If you've ever experienced a gout attack, it's not an experience you're likely to forget. The sudden, searing pain may have woken you up in the middle of the night or even sent you to the ER.
But if you try to put the pain behind you and move on after a gout attack without making any changes, you're actually raising your risk for having another attack. After a flare-up, it's important to take precautions against future gout attacks.
That's why it's important to take preventive steps. See: Gout Prevention
Gout can go away...or return again and again
Gout attacks are all pretty similar, right down to the stabbing pain they cause and the location—almost always in the big toe.
See Gout Symptoms
But after the first gout attack, the condition can affect people very differently:
- Some people will go months or even years without having another gout attack—or they may never have another one again.
- Other people will begin to experience flare-ups regularly. Eventually, they can become frequent and long-lasting. Chronic gout develops and permanent joint damage is possible.
There's no way of knowing what your future with gout will look like, so it's worth your time and energy to make changes that can help you avoid another painful attack.
3 Steps you can take to prevent a gout flare-up
- Adjust your diet. Limit foods that contain a high level of a substance called purines. These include:
- Meat, particularly game meats like venison or organ meats like liver
- Lentils and dried beans
- Certain vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and green peas
If you are experiencing more frequent or severe gout flare-ups, you can also talk with your doctor about taking a prescription medication. There are a few medications that have proven effective in preventing gout attacks.
See Gout Treatment