Gout In Pregnancy
Gout in pregnancy is not among the standard problems faced by expectant mothers, but it is known to occur. Usually, pregnancy is accompanied by several unpleasant side effects, ranging from nausea to allergic reactions and from edema to patches of hyperpigmentation. Complications such as nausea and hyperpigmentation (actually melasma, a pattern of hyperpigmentation that is rather unique to pregnant women) are usually mild and can be managed easily by taking some simple precautions. However, problems involving swelling and pain are usually more difficult to bear, and difficult to manage too. Such problems are also difficult to diagnose ...
Pregnancy And Baby Care Questions
... in some cases, they may be signs of a mild, temporary problem that does not need treatment, but at other times, they could indicate a severe problem that requires prompt medical attention. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor with regard to any swelling, inflammation, and joint pain that you develop while you are pregnant.
Causes and Symptoms of Gout during Pregnancy
The term gout is used to describe an inflammatory condition that normally affects the joint at the base of the big toe. When afflicted with gout, the joint becomes red, hot and swollen. Needless to say, an individual suffering from gout also experiences a lot of pain. In some cases, women also complain about being unable to sleep well due to the pain. The condition could also affect other joints such as those in the fingers, the wrists, the elbows, the ankles or the knees. In many individuals, elevated levels of uric acid also lead to conditions such as kidney stones, poor functioning of the kidneys and tophus. The symptoms of gout during pregnancy may also include fatigue and fever.
Due to the altered hormonal levels, the functioning of the body during pregnancy gets affected manifold. The causes of gout during pregnancy are mainly linked with the body’s inability to control the production of uric acid during this period. This painful condition is triggered by a rise in the amount of uric acid in the blood stream. The uric acid crystallizes and gets deposited in the joints, tendons or the tissue surrounding the joint thus causing a hindrance in smooth movement and functioning. The deposits can lead to excruciating pain. The increase in weight during pregnancy can also trigger gout.
Treatment and Prevention of Gout in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a stage in a woman’s life which is studded with a wide range of changes that need several adjustments on the part of the mother to be. In addition to the normal pregnancy symptoms such as mood swings, nausea, water retention and breast tenderness, many women also experience painful conditions such as gout during pregnancy. Gout is an arthritic condition that normally affects the joint at the base of the big toe.
Being a painful condition, treating gout in pregnancy becomes imperative so as to ensure that the expectant mother does not face unnecessary discomfort. Since it is advisable to restrict the use of medication during pregnancy, the treatment of gout in pregnancy with the help of lifestyle changes is recommended. Pregnant women who have a family history of gout or those who have been diagnosed with gout should pay special attention to their diet. Drinking a lot of water is essential during pregnancy. The water helps to dilute the uric acid level as well as helps to flush out impurities from the kidneys. Water also promotes better metabolism and reduces chances of water retention. Opting for a diet rich in vitamin C not only helps to reduce the amount of uric acid present in the blood stream but also helps to strengthen connective tissues while boosting the immune system. Vitamin C also helps in enhancing the functioning of the kidneys. Apples and cherries are also known for their ability to provide relief from gout.
Foods such as red meats, especially organ meats, shellfish and other foods rich in purines should be avoided as they tend to aggravate the condition. Excessive intake of proteins should also be avoided as they affect the joints adversely. The consumption of caffeine and alcohol must be refrained from completely. Following such a diet throughout the term could also help in the prevention of gout in pregnancy to quite an extent. In addition to an altered diet, daily exercise, a stress free lifestyle and sufficient rest will also aid the better functioning of the body. However, one must keep in mind that pregnancy is a crucial stage and no decision regarding diet or exercise must be made without consulting a doctor as it could prove to be detrimental to the wellbeing of the baby. If the condition is chronic, the doctor may prescribe some medication after taking into consideration the wellbeing of the developing baby. In other cases, the use of an ice pack on the affected area may be recommended. Elevating the affected limb may also provide some relief.
Prognosis and Diagnosis of Gout in Pregnancy
For the diagnosis of gout in pregnancy, the doctor would first discuss family medical history as well as details related to diet and previous illnesses and medication. Examining the joints and the surrounding skin is also essential to look for signs of the condition such as inflammation and tophi. The use of a sterile needle to extract a small sample of the fluid from an inflamed joint may also be a part of the investigative process. This fluid is tested in a laboratory for the presence of crystals of uric acid. Testing of blood would also be recommended to check the amount of uric acid in the blood. Based on the test results, the doctor may also advise additional investigations to check the functioning of the kidneys.
The prognosis of gout in pregnancy shows that women who have a family history of gout are likely to develop the condition during pregnancy. Women who have experienced gout prior to the pregnancy are also prone to the condition during pregnancy. Those who have had gout during a prior pregnancy are most likely to develop the condition during successive pregnancies unless preventive measures are sought from the beginning.
Conditions During Gout In Pregnancy
Gout is essentially a condition in which levels of uric acid in the blood are unusually high. This leads to an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, irritating the sensitive tissues and causing inflammation and pain. Gout most commonly affects the toes, and the classic case of gout is an inflamed big toe. However, it can affect practically any joint in the body, although the toes, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers are most commonly affected. The pain is sudden and usually accompanied by a burning sensation, and in severe cases it can be almost unbearable. The affected joint typically also feels stiff, and displays signs of swelling and redness. While all this may sound terrible, the good news about gout in pregnancy is that gout can usually be managed quite well with some basic lifestyle measures. Medication is not usually necessary, although this is finally something that your doctor will take a call on.
Recommendations During Gout In Pregnancy
Generally, for cases of gout, it is recommended that the patient reduces his or her intake of animal protein and of alcohol. If you are pregnant, alcohol is in any case out of the question. Cutting down on protein however may not be so easy. You need plenty of nourishment through your pregnancy, and any restrictions could lead to nutritional deficiencies if they are not planned properly. If you are diagnosed with gout, you should carefully plan your diet with the help of your doctor. Of course, remember that the symptoms of gout are similar to the symptoms of many other conditions, so do not jump to conclusions before your doctor has completed her diagnosis.