Share your Gout experiences

At lieu’s suggestion in thuis thread:

I’m opening the floor to your gout experiences. How many of you have this wonderful affliction, or are married to/related to/close friends to someone who does?

When I was a kid, I read about cases of gout. 18th century cartoons of little devils plunging pitchforks into the toes of richly-fed aristocrats getting their just deserts. Benjamin Franklin in 1776 cracking wise about his condition: “Yes, I have the honor [ of being Benjamin Franklin]. Unfortunately, the gout accompanies the honor.” “Softly, John. Your voice is hurting my foot!”
Hah! As if a pain in the big toe could be such a serious matter!

Then, on my freakin’ honeymoon, it got me. I thought I’d broken my toe or worse. It felt as if someone had grabbed my tendons and was trying to tear them free from the bones by force. And I had no idea my toe extended that far down my foot. Any touch, even by a sheet, was agony. And, of course, you need your toe to walk.

I spent the next day lying on the hotel bed and watching TBS while Pepper Mill snorkled. At least it was at the end of the honeymoon.
I later found out what the cause was, and that indomethacin, administered at the start of an attack, is magical in its healing ability, but that if not caught in time, you’re crippled. Fun stuff. If only I could be as great as Franklin, I wouldn’t mind so much.

Funny, my first attack happened on my honeymoon, too. Or actually, the day after returning home.

Gout is some bad, nasty, stuff. I suffered for years before I found a doctor who really understood what the hell he was doing and prescirbed allopurinol to reduce my uric acid level to normal. Until then, docs disagreed about what it was, insisted I had sprained my ankle (it hit me in the ankle more often than the toe) and generally just told me suck it up and not be a crybaby.

Since going on the allopurinol I haven’t had an attack in probably 7 or 8 years. The key to this disease is you have to keep it under control all the time or there will be hell to pay.

Gout hurts like a motherfucker. I mean, baaaaad. And to make it worse, gout has an age-old image as the payback for being gluttonous, the penalty for sitting on your ass and eating and drinking. So there is a certain amount of shame involved, especially if your encounter some dumbass doctors who were trained in the 18th century and lecture you about eating fewer organ meats and brains. The general public still thinks of gout as something that old fat men have. I was only 25 and healthy when I first got gout, slightly overweight but nothing like what most people think you have to be to get gout.

When I was younger we had a family friend who had gout. Since he seemed old at the time (he was probably only in his 50s), I thought of it as an old man’s disease, like in 19th century fiction a la Emma’s dad.

Then maybe last year I get a message from my brother, “Hey it’s Yourbrother. I have gout. <click>” He’s not real talkative so I dismissed it and went on with my life. Later he calls again and goes into more detail. He acted outraged that I wasn’t more affected by this pithy and somewhat amusing blurt he left on the machine. “Didn’t you get my message I had gout!?!?”

Anyhoo, he had it in his big toe. He tried to limp to work but it was too painful to even put a shoe on. I picture the poor guy limping down a NYC avenue with everyone averting their eyes from the nutty crazy person, since I assume he was holding one shoe. I assume he got on the same meds you mentioned because he said it was fine again and he hasn’t had further flareups.

But “gout” is now synonymous with his unique style of communication.

I have had bouts of it and the pain is amazing. I didn’t know something could hurt that bad. My wife says that it is clearly connected to stress for me. I usually have an episode after a stressful period. I only have a couple of flare ups a year, I take indomethacin and it goes away in a couple of days, but man does it hurt.

I have suffered from gout and without medication it would probably be a chronic condition. Most often it occurs in the large joint of my left big toe, but has graced me with appearances in the knee. When I was younger, I would sneer at a coworker who would miss work because of gout. I mean, how bad can a toe hurt, right? Wow! I had no idea. The pain is an amazing combination of burning and being stabbed with broken glass. Even the wafting of wind from an overhead fan creates new sensations of pain. As I mentioned in another thread on gout, I once had a neighbor’s kid run over my gout-afflicted toe with a tricycle. I nearly passed out from the pain!
In order to control it without medication, I would need to eliminate from my diet nearly every type of food I love. Now, when I feel the first inkling of an attack, I pop some Indocin and it is under control (although Indocin makes me queasy and nauseous, it’s better than gout).

