There is no absolute cure for gout but a combination of medications and home remedies, such as staying hydrated and applying ice, may help to keep gout in remission.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain and discomfort, often in the toes, ankles, and knees. Making dietary changes can help people reduce their purine levels and the likelihood of having a gout flare.
This article discusses several natural remedies for gout.
What Causes Gout
Gout occurs when the body produces too much uric acid. This acid is a byproduct of when the body breaks down purines found in foods.
This excess uric acid forms crystals, which the body can deposit in all tissues. However, the crystals mainlyTrusted Source build up in and around the joints, causing irritation, inflammation, and discomfort.
The crystals can also form growths around affected joints, known as tophi.
Natural Remedies for Gout
Home remedies for gout include:
1. Drinking plenty of water
When a person has gout, they can experience significant swelling and inflammation. One of the ways to reduce symptomsTrusted Source is by drinking more water.
Increasing fluid consumption can kick-start a person’s kidneys to release excess fluid, reducing swelling in a person with gout.
Water is best. However, other clear fluids, such as broths and herbal teas, are also good choices. People should avoid alcohol and sodas, which are high in purines.
However, anyone with congestive heart failure or kidney disease should talk with their doctor before increasing their fluid intake.
2. Applying ice to affected joints
Applying a cloth-covered ice pack to the joint can help reduce gout-related inflammation.
Try applying an ice pack or other cold object wrapped in a thin towel for 20–30 minutes to help relieve pain.
3. Reducing stress
Heightened stress can worsen gout symptoms. While it is not always possible to eliminate all sources of stress, the following tips might help:
- exercising if the pain does not limit movement
- asking for time off from work
- journaling or reading a favorite book
Getting enough rest can also help a person feel less stressed.
4. Elevating the affected joints
Gout can cause pain and swelling, especially in the feet, hands, knees, and ankles.
One way to reduce swelling is by elevating the affected joints. This encourages blood and fluid to move away from the joint and back toward the heart.
A person can also use an ice pack with elevation to reduce their gout symptoms. These two remedies form part of the rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) method.
5. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
While over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), may not be “natural,” they are good options for treating pain and inflammation due to gout.
People should never take more than the recommended dose and always ask a doctor whether OTC medicines might interfere with their other medications.
If OTC pain relievers do not help, a person may wish to ask a doctor about stronger prescription medications.
6. Drinking coffee
Some people believe drinking coffee may decrease the risk of experiencing gout.
A 2016 review and meta-analysis showed that those who drank more coffee were less likely to have gout. This may be because coffee can lower uric acid levels.
A further 2019 analysisTrusted Source reported that coffee consumption lowers gout risk, and may do this independently of lowering serum uric acid levels.
However, just because the study showed a correlation between higher coffee consumption and a lower risk of gout, this does not mean that coffee caused the lower risk.
7. Eating a balanced diet
A balanced diet containing a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods can help uric acid levels and reduce a person’s risk of gout flares.
Plant-based diets can be of particular benefitTrusted Source for people with gout. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation.
8. Drinking lemon water
A 2015 study found that adding the juice of two freshly squeezed lemons to 2 liters of water each day reduced uric acid in people with gout.
The researchers concluded that lemon water helps neutralize uric acid in the body, thus helping to reduce levels.
9. Limiting alcohol intake
According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking more than two liquor-based drinks or two beers per day increases a person’s risk of gout.
Beer is high in purines, so avoiding it can benefit a person with gout.
10. Avoiding high-purine meats
Some meats contain high amounts of purines. Avoiding these might help to reduce a person’s gout symptoms.
Meats and fish that are high in purines include:
- organ meats, such as liver
Doctors may prescribe medications to reduce symptoms of serious gout flares. These can include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce pain and inflammation from gout.
Colchicine: This medication helps stop uric acid from forming into crystals. Colchicine can help treat existing gout symptoms and help prevent future flares.
Corticosteroids: Doctors may recommend oral or IV corticosteroids in cases where other medications have not reduced gout symptoms. These medications can reduce inflammation and pain.