Natural treatments for Gout

Gout is a metabolic disease in which deposits of uric acid (crystals) develop in the joints, connective tissue or both.   As your uric acid levels rise, uric acid crystals  build up in the spaces between the joints and connective tissues resulting in stiffness and pain in the joints.   A type of inflammatory arthritis,  gout affects more men than women.   Women are more likely to suffer from gout after menopause.

Symptoms of Gout

Gout is often referred to as feet or toe disease. This is because one of the most common symptoms of gout is severe pain in the big toe or feet.   Gout can also affect other joints such as the ankles, knees, wrist, fingers, elbows and hands.   Other symptoms of gout include:

  • Gout first appears as nodules or ‘tophi’ in the joints of the hands, elbows and ears
  • There is often no warning of a gout attack which  can last for a few hours to over a week. Gout attacks often happen in the night or the early hours of the morning.
  • Gout pain  is characterized by a warm or hot feeling accompanied by swelling of the affected joints.
  • During a gout attack, the joint or area around the joint may become red or even purple in color.
  • As the pain and swelling subside, you are left with peeling and itchy skin around the affected area.
  • Fever can occur in some people  during the gout attack.
  • Gout makes the joints stiff which can severely restricting mobility.
  • In some cases, there are no visible symptoms of gout. It is these cases that are more likely to develop into chronic gout, as they tend to remain untreated.

Causes of Gout

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood.  When eating foods rich in purines such as organ meats, yeast, and oily fish, the body breaks down the purines and produces uric acid. Normally uric acid is flushed out of the body through the kidneys by urinating.  However, if the body is producing too much uric acid for the kidneys to process, the levels of uric acid can rise dramatically, creating  hyperuricemia. The resulting buildup of uric acid crystals  around the joints and connective tissues results in severe inflammation and pain. Other causes of gout and risk factors include:

  • Heredity:   If your parents or other members in your family have gout, you are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Preventive measures such as changing your diet and reducing  alcohol consumption can help delay the onset of gout.
  • Gender and age:   Gout affects a larger percentage of middle-aged men. Men have higher levels of uric acid in the body as compared to women and this may be why this happens. Where women are concerned, gout cases are primarily found in post-menopausal women.
  • Alcohol Use:    Drinking alcohol especially beer is said to cause gout. Yeast is considered the culprit  here as a diet heavy with yeast-based products may also lead to gout. Alcohol also interferes with the removal of uric acid in the body and therefore leads to high levels causing gout.
  • High Protein Diet:    Having a diet that mainly consists of red meats, organ meats and oily fish can make you more susceptible to the development of gout.
  • Lack of exercise Obesity is also linked to the development of gout. A regular exercise routine can help boost immunity and prevent obesity.
  • Medical conditions If you suffer from other diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you may be more predisposed to developing gout.
  • Medication:  Certain medications could cause a rise in uric acid levels in the body. Studies show that diuretic drugs used to treat high blood pressure, anti-rejection drugs used after transplant surgery and even aspirin can increase the level of uric acid in the body and cause gout.
  • Research indicates that some people may have an enzyme defect that could interfere with the body’s natural ability to break down purines and create uric acid. This could also lead to gout.
  • A prolonged exposure to lead can cause gout as well.
  • High fructose Corn Syrup:  Studies have proven that eating a diet high in fructose or corn syrup  or consuming drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup,  such as soft drinks, can significantly increase risk of gout in both men and women.

Natural Remedies for Gout

There are many natural remedies to assist in managing the pain and inflammation of a gout attack.   The following is a list that you can try:

  • According to research cherries can be very helpful, both for the treatment of gout and as a preventative.  There are multiple options available  such as  drinking cherry juice, taking
    cherry capsules or just eating them daily.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – many people report that 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with the mother  (Braggs is the brand I use) stops the pain from gout and prevents future attacks.  The best way to take it is with 8 ozs of water.  You can sweeten with organic honey if you like.  Suggested dose is am/pm.  If you are in an active attack, you can take it  up to 3 times daily.  People have also reported that soaking the inflamed joint in vinegar or even rubbing it on the sore joint brings quick relief from the pain.
  • Cold pressed castor oil can be very helpful in treating the pain and inflammation from a gout attack.  The best way to use  it is to make a “castor oil pack”.  Use a clean cotton cloth ( I like to use cloth diapers) Rub the castor oil over the inflamed joint and then place a piece of material soaked in castor oil over the joint.  Wrap that in plastic (old newspaper wrappers are great but saran wrap works well to) and then wrap in an ace bandage.  It is helpful to apply a heating pad or hot water bottle over the pack.  You can leave them in place over nite if you like.  The pain relief from doing this can be profound.   This treatment can be helpful for any type of tendonitis or arthritis.
  • Baking Soda and Lemon Juice – Mixing baking soda and lemon juice creates a drink that has a near-perfect pH of seven, and reduces the risk of raising the blood pressure in those who are sensitive, according to the book “The pH Miracle.” However, if you take medication for high blood pressure, you are still advised to speak to your health practitioner or doctor first before using this method of treating gout.  To create the mixture, pour 2 tbsp. lemon juice into a tall glass and add 1/2 tbsp. baking soda to the juice, allow it to foam and fizz until the mixture is completely flat, which may take up to 3 minutes. Add 6 to 8 oz. of water and drink immediately. The mixture should not taste salty or lemony, but rather like flat water. Because this drink has a pH of approximately seven, it will neutralize an acidic pH in the blood stream and in some cases, may bring instant pain relief. You can repeat this mixture throughout the day as needed up to a total of six times or a total of 3 tsp. of baking soda daily. Do not use this mixture for maintenance, only during an acute attack. Check with your health practitioner before using this mixture.

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