Gout

Hero background image

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Gout is a problem that many kiwis experience, particularly in māori and pacific men over 40 years old. If left untreated, gout can cause serious damage to your joints, kidneys and quality of life - so it’s really important to see your doctor if you think you might have gout and receive treatment. The good news is, you can do this online in the comfort of your own home.

What is gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis (inflammation of a joint) that can affect toe, foot, ankle, knee, and elbow joint. Gout arthritis causes sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling in the joints, often experienced at first in the big toe, and is most common in men.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.

Uric acid comes from the breakdown of cells in your body, as well as chemicals called purines that are found in your food. It is your kidney’s job to filter uric acid in your blood and flush it out through urination.

However, when uric acid levels are too high and your kidneys are unable to remove the excess uric acid, small crystals can form in your joints. These crystals cause inflammation and swelling which can create an uncomfortable and painful experience.

There are a number of risk factors cited that can make a person more likely to get gout arthritis. Some of these include:

  • Obesity
  • High alcohol intake
  • A genetic predisposition
  • High intake of foods rich in purines (eg: some seafoods and meats)
  • Certain medicines eg: diuretics (fluid tablets)
  • Injury to a joint
  • Long-standing kidney disease

What are the symptoms of gout?

What does gout pain feel like?

The symptoms of gout can develop quickly, sometimes within 12 to 24 hours and can be periodic. If you’re experiencing a gout attack, you’re likely to feel:

  • Severe pain and tenderness in the affected joint. Usually, gout will affect one joint at a time, most commonly your upper toe
  • You might notice redness and swelling in the affected joint as well
  • The skin over the joint may feel hot and tight and may look shiny and red
  • Joints can become painful and stiff. Sometimes, this can be so tender that even the light pressure of bedding or a sock can cause discomfort.

A gout attack can last typically up to 10 days, but in severe cases can occur for weeks.

Who can get gout?

Gout is common in New Zealand, with an estimated prevalence of 2.7% for the overall population and a prevalence of 3.75% in people aged 20 years or older. While anyone can get gout, it commonly affects adult men (particularly after age 40) and is uncommon in women until after menopause. It is estimated to affect adult men 3.5-times more than women and is more common in people of Maori and Pacific Island ethnicity.

How is gout treated?

The good news is, with help from your doctor and lifestyle changes, the acute (right now) symptoms can be treated and long term prevention can be achieved.

  1. Diagnosis of gout: your doctor will diagnose gout based on your symptoms, and potentially blood tests showing high levels of uric acid or through a sample taken from a small needle put into your joint.

  2. Medication: If you’re diagnosed with gout, your doctor may prescribe you medication to reduce the pain you're experiencing. These can be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, or medication that helps to block the production of uric acid or corticosteroids (in tablet or injection form) to reduce pain and inflammation.

  3. Prevention: to help to make sure that gout doesn’t return once your symptoms subside, there are a number of steps you can take. These include:
    • diet changes restricting or avoiding foods high in purine (ie. red meat, shellfish, bread)
    • Limiting your alcohol intake, as alcohol causes the body to lose fluid (by increasing urine output and drawing water from the blood), thus increasing the uric acid levels in the blood.
    • Increasing your water intake daily to help flush out uric acid
    • Your doctor may choose to prescribe you urate-lowering medicines to help keep your uric acid level low.

What do I do if I have gout?

If you think you might have gout arthritis, rest until your symptoms improve, raise the inflamed joint and put an ice pack on it and do not exercise during an acute attack.

As soon as possible, make sure to book an appointment to see a doctor who can help you to treat gout. Gout is a condition that our online doctors at Bettr are able to treat. If you’d like to see a doctor about gout, book your online consultation below.

We offer same day appointments and online prescriptions. There’s no app to download, no need to change GP and no registration; just immediate healthcare wherever you are.

Princing background image

Testimonials

Paratene, July 2021

This was my first time using the service and I found it to be state of the art, futuristic in how we go to the Doctors. It was an extremely user friendly process and their are a highly skilled, dedicated arsenal of Doctors on hand who care for each patient. I was quite daunted at first but having been through first hand, I can see the amazing benefits. Thank you so much team Bettr.



Sophie, June 2021

The experience was amazingly awesome, relaxed and simple. Your doctor Antonio was wonderful. Very easy to chat and laugh with. Keep him on definitely!!! Overall AAA+. Nice to know this service is so readily available when you really need it. Thank you so much. Don't change anything! Your awesome!!

Lee, May 2021

I love how we can see a doctor online and get a prescription. So awesome. I really appreciate it, as I wasn't feeling well enough to go anywhere. But having your doctor online is amazing. Doctor Fazlus is the best. Thanks Bettr.

