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Excess uric acid that develops into sharp-edged crystals around joints causes gout. The rush of fluid and white blood cells to the affected area leads to inflammation and pain. The pain of gout can be managed, as there are several ways to dissolve gout crystals and prevent future attacks.
Dissolving Gout Crystals
Get immediate relief during a gout attack by using contrast hydrotherapy to dissolve the crystals. Hold a hot compress on the affected area for three minutes; then apply a cold compress for 30 seconds. Alternate the hot and cold compresses until you begin to feel relief.
See a doctor, who can give you a prescription for a medication that will dissolve the crystals while preventing new ones. Uricosuric drugs such as sulfinpyrazone and probenecid lower the levels of uric acid in the blood by causing more of it to be passed. Allopurinol is a drug that blocks the production of uric acid.
Start a low-purine diet. Purine is a substance found in food, mostly animal-based, that the body turns into uric acid. Lowering the amount of purine you consume lowers the amount of uric acid in your body. This minimizes the excess uric acid that turns into gout crystals.
Increase your fluid intake, especially water. This will help flush uric acid out of your body.
Examples of low-purine foods are: whole grains, most vegetables and fruits and low-fat dairy. Avoid alcohol, especially beer. Eat lean meats and fish in moderation.
Gout medications must be taken for life once you begin to take them, or the gout will return. Large gout crystals, called tophi, can be too big to dissolve and may need to be surgically removed.