What is Gout and how do I know if I have it?
Once called “the rich man’s disease” gout is becoming more common. Swollen, red, hot, and stiff joints usually signal a gout flare up. Often, gout first attacks your big toe. It can also attack ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. At first, gout attacks usually get better in days. Eventually, attacks last longer and happen more often.
Gout develops when uric acid builds up in your body. When there is too much uric acid in the body, a condition called hyperuricemia occurs. Hyperuricemia causes gout. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood. It passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. But sometimes, uric acid can build up and form needle-like crystals (monosodium urate). When they form in your joints, this is a gout flareup and it is very painful. The crystals can also cause kidney stones.
Uric acid is a waste byproduct that comes from the breakdown of substances called purines which are found in some foods such as: red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna. Most of the uric acid leaves your body when you pee, but if you have poorly functioning kidneys, you have an increased chance of developing gout.
Gout can be hard to diagnose but anyone who has ever had it can readily identify when it flares up. Your doctor may take a sample of fluid from an inflamed joint to look for crystals. You can treat gout with medicines and of course, you are always encouraged to consult your doctor or health care provider for proper medical care. However, there are other things you can do to address the issue of gout.
Ok, I’m convinced it’s GOUT. What can I do to get rid of it?
Gout is one of the few treatable and preventable forms of arthritis but first and foremost…go see a doctor or health care professional. We are NOT either! So don’t listen to us and then get upset because you didn’t listen to us….go see a doctor!
That being said….
Short-term/ Immediate Treatments
Urilow (formerly known as Gout Out)
If you are looking for a “natural pill” – as most Americans have been trained to do – this is where I would start. This is a product we can barely keep on the shelves. It combines both celery seed and black cherry along with Alfalfa, Boswellia extract, and a host of vitamins.
Celery Juice – Drink 8-16 ounces of freshly juiced celery – once or twice daily.
This is by far the cheapest and dare I say, the most effective long term therapy that I know of for gout.
Studies suggest that celery seed extracts may have anti-gout properties, partially through anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Celery was shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in rodents. Rodents are mammals. Humans are mammals. I’ll say no more.
But you don’t have to go searching for celery seed extract, just buy some celery and juice it. If you don’t have a juicer, you can blend it and then use a cheesecloth (or ANY cloth) to strain it. After doing that once (then twice because the juice is going to help with the gout) you will want to go get a juicer. A juicer is one small appliance that should be in the home of every person that is serious about being healthy.
Cherry Juice – Drink 2-8 ounces of tart (or black) cherry juice.
Research suggests that Montmorency tart cherry supplementation may have the ability to relieve pain by decreasing inflammation and prevent gout flare-ups by reducing uric acid levels in the bloodstream. Likewise, findings suggest that cherry juice reduced blood levels of gout-causing uric acid. While tart cherry has the most active gout fighting compound (anthocyanin), black cherry and cranberry also have the same compound in their dark juices – albeit in lesser amounts. Just be sure to get unsweetened and 100%…not cocktail!
AVOID These High Purine Foods
- Organ Meat
- Alcohol (especially beer)
- Seafood (especially sardines, anchovies, and shell fish such as shrimp and lobster)
- Sweetened beverages (multiple studies have established a link between gout with excess consumption of sugar especially high-fructose corn syrup – sodas)
Gout flares can also often occur when you first start to use medications that lower blood uric acid levels.
EAT MORE of These Low Purine Foods:
- Nuts and legumes
- Any type of fruit but especially oranges and cherries, which are reported to reduce inflammation caused by uric acid
- Whole grains
- Vegetables (excluding asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, and green peas)
- Dairy products
When you have a gout flare, you can help reduce symptoms by:
- Resting the affected joint
- Elevating the area
- Applying ice
While you are more likely to get gout if you are an overweight man (or post menopausal woman) that drinks a lot of beer, anyone can agitate an underlying condition or lay a foundation for its development by eating too many foods that are rich in purines. If you already have health conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin resistance, diabetes, or poor kidney function it may be wise to consider altering your diet.
Pseudogout has similar symptoms and is sometimes confused with gout. However, it is caused by calcium phosphate, not uric acid. Again, it is advisable to consult your doctor or licensed health care provider.
Do Your Own Homework
A boil is usually an infection of a hair follicle, most often caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.
Boils are painful, red, pus-filled lumps in your skin caused by an infection of hair follicles. One infected hair follicle is a furuncle, and a group of infected follicles joined together is a carbuncle. They can occur anywhere, but most often in hairy areas that sweat or rub, such as your face, neck, armpits, groin and buttocks.
You can look after small boils on your own, but you may need to see your doctor for treatment of large boils. If a boil becomes worse or spreads or you develop a fever, you should see your doctor. Boils usually resolve by themselves, but severe or recurring cases require medical attention. Medical treatment may include antibiotics and lancing.
It is ALWAYS advisable to see a licensed healthcare provider for any ailment.
The majority of people who experience boils, or at least recurrent boils, have contracted a certain type of bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus, or staph bacteria. Staph bacteria can cause boils in an acute situation, but if you experience boils that return time and again, chances are that you have staph bacteria residing in your skin.
