Is there really a connection?
Gout is a nasty inflammation of the joints which causes severe pain, redness and swelling – often in the toes and fingers.
Cystitis, on the other hand, is the inflammation of the bladder which results in painful, frequent and urgent urination.
And yet, a surprising number of people find that these two conditions tend to flare up at the same time. It’s clear that there is some kind of link, but what is it?
Uric acid, gout and cystitis
The link between gout and cystitis is revealed when we look a bit closer at what these two conditions are, and most importantly, what causes them.
Gout is a painful joint condition which, much like arthritis, causes painful, stiff and inflamed joints. When your body produces too much uric acid for the kidneys to properly filter, it sometimes ends up in the joints where it crystallises, causing irritation. This leads to inflammation, pain, and the condition we know as gout.
Cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder, causing unpleasant symptoms like pelvic pain, a burning sensation when urinating and a frequent, sudden urge to urinate. It is usually caused by an infection, so for many people it is synonymous with the terms ‘UTI’ ‘urine infection’ and ‘bladder infection’. However, there are a number of other causes of inflammation such as irritation, and this irritation has several sources, one of which being – you guessed it – excess uric acid!
In addition, a build of uric acid crystals can also result in kidney stones, which can put pressure on the bladder and prevent urine from draining effectively from the bladder, potentially leading to an infection – the most common cause of cystitis.
So as you can see, an excess of uric acid in the blood stream can cause both of these conditions. So it is not that gout causes cystitis, or the other way around, but that if you experience one of these conditions, the other may not be far behind because they can be caused by the same thing.
Is that the only link?
One final thing to consider is the relationship between age and these conditions. For the ladies, you are most likely to develop gout in your menopausal and post-menopausal years, and remember that cystitis is also often a symptom of the menopause and post-menopause!
For the men, you are most likely to develop gout between the ages of 40 and 50, but this is also the age when prostate enlargement can begin to cause problems – in particular with urination, causing similar symptoms to cystitis such as a frequent need to pee, sudden urges to pee, and needing to pee during the night. A quick trip to your GP is important to give you an accurate diagnosis.
So in some cases, gout and cystitis can be connected because an excess of uric acid can cause both, but in some cases, they merely surface at the same time because of the natural ageing process!
So what can you do about these conditions?
Well, strengthening your kidney function is vital for effectively filtering uric acid out of the blood stream. Herb complexes like our Golden Rod tea are great at promoting healthy kidney function.
In addition, make sure to boost your water intake, as this means the kidneys are not dealing with very concentrated levels of toxins, and it also means that the urine in your bladder is more diluted, with a lower concentration of uric acid.
Controlling your diet is also really important, because this is a major source of uric acid. Uric acid is produced when substances known as purines are broken down. These purines can be found in red meat, game and fish, as well as spinach and asparagus, so these should be avoided if possible. Boost your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, and make sure to eat plenty of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and bread, quinoa, sweet potato and wholemeal flour. Click the links for more information on gout and diet, and cystitis and diet.
Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, as these are both linked with gout and cystitis.
The painful joints associated with gout can be eased with Atrogel arnica gel or Atrosan Devil’s Claw tablets, or a combination of both! Cystitis, on the other hand, can be relieved with Uva-ursi.
For more information on the treatment of these two conditions, head to the gout treatment page or the cystitis treatment page.
If you think the menopause or an enlarged prostate may also be involved, head to these hubs for more information!