While there are several legitimate home remedies for gout, prescription medications remain the primary treatment for gout.
Anyone who has experienced a gout attack knows that it can be excruciating, causing redness, fever, soreness, and swelling of the joints. Gout, a form of arthritis, usually affects the joints of the feet, ankles, or knees. In about half of the cases, it affects the big toe, making it impossible to wear shoes. Even lightweight sock fabric can be irritating.
Because the pain of a gout attack can be so intense, people with the condition often try something to get relief, which has led to a boom in so-called home remedies for gout.
Home remedies for gout
While there are several legitimate home remedies for gout, prescription medications remain the mainstay of treatment for gout. Both during an acute attack and in the long term, to reduce gout attacks in the first place.
Your body during a gout attack
The symptoms of gout occur when excess uric acid in the body forms crystals in the joints. The body treats these crystals as a foreign body and attacks them with leukocytes. White cells, in turn, release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines into the joint fluid. Cytokines bring in more white cells, and things move on.
The best way to treat a gout attack
Gout flares can last up to 10 days or longer and often go away on their own after a week or two, but medications will speed up healing and prevent future flare-ups.
Standard treatments for a gout attack include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Colchicine, which reduces uric acid build-up.
In 98 percent of patients, one of these drugs will neutralize an attack.
Home remedies for instant gout relief
There are several effective home remedies for a gout attack that can be used in addition to medications. This includes:
- Rest the joint.
- Use ice packs to reduce swelling.
- Drink cherry juice.
Cherry juice is rich in vitamin C, which causes uric acid to be excreted in the urine, but the effect is mild compared to some of the available medications for gout attacks. Cherry juice can also increase your risk of kidney stones. The juice should not be used by those who are predisposed to it.
Doctors caution against relying solely on home remedies for quick gout pain relief instead of medication. Because the longer you wait, the longer it will take for your gout to heal.
The good thing about treating a sudden onset of gout immediately is that you can take your medication for a very short time. You should see a 50 percent improvement within 24 hours after the attack is treated. If you don’t see any such improvement, you need to rethink what you are doing and consult your doctor about a different approach.
Home remedies for long-term gout relief
The American College of Rheumatology recommends several lifestyle changes to prevent future gout attacks:
1) Lose weight if needed. Being overweight can raise uric acid levels and put pressure on your joints.
2) Eat a low purine diet. Another effective way to lower your uric acid levels is to follow a low purine diet.
Purines are organic compounds that break down into uric acid. Eating a low purine diet means avoiding the “big four” – alcohol, shellfish, red meat, and various high fructose syrups.
Limiting these foods is also good for heart health, and people with gout are at a higher risk of heart disease.
But don’t overdo it with dietary changes to relieve gout pain. You can find lists of thousands of different foods to avoid if you have gout. These recommendations are impossible to follow and can be maddening.
Coping with your first gout attack
After the first attack of gout, you can try to prevent another only with dietary changes. But if you have a new attack, it’s important to start taking regular gout preventive medications on a regular basis. Long-acting medications for gout include allopurinol and febuxostat, which limit the production of uric acid.
Some patients see each seizure as a separate event and do not talk to their doctors about preventive measures. It’s like lighting a matchbox. If you have one match lit it is easy to extinguish it, but if you have the entire box lit it is much more difficult.
Be careful with supplements for gout
As for the many supplements and other purported home remedies available for gout, including turmeric and bromelain, there is currently no substantial evidence to support them, and there is not enough evidence that supplements have any effect, even comparable to that of drugs.