#2 Bad Hygiene
No one wants to hear this but you may just need to pay closer attention to your daily hygiene routine. It doesn’t mean that you are nasty but if you are not showering after a workout fast enough or collapsing after a hard day’s work without showering…you may be setting yourself up to create an environment for boils to thrive in. Anytime dirt, oil, dead skin cells are allowed to collect in hair follicles or oil follicles they can lead to blockages, which build up and eventually turn into a boil.
#3: Bad Diet
Your immune system’s main function is to help ward off bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. This means that if you have an unhealthy immune system, such as many people with bad diets experience, you are more likely to contract the staph bacteria. Eliminating or cutting back on processed foods and sugar is one of the very beginning steps of boosting your immune system. Increasing your water intake will also help your body to flush out toxins and do its job better. Consider taking a multivitamin or adding trace elements to your routine.
#4: Ingrown Hairs (maybe from shaving)
An ingrown hair is a hair that has curled back on itself and begun to grow back into the skin itself. This presents a number of problems, one of which being the fact that dead skin can clog up the pore. Depending on where it is located it can be tricky to deal with an ingrown hair but it is imperative to address it because this is one of the things that can contribute to the development of a boil, especially if you are already carrying the staph virus. If you notice any ingrown hairs, it’s best to deal with them immediately. If it is in an area that you can’t easily get to (in or around your buttocks area) hopefully you have a friend or loved one with -good eyesight -that can assist. Of course you can always get a mirror. Take an evening and figure out how to develop a routine to care for yourself. Ultimately, it is no one else’s responsibility.
#5: Contact with Other Boils
While this goes back to good hygiene, it needs to be stated plainly that boils can actually be transmitted from person to person, or from place to place on your body. This is because boils are actually caused by a certain type of bacteria, and these bacteria can be spread by contact. If you come into contact with another person who has boils on their body, it’s important to practice good hygiene afterward to ensure that you don’t develop boils as well. Washing before and after intimacy is crucial. This includes making sure fingernails are clean.
#6: Cuts and Scrapes
When your skin is compromised, you open yourself up for infection. Sometimes, small cuts and scrapes can go unnoticed but they are big enough for staph bacteria to enter which is usually the main culprit for boils. If you don’t disinfect yourself after getting a cut or a scrape, no matter how small, it’s possible that the staph bacteria will be able to enter your skin and begin the process of producing boils.
#7: Insect Bites and/or Harsh Chemicals (including perfumes and colognes)
Many people are sensitive to some of the insect bites and/or harsh chemicals. Both of these occurrences can happen in day-to-day life. Obviously you want to avoid getting bleach or industrial solvents on your skin. However, some people may develop boils after coming into contact with chemicals present in things like laundry detergent or cologne. In addition, if you have even a mild allergic reaction to insect bites, a boil may develop. If the boil takes several hours to appear, then this is usually not an indication of a serious allergy. However, if you notice this in conjunction with other symptoms like having trouble breathing, seek help immediately. And if you stay in the boonies (like me), check for ticks everyday! Pay attention to any tender places on your skin. If you have had a boil before, you can probably tell when one is forming.
#8: Deodorants and Antiperspirants
If you are getting recurring boils in your armpits, consider switching to a deodorant instead of an antiperspirant. One of the ways that your body gets rid of toxins is through sweating aka PERSPIRING.
Perspire: to emit matter through the skin
If you put on ANTIPERSPIRANT you are going against what your body is trying to….NEEDING to do! If you are anything like me, it will take time for you to find a deodorant that works for you. I am a funky person in more ways than one. There are times when I still use deodorant with antiperspirant but not on a day-to-day basis and I am ALWAYS mindful to wash it off completely before I go to bed at night. Another thing to consider. When toxins are not allowed to leave your body, that means they stay in your body. Your armpits are right there with your breasts (yes men get breast cancer too). Because underarm antiperspirants or deodorants are applied near the breast and contain potentially harmful ingredients, several scientists and others have suggested a possible connection between their use and breast cancer. However, no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer. At the very least, get a deodorant that is Aluminum Free.
I was hesitant to include this because technically, this goes back to “bad diet” (which no one wants to hear) and because diabetes does not directly cause boils. However, changes in the level of our blood sugar can make the body more susceptible to developing certain types of infection, such as the staph bacteria.
Suggestions for treating a boil include:
Medical treatment for a severe boil may include antibiotics and lancing. Boils around the eyes and nose should always be treated by a doctor, because the infection may access the bloodstream and reach the brain. Furunculosis refers to recurring outbreaks of boils.
- Strict attention to personal hygiene.
- Resist the temptation to squeeze the boil.
- Wash the boil with antiseptic soap.
- Apply a hot compress for 10 minutes or so, three times daily, to encourage the boil to come to a head.
- Use fresh towels (compress) every time you wash and dry the infected areas.
- Cover a burst boil with a bandaid.
- Wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of infection.
- Checking for underlying disorders, such as diabetes.
- Use of antiseptic shampoos and soaps.
- Frequent laundering of all bedding and towels.
- In some cases, other members of the household will need similar treatment, since S. aureus is contagious.
