How to Prevent the Next Gout Attack

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.

See All About Gout - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Gout in big toe If you've had a gout attack, your likelihood of having another is unpredictable.
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.

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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.

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3 Steps you can take to prevent a gout flare-up

  1. 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
    • Seafood
    • Lentils and dried beans
    • Certain vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and green peas

    See a chart of foods high in purines.

  2. Swap beer for water. Alcohol contains a lot of purines, particularly beer, so limit your alcohol consumption. On the other hand, staying hydrated with plenty of water—experts recommend 8 glasses a day—can flush uric acid from the body.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight is a risk factor for gout, so getting to a healthy weight can decrease the risk for a flare-up. But lose weight gradually, because drastic weight loss is also raises the risk for an attack.

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.

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Learn more

Gout Prevention Diet

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Post written by Carrie DeVries