🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceSave up to 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase2 for €61 Mix & MatchShort DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and AquaceuticalsDigestive EnzymesSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionCholesterolAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianRescue RemedyAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleGinseng & GuaranaHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarNew NordicBetterYouBioglanNatures AidGrass & Co.PE NutritionH&B ExpertDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksTeaSuperfood TeaMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsDried FruitNutsSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMoringa PowderSpirulinaGoji BerriesBaobabChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardCondiments & SaucesApple Cider VinegarSuperfoodsBreakfast CerealsHoney, Jams & SpreadsTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceSave up to 1/2 price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaPukkaHeath & HeatherGrenadeMeridianTwiningsOptimum NutritionNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeCrustaceans FreeKiwi FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinProtein VeganMeal ReplacementsWhey ProteinMass GainersDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsBCAAL-LysineGlutamineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossKetoSave up to 1/2 priceBuy One Get One 1/2 Price2 for €61 Mix & MatchPE NutritionOptimum NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsShop all Hair Skin & NailsNail ConditionsSkin ConditionsCollagenWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesMakeupElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandMiaromaQ+AEthiqueTrilogyChilds FarmAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllSlimming TabletsFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesWeight Management ShotsDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceSave up to 1/2 price2 for €61 Mix & MatchGrenadeOptimum NutritionHolland & BarrettPulsinPhDEat WaterUSNNatures AidSlimExpertNew NordicSugar FreeDairy FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthShop all Gut HealthGut Health FoodGut Health SkincareHair Skin & NailsShop all Hair Skin & NailsNail ConditionsSkin ConditionsCollagenStress AnxietyShop all Stress AnxietyEnergy SupportSleep & RelaxationShop all Sleep & RelaxationRelaxationFood & DietShop all Food & DietKeto FoodMenopauseBuy One Get One 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettDr OrganicVitabioticsNaturtintWeledaSolgarNew NordicHeath & HeatherOptimum NutritionEthiqueDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeEgg FreePeanut FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenopauseSkincareJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriod & Cycle HealthMenopauseImmunityGut HealthFood & DietJoints, Bones & MusclesSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

What is gout?

Gout in foot
Gout is when you experience sudden or severe attacks of pain usually at the base of your big toe but can happen in other joints too, as well as swelling, redness and tenderness. The pain often occurs suddenly, and people have reported a sensation of the affected joint being on fire. 

Gout is on the rise in the UK – read our article to find out everything you need to know about gout and how your lifestyle can actually increase your risk of developing the old-fashioned ailment, making a modern comeback. Yes, gout may sound like a Victorian joke but it’s no laughing matter, as it can cause excruciating joint pain.1 There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of cases over the past 20 years, with around one in 40 adults in the UK now affected.2 
So, what is gout, why has there been a rise and could you be at risk? All this covered and more below:

What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis in which small crystals form in and around the joints, causing severe pain and inflammation.3 At first, it may affect just one joint – often your big toe – but over time it can affect other joints such as ankles, knees, elbows and wrists.4

9 interesting facts about gout 

  1. More men are affected by gout than women 
  2. Gout is a genetic disease 
  3. 90% of people with gout have kidneys issues 
  4. 10% of people who suffer with gout make too much uric acid in their system 
  5. 90% of gout attacks happen at a single joint (often the big toe)
  6. It is estimated that between one and two in every 100 people in the UK have gout
  7. 8.3 million people in the US have gout 
  8. Gout is progressive, with attacks becoming worse and more frequent
  9. Pain and discomfort from gout is manageable in most people25,26

What are some common symptoms of gout? 

Gout often appears without any warning, and symptoms can develop over a few hours.5 
You may experience: 
  • sudden excruciating joint pain, usually at night, which gets worse over 12 to 24 hours before easing off 6 
  • red, hot, swollen skin surrounding the affected joint that’s too sore to touch7 
  • peeling, flaky skin when the swelling goes down
  • an attack may last for one or two weeks if it’s not treated, and your symptoms may come back every few weeks or months.9

What is the main cause of gout?

Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the body. Your body produces it naturally, but uric acid is also formed when your digestion breaks down chemicals called purines.10 Your uric acid levels depend on:11 
  • the amount of purines in your diet 
  • how much uric acid your body makes 
  • how quickly your kidneys remove uric acid from your body 
If uric acid builds up in your blood, tiny urate crystals can form in and around your joints or under your skin, causing the pain and swelling.12 
However, not everyone with high levels of uric acid gets gout – and doctors don’t yet know why.13

What does gout look like?

Here are a few images of what to look out for: gout on hands and fingers and gout on foot.
Gout can look different depending on the person, however, there will always be similar characteristics.

How you can help prevent gout

Making certain lifestyle changes can both help manage your symptoms and prevent future attacks by lowering levels of uric acid. These include: 
  • Eating a healthy diet – a 2017 study in the British Medical Journal found that people eating plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains were less likely to get gout.17 
  • Avoiding foods rich in purines – this includes red meat, offal, seafood such as sardines, herring or anchovies, and foods that contain yeast extract.18 
  • Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks – fructose can cause a build-up of uric acid in the body.19 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight – losing weight can significantly reduce the amount of uric acid your body produces.20 
  • Drinking sensibly – this involves drinking plenty of water, as dehydration can make gout worse, and avoiding excess alcohol, especially beer and spirits as they’ve been linked to more frequent attacks.22 
  • Make any positive, healthy lifestyle change - make any positive ‘healthy’ lifestyle you can eg stopping smoking and doing more regular exercise 
  • Limiting the following foods - limit specific foods that are linked to gout including meat and seafood, fruit juices that are naturally sweet, and other foods such as sugar, desserts and salts.27

What is the best thing to drink if you have gout?

This is a common question and current guidelines recommend drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. As already stated above, drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing gout, make sure you don’t exceed the recommended weekly allowance which is 14 units in the UK.28

Diagnosing and treating gout 

If you suspect that you have gout, make an appointment with your doctor or GP. They will assess your symptoms and run the necessary examinations, X-rays and lab tests. They will check for signs eg if uric acid crystals are found in the affected joint, this is a sign that you have gout. Important - make an appointment as soon as possible as gout can only be diagnosed during a flare up and when the joint is hot, swollen and painful.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies. 
Last updated: 20 November 2020


1. Versus Arthritis. What is gout?
2. Kuo CF, et al. Rising burden of gout in the UK but continuing suboptimal management: a nationwide population study
3. Abhishek A, et al. Gout – a guide for the general and acute physicians
6. As Source 1 
8. As above 
9. As Source 5 
10. As Source 1 
12. As Source 5 
13. As Source 7 
17. Science Daily. Diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains may lower risk of gout
18. As Source 7 
19. Jamnik J, et al. Fructose intake and risk of gout and hyperuricemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
20. As Source 1 
21. Juraschek SP, Miller ER 3rd, Gelber AC. Effect of oral vitamin C supplementation on serum uric acid: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
22. As Source 1 
23. Bell PG, et al. Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside
24. As Source 7 

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • AmericanExpress
  • PayPal
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Limited. Registered office: 45 Henry Street, Dublin, Dublin 1, D01 E9X8. Registered in Ireland: Company no. 79819. Registered VAT no. 4682002U.