Gout During and After Menopause
Red wine is a known antioxidant that fights free-radicals in the body, yet for some, especially if over-weight and not exercising, red wine can be a trigger to overwhelming pain in the big toe and an indicator of gout in the body. Women going through menopause and post-menopause are highly prone to getting gout, and although their big toe may not hurt, if there are aches and pains in the joints, gout may be present.
Gout is caused when there is an overabundance of uric acid in the body, or the body’s inability to excrete it from the body, which leads to crystallization in the joints creating pain. The pain can appear to come from no-where and also show up in the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Some people experience redness, swelling, heat and stiffness, and sometimes even lumps can appear in the affected areas. If not treated, one can also develop kidney stones.
Symptoms are often caused by diet and lack of exercise, particularly the overconsumption of alcohol, red meat, fats, and sugar. To decrease or eliminate symptoms these items need to be removed from one’s diet, as well as the removal of dairy products, shellfish, peanuts, fried food, processed food, spicy food, and acidic foods like coffee, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and vinegar.
Someone suffering from gout should drink a lot of water to help flush out excess uric acid, and follow a diet rich in fiber (particularly dark green leafy vegetables), whole grains and fruits. The best fruits to eat are berries, which can reduce excess uric acid, as well as prunes, papayas, pineapple, cherries and grapes, which are anti-inflammatories.
If you are interested in supplements for help, taking up to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day can reduce uric acid levels. Taking 400 milligrams of folic acid can slow down the production of uric acid.
Make sure you incorporate exercise in your life at least three times a week. Walking, swimming and cycling are a great place to start, as they are not as strenuous on the joints. This is especially important if you are obese.
If you are having a hard time giving up wine, drink tart cherry juice from a wine glass so it won’t make you feel deprived. Not only will tart cherry juice help alleviate gout symptoms, but it will also help with any insomnia you may be experiencing – often another symptom of menopause.
Consult your primary care giver to see what the best healthy choices are for you if you have symptoms of gout.