How to Get Rid of Gout when Pregnant

Three Methods:Making Lifestyle ChangesChanging Your DietTrying Medical Treatments

Gout during pregnancy is not common, but it does happen. Gout can cause symptoms such as swelling and pain in the joints, usually in the big toe. Unfortunately, most gout medications do not have sufficient evidence to support their use during pregnancy. However, there are other lifestyle strategies you can try to get rid of your gout during pregnancy.[1]

Method 1
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Apply ice to the affected joint.[2] Icing the affected joint is very beneficial in reducing the swelling and accumulated fluids around the affected joint, in addition to easing other inflammation signs, like redness, warmth of the skin and pain.
    • The cooling effect of ice will cause vasoconstriction of the capillaries around the affected joint, thereby limiting the amount of the leaked fluids and helping to treat the localized edema (swelling) at the inflamed joint.
    • You should never apply ice cubes directly onto your skin as this can easily cause tissue damage. Instead, wrap the ice or the ice pad in a cotton towel then place it on the affected joint.
    • You can use a pack of frozen peas instead , if no ice is available. Icing should be done for about twenty minutes, three or four times daily to decrease pain and inflammation.
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    Elevate your inflamed joint.[3] A pregnant woman should also elevate her affected joint to above heart level. If the affected joint is part of her lower extremities, such as the big toe; she is advised to sit or lie down while supporting her ankle with a cushion beneath. The same goes for the ankles and knees.
    • If the affected joints include the elbows, wrists or fingers, they should also be supported with cushions which can be raised to chest level using the aid of an armchair or desk.
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    Wrap your affected joint in a cold cabbage leaf. A natural solution that any woman can use to suppress the edema (swelling) around her injured joint is to use cold fresh cabbage leaves.
    • Cabbage leaves are a very traditional way to get rid of swollen joints. They contain very strong anti-inflammatory components, such as sinigrin, lactic acid and vitamin C, which are all known to have anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial agents. This gives the cabbage leaves their natural powers to fight swelling and decrease edema.
    • It's a good idea to put the cabbage leaves in the fridge so they are nice and cold before use. When you are ready to use them, take a leaf and wrap it around your big toe (for example) then wrap a bandage around it to keep it still. You may need to remove the harder, middle stem of the cabbage to make it easier to wrap.
    • Leave the cabbage wrap on overnight, as it can help to ease the gout attacks that tend to happen at nighttime. Alternatively, you can use the cabbage wraps during the day, for four to six hours at a time.
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    Wear loose clothing. If you are having any painful gout attacks that are affecting joints in your upper body like the wrists or fingers, make sure to avoid using tight accessories for a while, like bracelets or rings.
    • These closed accessories can form an additional source of pressure on the swollen, irritated joints and this can be a real annoyance, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy.
    • If you notice any signs of edema (swelling) at your wrists or fingers, remove your jewelry, and consult your doctor immediately, before any gout attacks begin.
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    Exercise regularly.[4] Aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate (such as riding a stationary bike, walking, or swimming) at least three times a week can be helpful in improving gout. However, do not do exercise that causes pain to your affected joints; for instance, if your big toe is affected with gout and it hurts to walk, opt for a different exercise instead such as riding a stationary bike at the gym.

