Diuretic medicines, commonly called water pills, work to decrease the fluid volume of your blood. With less blood flowing through your arteries and blood vessels, your blood pressure will decrease. Physicians often prescribe water pills as a first attempt to control blood pressure because they tend to have fewer side effects than other kinds of anti-hypertensive drugs. Gout is an inflammatory disease that produces severe pain in the joints. Taking water pills when you suffer from gout can cause problems.
What Diuretics Do
Water pills cause your body to produce more urine than normal to flush out excess fluid in your blood. They work by inducing your kidneys to expel more water in the form of urine. If your arteries have a buildup of plaque or blockages in them, or if they become constricted through natural processes of your body, this can lead to hypertension. Many medications can reduce your blood pressure in various ways. The most straightforward, however, usually is to reduce the total volume of your blood.
Primary or chronic gout usually occurs because of hereditary factors. When you eat many different kinds of foods, but primarily meat, you ingest purines. These substances produce the waste product uric acid. In non-gout sufferers, the kidneys remove uric acid from the body through urination. If this process does not work properly in your body, the uric acid settles in your joints, then crystallizes and causes inflammation. As a result, you have gout attacks when this inflammation becomes excessive. Apart from medications to reduce gout attacks and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain during attacks, keeping hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day helps to flush uric acid out. When you take water pills, you can become dehydrated, which the University of Maryland Medical Center states can cause you to experience gout attacks.
Secondary gout occurs only because of medications such as water pills. The removal of excess water from your body by diuretics can leave too much uric acid in your body. Even if you did not inherit gout and you've never had a gout attack previously, taking water pills can make you develop gout. Because this is a direct result of the diuretics, changing to another type of anti-hypertensive drug that does not reduce bodily fluid may help stop secondary gout attacks.
If you already have gout, taking water pills can increase gout attacks. Diuretics also can produce the same attacks as secondary gout. In both cases, your doctor may prescribe medicines to combat gout. She may recommend a daily pill, probenecid, colchicine or allopurinol, to routinely help flush the uric acid out of your body before it crystallizes. She also may recommend NSAIDs sold over the counter such as naproxen sodium or ibuprofen for minor gout attacks. She can prescribe more powerful NSAIDs for severe attacks, or she may recommend upping the dose of colchicine during an attack for relief.