Gout is a form of arthritis that develops when the blood’s level of uric acid is too high, causing needle-like urate crystals to form in the joints, usually around the big toe. The crystals cause pain, inflammation, burning, and swelling that is so severe, a sufferer can be woken by an attack in the middle of the night. Gout affects men more, usually between 40 and 60 years of age, but post-menopausal women also are susceptible. Lifestyle modifications that include avoiding alcohol, drinking two to four liters of fluid everyday, and limiting intake of poultry, meat, and fish can stem attacks.


  • Acute, sudden pain (often at night and without warning)
  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness around a joint (commonly the base of the big toe)
  • Lingering joint discomfort


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Colchicine to relieve pain
  • Xanthine oxidase inhibitors to block production of uric acid
  • Probenecid to help removal of uric acid