Gout in Men: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Gout Is a Painful Condition that Affects Mostly Men

man with gout
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Gout used to be thought of as a disease of the rich and famous who ate and drank excessively. Though gout may seem to be an affliction whose day has long since passed, there is evidence that occurrences of gout are on the rise. This may have a connection to growing obesity rates. Although excessive alcohol and food contributes to your risk factors for gout, the health problem is more complex than that.


Gout is a very painful form of arthritis, an inflammation that affects the joints and tendons as well as other tissues. Gout usually affects one joint at a time, and in about 70 percent of cases the big toe is affected. It can also affect the leg, knee, ankle, foot, hand, wrist or elbow. The fingers are occasionally affected, and the spine very rarely. Men account for over 90 percent of all cases of gout. 

Causes of Gout

Gout is caused by excessive levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid, produced during the breakdown of proteins, is usually excreted by the kidneys in urine. When the body cannot get rid of the excess uric acid in this way, it collects in the form of monosodium urate crystals. These crystals collect around the joints, tendons and tissues, causing the inflammation and extreme pain.

Men and Gout

Gout affects mostly men over the age 45 years. Being overweight, the frequent intake of alcohol and diuretic medicines can be contributory factors.

Eating too much meat and fish high in chemicals called purines also contributes to the problem. Women who get gout tend to be post-menopausal.

Signs and Symptoms of Gout

With gout, the affected area becomes red, swollen, inflamed and extremely painful. Urine output is less than normal and concentrated in color.

In its acute form, the attack usually lasts between four and ten days. Chronic gout, recurring usually at the site of the initial attack, can later involve other joints and areas. Without treatment the crystal deposits build up causing arthritis, damage in the kidneys, liver, arteries and the heart.

Treatments for Gout

Treatment depends on whether the gout is an acute attack, or if it is to control of long-term chronic condition.

Acute Gout
NSAIDs (Non Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are used to reduce swelling and help with pain. Corticosteroids can be used if NSAIDs are not tolerated well. Colchicine is occasionally used and is helpful for people with heart problems.

Chronic Gout
Frequent reoccurrences of acute gout may require long-term interval treatments such as allopurinol (a xanthine-oxidase inhibitor) to reduce the formation of uric acid, or uricosuric drugs such as probenecid prescribed to increase excretion of uric acid. These drugs should never be started during an acute attack but can be used indefinitely. If an acute attack develops during the treatment the drugs should be continued.

Famous People Affected by Gout

Gout has affected many people throughout history. Famous sufferers of gout include Thomas Jefferson (President USA), King Henry VIII of England, Samuel Johnson (writer), Alfred Lord Tennyson (poet) and Benjamin Franklin.