Having sex might help beat gout, scientists claim.
Millions have the agonising condition, famously suffered by Henry VIII.
It leaves them battling excruciating joint pain, which is usually treatable with over-the-counter painkillers.
But experts say having more sex might help tackle the condition, which is the most common type of arthritis.
Having sex might help beat gout, scientists claim. Italian researchers believe it encourages people to give up boozing and red meat. Over-indulging in both can cause the condition
WHAT IS GOUT?
Gout is a form of arthritis that can be extremely painful.
Agonising attacks come on very quickly, often during the night.
It affects around two per cent of people in the UK and 8.3 million in the US.
Gout was once thought to be caused by overeating and drinking excessively, however, that is not the whole story.
The condition occurs due to a build up of uric acid, which can be because a person’s kidneys cannot get rid of the substance quickly enough.
Over time, uric-acid crystals can form in and around the joints, which can trigger severe inflammation that usually settles within a week.
In any day, about three-quarters of the urate in our bodies comes from the breakdown of purines produced within our body, while only about a quarter comes from the breakdown of purines in food and drink we consume.
Foods and drinks high in purines include:
- Red meat and offal
- Oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon
- Foods rich in yeast extract, like Marmite and Bovril
As well as pain, symptoms can include joints being:
Without treatment, gout attacks can become more frequent, with more joints being affected.
The two most common painkillers used to treat gout are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, and colchicine.
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Source: Versus Arthritis
The latest research looked at evidence from studies on how being in a couple and having a good sex life affected gout patients’ outcomes.
Researchers reviewed the available literature on gout and its links to sexual and erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and relationships.
They found not only did the condition worsen sexual performance — improving sexual health had a backwards effect in managing the condition.
The team, led by Dr Andrea Sansone, an endocrinologist at University of Rome Tor Vergata, said: ‘Improving gout management results in better sexual health, and vice-versa promoting better sexual health can improve disease control for gout.
‘The presence of a partner improves the behavioral well-being of gout patients, with beneficial effects on both sexual health and gout management.
‘The bidirectional link between gout and sexual dysfunction, i.e., how gout can have negative consequences for sexual health and how acting on promoting healthy sexual life may improve clinical and therapeutical outcomes of gout, is, therefore, a promising new chapter of sexual medicine, in which research will continue more and more in the years to come.’
They did not specify how exactly more sex is likely to reduce gout.
But sticking to a healthy weight and exercising regularly can help avoid painful flare-ups, the NHS says.
Previous research has also linked a healthier sex life with improving the immune system and mental health.
Experts today welcomed the latest study, published in the journal Sexual Medicine.
They said the benefit of sex might be more down to partners encouraging their loved ones to adhere to treatments.
Dr Mark Russell, a rheumatologist at King’s College London, told MailOnline: ‘This study highlights one of the many impacts that gout can have on patients.
‘Gout affects one in 40 people in the UK, and we know from research that it is often under-recognised and under-treated.
‘There are very effective medicines such as allopurinol that can be taken long term to control gout and prevent complications.
‘This study highlights a potential link between sexual health and treatment adherence in gout.
‘We know from studies that treatment adherence is often lower in people with gout than in other chronic conditions.
‘This study may provide relevant context for healthcare professionals when discussing the importance of adherence to medications such as allopurinol, which are highly effective at controlling the symptoms of gout and preventing complications.’
Around 1.5million people in the UK and 9.2million in the US suffer with gout. It is almost twice as prevalent in men as in women.
Official data shows the number of British cases has risen by a fifth in three years.
Experts believe rising obesity, sedentary lifestyles during lockdown and poor diet are behind the rise.
The agonising condition causes sudden and severe joint pain, usually in the big toe, but also in other parts of the feet, hands, wrists, elbow or knees.
It can also result in the skin over the joint becoming hot, swollen, red skin.
Too much uric acid — produced when breaking down chemicals in certain foods like red meat and alcohol — in the body can lead to deposits of sodium urate crystals forming in and around the joints, causing discomfort and pain.
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