When to See a Doctor for Gout

Gout can develop overnight and happen suddenly without much warning or signs. Some people will automatically assume that the inflammation and swelling is related to a minor injury or a sprain, but seasoned Gout sufferers will know what to look out for and when to see a doctor. For those who are experiencing their first Gout attack or are unsure of whether or not they are afflicted with the disease might not know if a doctor's consultation is necessary.

You should call or see a doctor right away if you have:

  • Severe pain in a single joint that occurred rather suddenly and quickly
  • Swollen, red and warm joints where the skin is tender and painful upon touch

What Type of Doctor Should I See for Gout?

The best kind of health professional to see for gout is a Rheumatologist, a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions. If you are unable to visit a rheumatologist immediately a general doctor, nurse practitioner or orthopedist can also provide expert consultation on your gout.

Preparing for your Visit

Many of the readers on our site take our free quiz and bring it to their doctors before they go. You can take it here.

In order to maximize your time and ensure that you are on the path to relief and recovery right away, it's best to prepare yourself for your visit. As soon as an onset of gout symptoms comes on, you can do the following:

  • Write down your symptoms
  • Try to do this as soon as they start and indicate the duration, additionally be prepared to measure out your pain and advise if it increases or decreases in intensity overtime.

  • Note important/significant changes in your life
  • This includes any recent changes or stressors that have recently come into your life. Additionally, be sure to provide an honest account of your current dietary and personal lifestyle. Gout is often linked to diet and personal activity and the doctor will need to know this.

  • Make a list of your personal medical information
  • This includes if you have undergone surgery or any type of trauma, if you have a family history of disease or are currently afflicted with other diseases, any medications that you might be allergic to and if you are currently on any medications.

  • Make a list of questions to ask
  • Keeping yourself knowledgeable on gout can help you ask important questions. Certain medications might interact with medications you might be currently taking, so it's a good idea to express concern to your doctor about this. Additionally, there might be certain lifestyle or activities that you participate in that might need to be checked by the doctor so it's a good idea to bring it up during you visit.

What to Expect During Your Visit

Whether you see a general doctor or a specialist for your gout, be prepared to answer a number of questions to help them during your diagnosis. Your doctor may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did you first experience them?
  • Is this the first time you have experienced this?
  • Do your symptoms come and go? Are they constant?
  • Could you identify anything in particular or different that you might have done to trigger these symptoms, such as eating certain foods or your current physical or emotional state?
  • Are you currently being treated for any other medical conditions?
  • What medications are you currently taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs as well as vitamins and supplements?
  • Do you or are you aware of a history of gout in your family?
  • What does your diet typically comprise of?
  • Do you drink alcohol? If so, how much and how often?

Depending on your answers and the doctor's observation, you may have to undergo further exams or testing to confirm the diagnosis of gout. These exams and test may include:

  • A medical history and physical exam, this is usually the first exam conducted and comprises of a series of questions/filling out a questionnaire.
  • A joint fluid analysis (arthocentesis), this test requires the extract of synovial fluid from the affected join and tests to see whether uric acid crystals are present. This is the only certain way to diagnose gout.
  • A uric acid level blood test, this test may be done if your doctor cannot safely extract fluid from your joint. It requires the drawing of your blood and tests for the uric acid content in it.
  • A uric acid level urine test, this test is least likely to occur but will be done if the first two are unavailable. It requires the use of your urine to detect the presence of uric acid crystals. It is not favored by doctors because it is not always accurate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you recommend a gout doctor in Brisbane?

At this time we do not have any recommendations for a doctor in Brisbane. We recommend asking your general practitioner (if possible) for possible referrals.

Can you recommend a gout doctor in NYC?

The best doctor to see for gout is a rheumatologist. The Hospital for Special Surgery, located in New York City has one of the largest group of practicing rheumatologist available in the United States.

What questions should I ask my doctor about gout?

Asking questions about your gout attack is a good way to be prepared and to know what to expect moving forward. Here are some questions to ask during your visit.

If you are seeing a general doctor, your questions should include:

  • What are the possible causes of my symptoms or condition?
  • What tests do you recommend?
  • Are there any treatments or lifestyle changes that I should consider for recovery and prevention.
  • Should I see a specialist?

If you are seeing a rheumatologist, your questions should include:

  • What are the possible side effects of the drugs you're prescribing?
  • How soon after beginning treatment should I expect to improve?
  • Do I need to take medications long term?
  • I have other health conditions, should I be considered about medications interacting and how should I manage them all together?
  • Do you recommend any lifestyle changes for recovery and prevention?
  • Is it safe for me to drink alcohol?
  • Are there resources available in office or online that you'd recommend for me to learn more about my condition?

What would a doctor prescribe for my gout?

Your doctor will likely prescribed a medication that will block uric acid production. Commonly prescribed drugs include: xanthine, allopurinol and febuxostat. Other medications prescribed may help with pain relief, inflammation or uric acid removal. A complete of list medications can be found here.

Can I get gout pain relief without a doctor?

You can get temporary pain relief by taking anti-inflammatory medications. Some common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. The best way to relieve gout pain and prevent future gout attacks is to consider dietary and lifestyle changes to help reduce uric acid production in the body.

Do I need to see a specialist in gout or my family doctor is good enough?

If this is your first gout attack, seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner is a good step in getting treatment. Depending on the doctor's diagnosis and concerns brought up, he or she might recommend you see a specialist.

How to get rid of gout without going to the doctor?

It is highly recommend that you consult with your healthcare physician however if you still want something alternative then make sure to read our natural gout treatment guide and check out our gout diet and recipes page.