Heh, good man, Cal.

I knew exactly squat about gout until 3 or 4 months ago. I thought I had a spider bite as the pain was on the top of my ankle, shiny red skin, and not in the joint. A week and mucho research of Lime Disease later, I have another attack in the left ankle that then shifts to the right toe. The light goes on, this ain’t Lime, it’s classic gout.

What others have said is true. I’ve sat there looking at my toe thinking this pain is simply astonishing. It felt like foot surgery without anestesia. To walk in the morning can be on joints of ground glass. I went from a limp to a hobble to a cane and then crutches. It’s possibly the only thing that could have made me apply for handicapped parking at work… but it did. Ditto on the bedsheet Cal mentioned. Agonizing pain… from the weight of a sheet. Heh, and then a five year old kicks your toe as she’s running by…

Did the 24 hour urine collection (how embarassing is it to fill their container and have to also use an orange juice carton for overflow?), lots of blood work, all in an attempt to see if the body’s makin’ too much or simply unable to rid itself of it.

The diet’s not too bad, as the bad purine stuff wasn’t a major part of mine anyway. I do though enjoy some red vino most evenings and I’m experimenting to see if white’s a substitute or if imbibing simply isn’t an option. I drank beer once in the last several months. That won’t happen again as it’s yeast brought on the worst pain ever. Some have reported cherries to help but I used a concentrate for several weeks to no observable benefit.

Rhumatologist put me on colchicine a couple of weeks ago until I was gout free and then switched to allopurinol once a day as a preventative. Blessedly pain free for that period and I really thought we’d fixed it. Then several days ago it comes back in spades. I’m back on a medrol pack now and will see the doc again in a couple of weeks for a check-up and we’ll discuss where to go from here.

Just reading this thread is making me wince with pain. These descriptions of the type of pain, and the intensity, are spot on. God, I’m glad I haven’t been through that in a while.

God bless my rheumatologist.

Yeah, the only thing I’ve experienced that compares was shingles.

I’ve found a medrol steroid pack to provide the absolute quickest relief, but of course you can’t keep doing that.

I’d hoped the allopurinol meant I could go back to a less restrictive diet. Some port and extra large shrimp and here comes the ache again. Live and yearn.

Jeez, I know someone who had shingles IN HER EYE. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! ::runs screaming

I’ve never had gout, but I’ve had what they call pseudo-gout. And I wasn’t on my honeymoon, but I was staying in the honeymoon suite of a B&B at the time.

Can I play?

I did find that the toe pain was preferable to the side effects of the meds, but I think by the time I started taking them, the P-G was subsiding.


My GF at the time was experiencing headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea, unexplained weight loss, and a host of other symptoms. When she complained of these to her mother, the mother would say “Oh get over it. It’s nothing. There are people dying of cancer, so stop your whining.” The woman was a nurse, BTW.

When GF went to the gyno for a routine checkup, her BP was something like 210/190. She astonished the doctors simply by continuing to live. As it turns out, she had not had functioning kidneys for probably several months. She could well have dropped dead at any time.

The moral of the story is when someone complains of symptoms, never say “Oh get over it. It’s nothing. There are people dying of cancer, so stop your whining.”

So GF got a stay of execution from the doctors for a few days, and we went on a short vacation. That’s when the P-G hit. It was at its worst when we ended up on a 3-mile hike. I complained that I thought my toe was broken. GF’s response? “Oh get over it. It’s nothing. There are people dying of renal failure, so stop your whining.”

I always thought of this as a fat old man’s disease too. Never happen to me. I exercise regularly, eat lots of vegetables, high-fiber diet. Then…BAM!!!

I had never before experienced such exquisite pain. The first few times, it would hit me in my big toe, then, on a trip to the beach, I got a quadruple whammy. It hit me in one toe, the opposite ankle, my left knee and my left elbow ALL AT ONCE. My elbow swelled to the size of a softball, and I was laid up for the duration of my vacation.

