Alcohol And Increased Gout Flare-Ups

Alcohol increases the risk of attacks by increasing the amount of uric acid in the blood and preventing the excretion of uric acid in the urine. Increased uric acid often leads to gout flare ups.

Get Help Now!

Gout is an excruciating and debilitating type of arthritis. When someone has gout, there are time periods when symptoms get significantly worse. These periods are known as flare-ups.

Alcohol consumption is a common trigger of recurrent gout attacks. While gout doesn’t have a cure, it can be effectively managed with medication and lifestyle changes, including limited alcohol intake.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a commonly occurring form of inflammatory arthritis that often affects one joint at a time. Gout occurs due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood.

Urate comes from purines, which are found in the body’s tissues and various foods. Gout is often characterized by sudden, severe attacks of swelling, redness, or joint pain, often in the big toe.

Gout can move through several stages. Hyperuricemia occurs when someone has elevated urate levels that form crystals in the joints but aren’t displaying any symptoms.

Gout flares occur when someone has periodic attacks of joint swelling and pain. Interval or incident gout occurs when there is a time between gout attacks when symptoms are absent.

Tophi is a late stage of gout where crystals build up in the skin, which can permanently damage joints and internal organs, including the kidneys.

Common Triggers For Gout Flare-Ups

Gout occurs when the serum uric acid builds up and forms crystals in your joints; however, not everyone with high urate levels experiences gout.

There are various common triggers for gout flare-ups, including:

  • a family history of gout
  • increased age
  • menopause
  • drinking alcoholic beverages
  • drinking beverages sweetened with sugar
  • eating purine-rich foods such as red meat
  • obesity
  • chronic kidney disease
  • hypertension
  • metabolic syndrome
  • rare genetic conditions that increase levels of uric acid, such as Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome

Anyone can develop gout. However, it is more common in men than women. With treatment and lifestyle changes, gout is a very controllable form of arthritis.

The Relationship Between Alcohol And Gout

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol, regardless of the type of alcohol, is associated with episodes of gout. Drinking any alcohol quantity is also associated with an increased risk of gout.

Even mild amounts of alcohol increase the risk of attacks by increasing the amount of uric acid in the blood and preventing the excretion of uric acid in the urine.

With that said, some research suggests that beer is the worst for gout due to its high purine content, which directly breaks down into the serum urate.

While wine consumption was previously believed to be safe for gout, a study by the American Journal of Medicine found that all types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, increased the risk of recurrent attacks of gout.

How Managing Alcohol Intake Can Improve Gout Symptoms

While eliminating or cutting back on alcohol consumption won’t eliminate gout, it may improve symptoms of gout, including discomfort and inflammation.

It is imperative to avoid alcohol consumption during flare-ups or when you first begin using medication to manage gout symptoms.

If you are managing your gout with allopurinol or colchicine, which decrease the effects of alcohol, you may be able to occasionally enjoy limited alcohol consumption and high-content purine food if your doctor agrees.

Other Lifestyle Modifications To Help Reduce Flare-Ups

Gout medications are the main form of gout treatment.

However, given the association between lifestyle risk factors and developing gout, specific lifestyle changes are recommended for those with gout.

Beneficial lifestyle changes for goat include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • drinking more coffee
  • consuming more dairy
  • consuming fewer sugar-sweetened drinks
  • drinking fewer alcoholic beverages
  • smoking cessation
  • physical exercise
  • consuming less meat and seafood

All of these changes can help to limit triggers for gout flare-ups while targeting underlying factors that contribute to the condition itself.

Learn About Alcohol Use Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are living with alcohol use issues, we can help.

Contact Bedrock Recovery Center to learn how we can help you manage your alcohol intake and reduce the effect of alcohol on various health conditions, including gout.

  1. American Journal of Medicine
  2. Arthritis Foundation
  3. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC),no%20symptoms%2C%20known%20as%20remission./
  4. Creaky Joints
  5. Mayo Clinic
  6. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
  7. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed,the%20prior%2024-hour%20period./
  8. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed,risk%20of%20recurrent%20gout%20attacks./
  9. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed,less%20sugar%E2%80%90sweetened%20drinks%2C%20alcoholic/
  10. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed
  11. National Health Service (NHS),red%20and%20swollen)%20and%20painful./

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: February 14, 2024

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times