Antoinette, April 2021

THIS IS THE BEST SERVICE! Absolutely love it for so many reasons. Too many to list but mainly because there's no more having to wait or stand to be seen by a nurse and then sometimes wait again to see a doctor. Waiting in the comfort of your own home means so much. Please ensure we NEVER LOSE THIS ONLINE DOCTOR SERVICE.

Anastasia, February 2021

What an awesome experience that was, no 2-4 hour waiting in a room with other sick people & noise. The Doctor provided great care & empathy. The whole process was amazing from the 5 minute notification to waiting in the virtual waiting room & choosing the pharmacy to send prescriptions to, it was a great experience. Thank you

Ringakapo, June 2021

As a first time user using this website it was awesome as having a booked appointment made my day so much easier. As I could do other errands instead of sitting in the Doctor's surgery waiting for a couple of hours to be seen to. I would highly recommend this service if you don't need to see a Doctor in person.

Teresa, July 2021

Had 2 appointments for myself and my daughter and both doctors were absolutely helpful and amazing! Explained everything to them and they straight away gave me what I needed for a prescription. Thank you so much Bettr, will definitely be using you guys again.

Gerrard, March 2021

My experience was a seamless and professional. From online booking to payment. Got my reminder, both text and email. The Doctor was knowledgeable and had a great 'bed side' manner. I got my SMS to select a local pharmacy and got my medical certificate at the end of the consult. Brilliant, thank you.

Dee, December 2020

Such a seamless and stress free process, convenient and straight forward, the easiest option as opposed to making an appointment and going in to see the doctor. Less wait time, avoiding the queues, reasonable cost, highly recommend this service.

Molly, August 2020

Just leaving some feedback to let you know the Telehealth appointment was awesome! Being a mum, it can be such a hassle to take my baby with me to my normal GP office! The video call was so handy, I even did it in my dressing gown! My doctor was very thorough and got to know me. I will be recommending it to friends and family!

A'a, February 2021

My appointment using Bettr online consultation was excellent. The Dr was thorough and asked the right questions. I felt heard and taken seriously regarding my symptoms. I am so happy with my consultation and the service is awesome!!

Nadia, October 2020

Fabulous consult listened well to my concerns, awesome Doctor. Bettr is an amazing service that I find really helpful, fast and efficient! It's easy to see a doctor without sitting in a clinic for hours with children! Will definitely be back and will recommend to others.

Aveta, December 2020

I was scared at first but prepared myself 5 mins before my scheduled appointment, I was nervous but my video consult with the doctor went well. It's awesome. Where have you been all my life when I've been waiting in a line. Thank you.

Alfred, October 2020

That was the best phone call for help and advice that I’ve ever had. Dr Smart is an amazing person who has excellent empathy and should be commended. 10/10 would recommend.

Bailey, January 2021

I think this is an incredibly inclusive and progressive service and believe it will be beneficial to so many New Zealanders. Affordable, convenient and safe. I've already told many family and friends.

Ace, July 2020

I just wanted to voice how wonderful the video consultation was, it was easy and very convenient especially with a young toddler. Also just wanted to emphasise that the video consultation service you provide is the best thing I have experienced in health care. Thank you

Hargun, November 2020

I love it. It’s really good initiative. I don’t drive and every time I need to go to a clinic, I have to take a taxi or public transport. The travel and wait for the doctor saves so much time. Please keep online appointments going. Thank you!

Rinal, July 2020

This is amazing help for patients who can’t go out to a walk-in surgery. I had a really good experience. Thank you

Ita, February 2021

I love this service. There's no long waiting time at the clinic. I don't have to try find parking or use petrol to get to the clinic, and its done in the comfort of my own home. I love the reminder beforehand to get me ready. Continue this amazing service please.

Bunny, July 2020

I was sceptical about having a video call as I wanted the doctor to see my concerns but I’m comfortable that the doctor has given me the best treatment possible. Thank you

Taylor, July 2020

I have nothing but a positive response to my consultation. A much better experience than having to wait in the queue for 2 hours to only get a brief appointment with a Dr. The Dr was very informative, knowledgeable and caring. Thank you again.
Enrol for more background image

Register for more.

Bettr's online doctor service is available to everyone, whether you’re registered or not.

If you register, Bettr gets even better:

Get access to all the services of Local Doctors including Bettr and face-to-face consultations.

The price of Bettr consulations drops to $10, and under 14s are free!

If you require face to face to treatment following your online consult, you can be referred to one of our nearly 50 GP clinics from Whangarei to Christchurch.