Dee was diagnosed with gout at the age of 40. She initially took preventative medication but now self-manages the condition, through a healthy lifestyle. She takes anti-inflammatories if necessary.
Dee’s symptoms started around the time of her 40th birthday with severe cramp in her foot at night. She thought this was due to being in a hot country and not drinking enough water. Then her foot swelled up and the pain got worse so she went to the doctor, who suggested that if she was a man it would be diagnosed as gout. The symptoms worsened, she returned to the doctor who prescribed treatment which didn’t work. Eventually she went to a specialist for some tests and was diagnosed with gout.
She took colchicine, which improved the symptoms and then went on to preventative medication (a form of allopurinol). She was also prescribed steroids, which made her put on weight. She no longer takes the preventative medication, but tries to keep hydrated and uses anti-inflammatories if she has an attack. She feels that the condition is under control, with any attacks being mild in comparison to the first one. She felt relieved after the diagnosis that it was a manageable condition.
Gout had an impact on the amount of exercise that Dee could do, and the type of shoes she could wear. She also felt that she could no longer take a certain level of fitness for granted. It didn’t have too much impact on her work as the major attack happened during a holiday period.
Looking back, Dee now realises the onset of gout was around the time she was first having symptoms from early menopause onset, but she did not make this link at the time.
Dee’s mother was diagnosed with gout after Dee’s own diagnosis. She also wonders if her grandmother had suffered from gout too because she had often mentioned having cramps in her foot.
She feels that more information about the causes of gout would be helpful particularly information about women’s increased chances of getting gout after the menopause. She also feels that people should be made aware that they don’t just have to live with it but can get help.