Method 2
Changing Your Diet

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    Drink plenty of water.[5] You need to ensure that you are drinking about 8 glasses of water daily. During pregnancy, there is an increased amount of water in circulation. Some of this water escapes into the tissues, where they accumulate causing edema.
    • This can cause dehydration in the pregnant woman, which can aggravate gout. The woman has to compensate for the wasted amount of water by increasing her intake of fresh water.
    • Water helps to support the kidneys’ normal function by flushing them out and diluting the increased amount of uric acid crystals. This helps to reduce the amount of uric acid crystals being deposited in the joints, thereby improving symptoms and decreasing the frequency of gout’s attacks.
    • You should always have a bottle of water close at hand during pregnancy. Also remember you will need to drink additional water after physical activity or in hot weather.
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    Limit your intake of salt. Stay away from any kind of meals or snacks that contain a lot of salt. Salt contains high quantities of sodium, and high sodium levels increase your body's tendency to trap more water and fluids inside, and to gather at the end at your inflamed joints, making gout inflammation worse.
    • This means that you should avoid adding too much salt to your cooked meals. You should also stay away from fast food, as it contains huge amounts of salt. All kinds of salty snacks like potato chips and pretzels are not advised either.
    • You also have to take care to avoid hidden salt sources, such as canned food, as salt is used as a preservative substance for many canned food products.
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    Try drinking dandelion tea. Another safe, natural way to ease the swelling of joint inflammation caused by gout is by drinking dandelion tea. Dandelion is a natural herb that helps the kidneys by excreting all the extra unwanted fluids from the body.
    • Dandelion is a natural diuretic that is very helpful in easing and treating localized edema at the affected joints. This is explained by its high concentrations of potassium which works to decrease accumulated fluids in the body and balance the body's minerals.
    • The tea can be made by adding one teaspoon of dried dandelion leaves to one glass of water, which should then be boiled. The tea should be allowed to steep for five minutes before drinking.
    • Discuss the use of dandelion leaves with your doctor first, as he or she may advise against you drinking it if you have any gall bladder diseases, if you are taking any blood thinners, or are at risk for hyperkalemia (increase in potassium levels in blood) because you are taking a potassium sparing diuretic at the same time.
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    Limit the amount of red meat you eat.[6] A very important way to get rid of gout during pregnancy is to minimize your intake of red meat as much as possible, along with other rich sources of purines.
    • Purines release uric acid when metabolized; therefore, reducing your intake of purine-rich foods is essential in avoiding gout attacks during pregnancy.
    • Foods that are high in purines include red meat, beef, bacon, lamb, venison, turkey, ham, duck, chicken, and organ meat such as brain, liver or kidneys, in addition to seafood like anchovies, sardines, crab, lobster, salmon, tuna, shellfish, oysters. Other sources of purines include lentils, asparagus, cauliflower, kidney beans, lima beans, oatmeal, peas, spinach and mushrooms,
    • You do not have to cut these foods from your diet entirely, but try to limit your intake to around 150 mg per day. Discuss your options with your doctor before switching to a low-purine diet.
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    Eat more berries. Berries are considered a good fruit choice for gout sufferers, as they both contain high amounts of an antioxidant substance called Anthocyanins.
    • These antioxidants can fight free radicals that are released as a result of cell and tissue damage caused by uric acid crystals. They have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that can relieve inflammation in the joints affected by gout.
    • This means that they have the ability to reduce pain and swelling naturally. There is also some evidence to suggest that these anti-oxidants have the ability to lower uric acid concentration in the blood.
    • Anthocyanins are found in high levels in all berries, including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries.
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    Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C.[7] Vitamin C is a strong anti-oxidant, which helps to build up the connective tissue and collagen at the affected joints after they have become inflamed and irritated. Vitamin C also enhances the kidney's function by decreasing levels of uric acid in the blood. Both of these things help in the treatment of gout.
    • The recommended daily amount of vitamin C to lower uric acid concentrations is 500 mg. Another source of vitamin C is citrus fruits like orange and lemon - these are alkalizing fruits that counteract uric acid's effect inside the body and decrease crystal formation and deposits in the affected joints.
    • This results in a significant decrease in painful gout attacks by lowering inflammation and swelling at the affected joint.
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    Monitor the kind of fat you eat.[8] During pregnancy, you should stick to unsaturated fat sources like low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk and light yogurt. Avoid eating saturated fats, such as those found in processed and fast food, whole dairy products or fat residues found in red meat.
    • Saturated fats are harmful to your body and can trigger a gout attack as they trap uric acid inside and minimize your body’s chances of getting rid of it. This results in the increased formation of uric acid crystals. These crystals are then deposited around your joints, stimulating and triggering gout attacks and increasing the number of painful episodes.
    • Additionally, saturated fats can easily increase your body weight, putting you at higher risk for obesity. Obesity is another trigger factor for gout as it puts additional body weight on your affected joints, increasing the stress on the irritated joint, exacerbating the inflammation and edema, and generally worsening your condition.
    • Taking control of your fat intake and sticking with healthy unsaturated fats will make a big difference to your disorder and help in improving any further gout attacks.[9]
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    Establish a healthy weight.[10] As you make diet modifications that decrease your uric acid levels, keep in mind also that losing weight (and getting closer to your ideal body weight, if you are overweight) can also help to decrease uric acid levels, thereby preventing and/or helping you to get rid of gout during pregnancy. However, it is important to lose weight slowly as extreme measures (such as dieting to the degree where your body gets into a "starvation mode") can temporarily increase uric acid levels, which worsens gout. It is also important to be very careful during pregnancy, as you are supporting a fetus as well as yourself. Therefore, your best bet is not to focus on weight loss, but rather to focus on healthy eating and appropriately sized portions.
    • Speak to your doctor for specific dietary recommendations if this is of interest to you.
    • Depending on the degree to which one is overweight, some women may be advised to lose weight during pregnancy. However, don't attempt to do so without the professional guidance of a physician.

Method 3
Trying Medical Treatments

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    Understand that your doctor will most likely keep you away from medications. Most of the medications used to treat gout are considered "Category C" by the FDA. What this means is that there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether they are safe or unsafe during pregnancy.
    • Instead of medications, your doctor will usually recommend changes to your diet and lifestyle first.
    • However, if you have very severe gout (or alternatively, if your gout persists after you have given birth), your doctor may advise you to consider medications.
    • Note that you should NOT opt for medication use without first consulting your doctor.
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    Use an over-the-counter NSAID (anti-inflammatory medication).[11] Using an NSAID, such as Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen, can be very helpful in cases of gout. Not only does it alleviate some of the pain, it also decreases inflammation which in turn can lead to faster recovery.
    • Again, it is important to speak to your doctor prior to using any medication during pregnancy.
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    Try a medication called Colchicine.[12] This is a pill that can be prescribed by your doctor as one of the first-line treatments for an acute attack of gout. It is extremely effective; however, the evidence supporting its use in pregnant women is inconclusive so far.
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    Opt for corticosteroids.[13] Corticosteroids such as Prednisone are typically considered by your doctor as a secondary option after NSAIDs and/or Colchicine. The corticosteroids can be taken in pill form, or injected directly into the affected joint to reduce inflammation - this is likely your best bet, especially while you are pregnant, as a local injection will pose less of a risk of harm to your fetus.
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    Prevent a recurrence of gout with Allopurinol.[14] Allopurinol works to directly lower your uric acid levels, hence treating and preventing further episodes of gout. As you recover from your acute gout attack, Allopurinol may be something to consider moving forwards to give the best chance that this does not happen again.
    • Your doctor may suggest Allopurinol after giving birth to prevent recurrences of gout.

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Categories: Women’s Health