The first few times, Indomethacin knocked it out, but it seemed less and less effective as time passed. Of late, I have switched to the anti-inflammatory Sulindac, which knocks it out if I catch it early.

I’ve been reluctant to take one of the drugs to reduce uric acid levels, becuase I don’t want to get on a drug that I’ll have to take every day from now on. (Besides which, I read somewhere that uric acid is a powerful anti-oxidant. I may be gimpy, but I’ll live to 107!)

Lately, though, I’m thinking I may have to bite the bullet and take the drugs.

Been reading a lot about the Revolutionary War lately. Aside from Ben Franklin, other notables of that era who shared our affliction are Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Banastre Tarleton, Benedict Arnold, Maj. General Charles Lee, Gen Schuyler (Ft. Ticonderoga), Mad Anthony Wayne, and Daniel Morgan (the hero of Cowpens). All the cool kids had gout.

Oh, yeah, and I’ve switched to an almost-but-not-quite-vegetarian diet, and that does seem to help.

My youngest son had it 17 years ago, when he was 19, just one episode, which cleared up with steroids. I was shocked, because I thought it was an old man’s disease too. He’d been eating more red meat than usual.

Do women get gout?

I don’t know how people ever got by before indomethacin. When I feel an attack coming on, I gobble that stuff until I’m in the clear.

Lucky me, it doesn’t bother my stomach at all–but it does make me very sleepy (odd for an NSAID).

My most exquisitely painful attack followed the consumption of a can of cashews.

Who knew?

That was a two-footer, walk on the outside edges of your feet, don’t even think about letting the bed sheets touch your feet (much less socks), lie on your back and groan experience.

Imagine how you’d feel if you tried your very best to punt a bowling ball.

And like liver and onions!

PS- There is gout and pseudo-gout. As I understand it, the effects are about the same. My doctor said that if I wanted to find out for sure which one it was, I could wait for a flare-up, then come in, and she’d stick a needle into the joint and draw out some material to determine which one it actually was.

Now, that’s funny. No, that’s fucking hilarious!

With a foot hurting so bad that you believe that even light falling on it hurts, she wants to stick a needle into it.

Yeah, that’ll happen. :dubious:

I mean that I like liver and onions. I wasn’t commanding anyone to enjoy them.

I preview, therefore I still screw up.

Which you would have already known if you had paid more attention to tdn’s post above.

Jesus Christ, I’d better go crawl back under my rock.

:smack: :smack: :smack:

I had a life of debauchery until about six months ago. Nothing I could eat or drink every phased me. But, at age 62, I woke up with a pain in the lower joint of my right thumb, where it attaches to the hand. It was red, slightly swollen, and hurt like a sumbitch to the slightest touch. Two days later, gone. Two weeks later, it hit my lower left thumb joint. Same thing. Gone in days. Then it hit me in right writst a few weeks later, pain was so intense I couldn’t sleep. Two weeks later, left wrist. My sister, who is a home health nurse type, says that gout is like that, switching from side to side.

Then perhaps a month later, it started getting me in elbow, ankle, knee, etc. Never in toe.

A trip to my GP, then a trip to an arthritis special group initially diagnosed it as pseudo-gout(which evidently is a calcium deposit thing, starting in hands rather than feet). But that was off the top of his head without tests.

Week later, I’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. In the old days they told you to take pain killers, buy a wheel chair, and live with it until you were a cripple. But they do some amazing things today.

I’m on low dose of predinisone to calm down my immune system(that’s evidently what rheumatoid arthritis is, your immune system trying to attack your joints as foreign bodies). That helped almost immediately. He’ll ween me off that as time goes along. They also give you a drug which suppresses your immune system, like a cancer drug, but in extremely low doseage. I’m on sulfasalazine, as the drug of first choice would have required me to stop drinking. Smart doc. He said do you drink, I said yes, he immediately said “no sense in trying to alter your lifestyle at this point.” Ultimately, when the sulfasalzine kicks in in a few months, I’ll be off prednisone. Take it for the rest of my life.

