is affected will be red, tender, and swollen.
If you have an attack of sudden, intense joint pain, you should call your doctor immediately. If left untreated, gout can lead to joint damage and worsening pain. Also, if you experience a fever and a joint is inflamed and hot, that could indicate infection- see your doctor.
Causes of Gout
When urate crystals collect in your joint, the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack occurs. Urate crystals result from high levels of uric acid being present in the blood. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines, substances found naturally in your body and certain foods such as herring, organ meats, anchovies, mushrooms, and asparagus.
Under normal circumstances, the uric acid will dissolve in your blood and then pass through your kidneys to your urine. However, in some cases, your body will either produce too much or your kidneys will secrete too little of this uric acid. When this occurs, the uric acid builds up, forming extremely sharp urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue and cause pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Natural Treatments for Gout
Though gout is extremely painful, it is very treatable. Additionally, there are steps you can take to lower your risk for a recurrence of gout.
First of all, in order to alleviate your symptoms of gout, you’ll need to change your eating habits. You want to stop eating all processed foods, grains, and refined sugars. These things can result in inflammation within your body- also, your body is much healthier overall without them.
Buy some black cherry juice and drink it every day. You can find it as a concentrate and drink it just like that. It has been proven that cherry juice helps to lower uric acid levels in the body.
Purchase some digestive enzymes and make sure to take them with every meal as well as in between meals. You should start off slowly and build your way up. These enzymes will help to break down the food particles.
Get some essential oils, such as cypress, grapefruit, or hyssop. These are anti-inflammatory oils. Choose one and add two to three drops to two teaspoons of a carrier oil, such as vegetable or olive oil. You should never overdo the essential oils and you should always make sure to use a carrier oil. Simply massage it onto the inflamed, painful area.
Another wonderful DIY remedy to have on hand is castor oil. It works to pull out inflammation, especially when you use it as a compress. Wet a cotton cloth and then put a liberal amount of castor oil on it. Apply it to the affected area. Then, place a dry cloth on top of the wet one. Finally, on top of the dry cloth, place a heating pad as hot as you can stand it. Relax with this compress for around 20 minutes every few hours- if necessary, you can do this more often.
Do a foot bath. Get a pan and add some warm water, a cup of Epsom salts, and one to two drops of essential oils. If the gout is affecting a different part of your body, you can take a full-body bath using this same recipe.
Things to Remember
If you’re experiencing a flare up of your gout, you should avoid consuming organ meats, seafood, red meats, or legumes. If you find that you experience frequent flare-ups of gout, you should eliminate these foods form your diet completely.
You should never use essential oils straight from the bottle. Always dilute them using water or some other carrier oil, such as vegetable or olive oil.
You should always see your doctor if the flare-up is accompanied by a fever or if you have other symptoms. The fever could indicate an infection and other symptoms could indicate a more serious condition. However, know that you do not have to reach for prescription medication to treat your gout in all cases. You can use some of these natural treatments to get your gout under control.