Menopause, Gout and Knowing Your Risk
Gout is a condition typically associated with times gone by, and especially royalty. In fact, recent Academy Award-winning film The Favourite focused on Queen Anne’s struggle with gout in the 18th century, bringing the illness to the forefront of people’s minds.
According to statistics from the UK Gout Society, one in 14 men will be affected by gout, along with one in 35 women. Although the condition typically affects more men, a woman’s risk of a diagnosis increases after the menopause, whereas men can develop it any time from puberty onwards.
Why is this the case? And what can be done to manage the risk of gout in post-menopause? Let’s take a look.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to crystal-like clusters of acid forming around the joints. Gout is often associated with the ankles, but it can occur in fingers, toes, knees and wrists too.
This build-up of uric acid can cause pain, swelling and redness, with attacks of gout typically happening in the middle of the night, when it can be painful to even have bedsheets on the affected area.
People who are obese, consume large amounts of alcohol and who eat high quantities of red meat, offal, seafood and other purine-rich foods tend to be at greater risk of developing gout, while post-menopause can be another risk factor.
Why Are Post-Menopausal Women at Greater Risk of Gout?
In women, oestrogen contributes towards flushing excess uric acid out of the bloodstream, so when levels of this hormone naturally decline around the time of menopause, extra uric acid can be left in the body.
However, this can often be misdiagnosed as an inflammatory form of osteoarthritis, which is also a common symptom among women in the post-menopause stage. This is due to a decline in oestrogen levels too, as this can lead to weaker bone density, potentially leading to pain in the joints.
With this in mind, it is important for women to understand their risk of gout and know how they can manage it. With a few lifestyle changes and taking steps to address hormonal imbalance, women may be able to keep their risk of gout low.
How to Treat Gout
If you’re worried you may be suffering from gout, you should always speak to your GP, who will be able to prescribe the right treatment for you. As well as this, there are steps you should take to follow a healthy lifestyle, so that you can keep gout under control.
For example, drinking less alcohol could help, as could cutting purine-rich foods such as red meat, liver, seafood and shellfish from your diet.
As obesity can be a risk factor for gout, it’s important to try to maintain a healthy weight too - in fact, this is important for keeping multiple symptoms of menopause, such as an increased risk of osteoporosis, in check.
Managing Other Post-Menopausal Symptoms
By putting an oestrogen-mimicking substance, such as DT56a (found in Femarelle® supplements) into your body, you can manage all kinds of risks linked with menopause, from hot flushes to mood swings and from trouble sleeping to an increased likelihood of osteoporosis and other associated symptoms.
Replacing the oestrogen in your body with a natural ingredient that can imitate its effects could help you to feel more like the best version of yourself.
Shop the Femarelle® range of supplements here.