Impact of gout on family, friends and relationships

Several people believed that gout had an impact on their families or friends. Some described how their mood was affected by their symptoms and pain, and that this could be difficult for other family members to deal with. Several people believed that family members thought they were ‘grumpy’, ‘irritable’ or ‘bad tempered’ when they had attacks. Sam felt that her teenage daughter might not understand why her mood changed when she was in pain. Others talked about wanting to be left alone during attacks. A few people felt that family were sometimes upset by seeing them in pain.
Many people felt that their family and friends were understanding, supportive and sympathetic. Some, though, said that it was difficult for others to understand what they were going through. A married couple, Alan and Sue, both had gout, and felt that this enabled them to have a better understanding and be more empathetic to each other. However, they still got frustrated when gout stopped them doing things together. 
Many people talked about their spouse or partner being their main source of support during an attack. Harry felt that his partner was reluctant to leave him in the house on his own when he had an attack in case he needed help. Eddie said that his children worried about him, but felt that gout had brought him closer to his late wife because she had looked after him during attacks. Val wanted to know whether her children were likely to get gout because she had it. 

Some people talked about the friction that could be caused between them and other family members when they had to cancel plans or activities because of gout. Like Naresh, others talked about how gout stopped them from helping out around the house or doing their normal tasks. Several people felt angry or frustrated by this. Eric was a full-time carer for his wife, so his attacks had a big impact on what he could do for her.
The physical and sexual aspects of people’s relationships were also affected. People did not want to be touched because they were worried about pain. Even lying in bed was ‘hard work’ for Joe. Ben thought that his attack had affected his girlfriend’s sleep when he was in pain during the night. One person talked about the practical difficulties of having sex when one or more joints were affected by an attack, although other people found that having sex relieved their pain.

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Last reviewed December 2016


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