But, yeah, I know the pain you’re all talking about. Never had something keep me awake all night like that.

Been “talkin’” to my Doper friend lieu about this today, as a matter of fact.

About 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with “gouty arthritis” which has now evolved into rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with a wicked twist: What I thought was bullous pemhigoid, a blistering of the skin (in my case, either the hands or the feet, and during my last attack both) which is a complication of RA. BP is an auto-immune disorder, and is treated by some bad mamma-jamma drugs such as Methatrexate and Immuran along with steroids such as Prednisone.

I emphasized “I” in the above paragraph because I read up on BP and diagnosed myself without the benefit of a skin biopsy. A very good dermatologist did a scraping and determined it was not BP, but a fungus. Okay fine, maybe it was just a coincidence, but it scared me, because BP is considered a form of skin cancer, and people let me tell ya’, those blisters were HUGE when they appeared! They started off small, with an itch and grew to about half the size of a baseball.

BTW, I realize I’m veering off the subject matter a bit, but I am doing so in the hopes there may be someone reading this with the same symptoms and who will share their experience.

Long story short, these episodes occur like once every three months (started 2 years ago) and I am due. I have some steroid cream to take if one happens, and I also have a scrip for Prednisone. What I don’t have is the source of the fungus, nor a reason why it only ever appears where it does. (I work in a hospital, so I’m constantly washing my hands, and I practice good hygiene at home as well). Because of the gout and RA, I have cut out all the foods known to contain purines, take Allopurinol and 800 mg of Aleve daily and don’t drink red wines.

As far as anything “unconventional”, I was recently introduced to a product called Prime Delight, which is pomegranate juice with other vitamins and mineral supplements, and the 2 ounces a day seem to be helping with the RA. (Whether they help keep the fungus away has yet to be determined, but the product manufacturers claim it helps many illnesses (including mental health), so who knows?

I also take Colloidal Silver (one teaspoon a day) and Chlorella (dosage depends on however many of them it takes to turn your shit green and take one less - in my case that’s 4 a day) as detoxifiers.

As a drummer and novice guitarist I depend on my hands and feet, and this affects my enjoyment of this activity. As a respiratory therapist, I also depend on my hands and feet, and those blisters (huge, remember) affect my employment, and the last time one burst on my gloved hand, I was sent home.

So from gout to this. I’m “there” with y’all.

Thanks for this thread, Cal and lieu .


I’ve given up shellfish ever since I was diagnosed with this. Not a big deal regarding mussels and the like, but dammit, I like scallops and lobster and shrimp. But they’re all high in purines.
Chicken is safe, and I’ve never seen a correlation with red meat or nuts. But sometimes wine does me in. Not always, but sometimes. And i can never tell when. (And it’s white wine, not red.)

The worst attack I had was impressive. My ankle swelled up so the sking was tight, and red, and HOT. The pain was incredible, and bears description.
You know how even a great pain can be gotten used to, over time? It’s always there, in the same place, and you can learn to sort of ignore it, force it into the background.
You can’t do that with gout. The pain keeps moving around, re-asserting itself in new ways. I could see the muscles moving around, so it looked and felt aas if something was in there aggravating the pain. (Lucky me, I watch horror movies. This made me think of Cronenberg’s They Came from Within/Shivers) You can’t get used to it. It just stays high.
To make things worse, the indocin seemed to have no effect at all. I finally put a cloth wrapped around a plastic bag of ice on it. That didn’t help – the cloth actually hurt. So I took away the cloth, and just put the plastic bag on it. THAT wasn’t good, either, so I put the ice directly on the pain. I could see it melting away, rapidly, as I held it against the hot inflamed flesh.

I knew what I had to do – I got a bucket, filled it with crushed ice and water, and plunged my foot into it. It instantly cooled the heat, then numbed my foot so I couldn’t feel the pain so much.
I was up all night, watching Ben Hur and other films on VCR.

I stand corrected on the wine. Thanks Cal