Monday, March 07, 2005

Jogger's hematuria

Blood in the urine. Who wants to read about that? Well, for years, I couldn't read enough about it. I couldn't talk to enough doctors about it. Because I couldn't figure it out. And it got so bad and so frequent, it threatened all my runs over 8 miles. It burned, it nauseated, it slowed me during marathons, it could even stop me. And then I started bleeding after just 3 what the hell was going on?

Spotting of blood in the urine is actually fairly common among runners. And it scares the, well, okay, piss out of you the first time you see it. A couple drops mixed in with urine turns it the color of a California Bourdeaux. Pre-Running Boom, hematuria was known as Marcher's Syndrome (WW II), because soldiers would pee red after long marches. Dyhydrated, the walls of the bladder would slap together, breaking capillaries filled with small amounts of blood.

I thought my problem was that simple so I followed the recommended Rx of staying well hydrated and using liquids as a cushion for the bouncing bladder walls. Didn't work. I tried cutting out coffee. Spent hundreds of dollars on special supplements. Consulted and spent hundreds more on an "alternative medicine" doctor. No, no, no.

Last fall, the light finally turned on: My Vioxx. Even the doctor who prescribed me the Vioxx for assorted aches and pains never put it together. Earlier this week, just to make sure, I performed a scientific test: My arm killing me from throwing 500 baseballs in batting practice at 13-year-olds, I ate a couple Vioxx tabs. Within two days, yep, there it was. My burning Bourdeaux.

For anybody interested, all of those NSAIDS and Cox-2 inhibitors, as great as they are for pain and inflammation, can wreak havoc on the urinary tract and cause bleeding. I still have a Vioxx stash for a really bad day, but basically....back to icing. And no Vioxx 48 hours before a run over 5. Another damn rule.