- See your doctor if the boil isn’t improving after a few days for extreme cases antibiotics may be needed to rid the body of infection. Antibiotic creams applied to the nasal membranes may be prescribed, because S. aureus commonly inhabits the nose.
Herbs that may help:
Ingestion of this herb helps you to remove toxins and impurities from the body which may be causing the boils. This herb helps to purify the blood and cleanses the system so that the boil gradually subsides. It is used for healing skin scars and abrasions as well. The leaves of this herb contain tannins, anti flavanoids, rutin and hyperoside.
This herb is therefore very effective in removing dirt and toxins from the body because of the constituents that it possesses. This herb has the ability to purify the body system so that the heat within the body is cooled and does not result in the eruption of boils.
Goldenseal is an effective disinfectant and is a wonderful detoxifying herb. These properties make the immune system stronger and prevents infection that causes boils. It contains a chemical called berberine that fights bacteria, yeast and fungi, which are responsible for many skin infections. Take some goldenseal root powder and mix it with little boiled water to make a paste. Apply this on the boil. Cover it with a piece of clean gauze. This poultice helps draw out the boil.
Dandelion root helps dispose off the harmful bacteria on the skin. It also helps the liver to function well and helps our body get rid off harmful toxins and excess hormones that trigger boils formation. It is a well known detoxifying herb, so have it regularly in order to get rid of harmful skin bacteria. Soak some petals of dandelion flower in a bowl of warm water. For fifteen minutes. Drink this mixture daily if you want to prevent boils from forming in the very first place.
Red clover is herb that is known for its powerful blood purifying and antibiotic properties . It has been used safely and effectively for centuries to treat skin problems and is very good for chronic skin disorders. It treats bacterial infections, abscesses and strengthens the immune system. You can take red clover internally in extract or capsule form. Prepare a tea and have it twice a day to boost your immune system. Externally, a poultice can be applied over the boils to draw them out gradually.
Yellow Dock is also a herb which is a blood purifier and detoxifier. It helps to cure the boils by healing the body from within. Yellow Dock also know by its botanical name Rumex Crispus, is found in Europe and West Asia. The leaves of Yellow Dock should first be boiled in hot water so as to remove the Oxalic acid which is present in it.
It should be boiled within 5 to 6 changes of water to ensure it is free of this acid. It can then be added to tea or a hot drink and consumed. Moderate amounts of this herb can be eaten raw without any harm. The Zuni tribe is known to use Yellow Dock for curing skin infections and abrasions. This herb is also very effective in curing boils.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural blood purifier. It helps effectively in healing the boils. You can apply a paste of turmeric powder prepared by roasting some turmeric roots and dissolving the ashes in a little water.
Apply this paste over freshly formed boils. This helps the boils to ripen and burst. Also, mix a spoonful of raw turmeric in a glass of warm milk and have it twice a day. This herbal preparation will help heal the boils within no time.
Comfrey can be mixed with garlic and honey paste and applied on the boil. This paste helps to remove the pus which has collected in the boil and it heals the skin. Comfrey is a very good cure for boils. Comfrey contains Allantoin which is useful for stimulating skin repair at the same time as healing inflammations and eruptions in the skin.
Comfrey is also known colloquially as knitbone because it is used in various bone ailments as well. Comfrey has the ability to heal the skin which is why it is such as effective cure for boils.
You need to make a mixture of crushed Basil leaves, Purple Fleban and Neem and then apply this on the boil. You need to let the paste dry and then you can wash it with cold water. This helps to close the pores of the skin and offers relief from the boils.
Basil contains (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP) which is very useful in reducing inflammations and this is why it is a very good cure for skin infections. Basil has a very distinctive fragrance and there are many varieties of this herb including African Basil, Sweet Basil and Holy Basil. This herb has a very special healing property which makes it an efficient and effective cure for boils.
Purple Cone Flower Echinacea augustifolia
Purple Cone Flower or Echinacea Augustifolia is a good herb for curing boils. Roots of this herb are used to cure septic wounds since olden days. This herb reduces the stinging, pain and soreness felt in the area where the boil has grown and helps to lower the swelling of the boil and cure it.
This herb is antibacterial in nature and it is because of this very property that it is an excellent cure for boils. Boils can be removed by applying a paste of this herb or even consuming this herb in the form of a tea. This herb is very effective in curing the infection causing the boil as it destroys the bacteria and toxins causing the boil.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) is an herb used by Native Americans to treat many ailments, including infectious skin conditions, such as wounds, boils, abscesses, acne, ulcers, scalds, burns, psoriasis, swellings, itchy skin and skin inflammation.
Slippery elm is effective to reduce inflammation and pain. It has been approved as a safe demulcent substance by the FDA.
Slippery elm can be used externally in a paste (poultice). Here is how to make and use a slippery elm poultice:
– Slippery elm bark powder 1 teaspoon (according to the size of the affected area)
– Moisten the powder with small amount of hot water
– Spread it on a piece of clean gauze
– Bandage it onto the affected area
– The poultice can be changed or moistened (with some water to the gauze) every 3 to 4 hours or whenever it dries out