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How long does gout last?

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How long it lastsTreatmentPreventionSpeaking with a doctor
Gout is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the joints. How long a gout attack lasts varies from person to person. In general, an episode can last between 5 and 12 days.
Medically reviewed by Shilpa Amin, M.D., CAQ, FAAFP
Updated on

Gout is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects up to 3.9% of adults in the United States.

Your diet and lifestyle can influence uric acid blood levels and your risk of developing gout. How long a gout attack lasts can vary and may depend on several factors.

In this article, we review the factors that can influence the length of a gout attack, treatment, prevention, and when to speak with a medical professional.

How long does gout last? 

An image of someone putting a knee brace on to help treat gout.
Photography by Freemixer/Getty Images

Gout duration varies from person to person, but it may last between 5 and 12 days without intervention. The severity of the inflammatory changes and the individual’s response can determine the duration of the gout attack. 

Some factors that can influence the duration of gout include:

  • Health status: An underlying chronic medical condition like diabetes or hypertension may lengthen the duration of a gout attack.
  • Family history of gout: If you have a genetic predisposition to the accumulation of uric acid in the blood, you may be more likely to experience prolonged gout attacks.
  • Poor diet: A diet high in red meat and alcohol can raise blood uric acid levels, affecting the duration of gout.
  • Early treatment: Early treatment can reduce the duration of gout attacks.
  • Age and gender: Older females may experience more frequent gout attacks of varying intensities than younger people.


Treatments for gout aim to manage the pain, prevent kidney stones, and reduce the risk of future gout flare-ups.

Below are some medical treatments and lifestyle modifications healthcare professionals may recommend for gout.

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Uric acid-reducing medications

These are medications that reduce the blood level of uric acid.

According to the 2020 American College of Rheumatology guidelines, allopurinol is the drug of choice for managing gout cases.

2020 review on the effect of allopurinol suggests that it was effective for treating gout, with no reported life threatening or adverse effects. 

Anti-inflammatory medications

The following anti-inflammatory medications can help treat gout-related inflammation:

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the Optum Perks free Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.

Lifestyle modifications

Diet and lifestyle adjustments play a crucial role in gout treatment.

Avoiding purine-rich foods may decrease levels of uric acid in the blood. Examples of these foods include:

  • red meat
  • organ meat
  • pork
  • refined foods

Medical experts recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with adequate water intake.

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Making healthy choices can help prevent gout. Here are a few tips for avoiding gout flares:

  • Eat a healthy diet: Avoiding high purine foods like red meat can help decrease uric acid levels. A 2018 review suggests that a healthy diet may help limit the risk of gout flare-ups.
  • Get physically active: Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Being physically active may help improve joint function and health.
  • Hydrate regularly: Drinking enough fluids helps the body get rid of excess uric acid crystals via the kidneys. This decreases the buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, preventing gout attacks.

When should you speak with a doctor? 

If you’re experiencing gout symptoms, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

If you already have a gout diagnosis and are experiencing frequent flare-ups, let your doctor know. They can help identify possible triggers and suggest treatment options to help reduce attack frequency.


The specific duration of gout differs from person to person. Factors like treatment timing, health status, and family history can influence how long a gout attack lasts.

Gout treatment involves finding ways to reduce blood levels of uric acid, whether through medication or lifestyle changes.

Urate-lowering drugs such as allopurinol and anti-inflammatory medications like colchicine can also help relieve gout symptoms.

Reducing your consumption of purine-rich foods, hydrating properly, and exercising regularly can also help you manage gout.

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