Can a 36 year old woman have gout?


I was a 36 year old healthy woman when my left knee started to give pain. I thought it was a fall or something & no big deal. I couldn’t ignore it any more after the right on done the same. I had been seeing the Doc about twice a week complaining of the pain. Finally my left knee & all the way down to my foot was swollen, red streaked, looking like celulitis & the pain was off the charts. I was finally Hospitaized where I seen a specialist who drew some fluid from under the patella. After several more test, including a 24hr urine collection test. They proved it to be Gout. It took a long time to get this Diagnosed. Even longer to walk without a limp. Acute & chronic pain ran my life. It left me so sedentary, I gained a lot of weight. It took abou a year for the acute pain to leave. Im 40 now. It has left me with just ordinary arthritis with pain that dont compare to before. I thought once you have gout you will always have gout. I have since moved & have different Dr’s now & I told them of my past & They dont believe me because all the test come up, no gout. They tell me it is not possible to have it in both knees at once. Especially a young woman. I still can’t use my knees as knees should be used. My arms are wearing out because of pushing my weight out of chairs. How did I possibaly get this debilitating disease so early on. I was in the Hospital for 2 weeks with meningitis just 6 months before the onset. Could it be connected? And is it likely to come back Can you give me any insight? Thank You Reita Stephens


Hi Reita,

I can’t address all of your issues.  But, yes, it is extremely unusual for women who are pre-menopausal to have gout.  If they didn’t see gout crystals in the knee fluid, then the diagnosis should be suspect.  You should start from scratch and get a new evaluation from a rheumatologist to see what is going on and focus on now, not then.

Joan Bathon, M.D.

About Joan Bathon, M.D.

Dr. Bathon was a Co-Deputy Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Hopkins Bayview. She was also the founder and director of the Hopkins Arthritis Center.