Preventing Gout

Avoid a future rendezvous with gout

You've had your first, or perhaps your second bout with gout. If your attacks are frequent or especially painful your doctor might want to prescribe further medication to prevent a recurrence. You might also consider whether it might be prudent to make certain lifestyle changes to stave off future rendezvous with the intense pain of gouty arthritis.

Two routes to take

In terms of preventative gout medication there are two basic routes to take. There are medications that block uric acid production, effectively removing the cause of gout before it occurs. There are also medicines that improve and hasten the removal of excess uric acid from your bloodstream and body. You and your doctor will want to carefully consider these treatment options to see which one might be right for you.

Allopurinol is an effective medicine that blocks the production of urate acid. Some of the common brand names for allopurinol are Aloprim and Zyloprim. These drugs limit the amount of uric acid your body produces. Blocking the production of uric acid can give your body time to rid itself of excess uric acid, which is the primary cause of gout. Lowering uric acid levels and limiting production is the way to reduce further attacks of gout. These medications can have side effects such as lowering blood counts, and causing rashes.

Probenecid improves your body's ability to remove excess uric acid from your body, so that levels can't build and create the sharp, needle-like crystals of uric acid that form around the joints causing gouty arthritis. Probenecid works with your kidneys to help you flush out uric acid. However, while you may be removing uric acid from your system, Probenecid acts to increase uric acid within the urine. Increased uric acid in the urine is associated with higher risk of kidney stones. Other than the chance of getting kidney stones, Probenecid can cause a rash or stomach pain.

There are no specific foods to clear out uric acid from the system, but there are foods that are high in purines, the substance that when metabolized turns into the uric acid that is the cause of gout. It would seem prudent to avoid the ingestion of such foods as a way to reduce your chances of further gout attacks. Cut back on red meat and alcohol consumption, eat more low-fat dairy products, and include more complex carbohydrates in your diet, such as whole grain bread.