Sorting through a Urological Issue at Spring Training
At this time of the year most of us who enjoy baseball look daily to the storylines as they develop in Florida or Arizona. Obviously for those of us here in this city much of the focus is on the 2016 Blue Jays season. An interesting story came out of the New York Mets camp Monday. Matt Harvey who is one of the potential elite young pictures in the game came into the trainer’s office apparently in great discomfort. For a few days there was much discussion of a mystery ailment. For all associated with the Mets organization it made for nervous times. After all, Harvey had undergone Tommy John surgery in 2014 and there was much controversy a year ago as he approached his innings limit during the stretch run. Concerns about injury led to a discussion about whether to shut him down prior to the playoffs. Was he experiencing ominous ‘elbow tightness’? Was the Mets promising young season about to head sideways? The organization was clearly worried. A short time later he emerged to explain the issue to the organization, the media and baseball world.
What he actually had was hematuria. Blood in the urine. From the Greek ‘hemato’ (blood) and ‘uria’ (urine). This was ultimately found to be secondary to a bladder infection. So now of course we have a story that both appeals to my baseball interests and professional side as well. Dean Blundell had an entertaining take yesterday on his radio show during the 8 oclock hour. While this has generated a lot of humour over the last couple of days, to be very clear blood in the urine in general should always be checked out. Causes can range from simple infections to kidney stones to cancers of the kidney or bladder. It is what we see everyday as urologists. Smoking is not only a leading cause of lung cancer and heart disease but also a major risk factor for bladder cancer. If you do see any blood in the urine it is very important that you consult a physician in order to have any potential problems addressed. For those who want to explore this further The Canadian Urological Association site can give you some insight about the kinds of things that we would look for as urologist. Similarly the American Urological Association Urology Care Foundation has some great patient resource material. Hematuria clearly is no laughing matter.
Having said all of that, back to baseball! Matt Harvey did have what appears to be a cystoscopy, which cleared him of any pathology in his bladder, and he was given instructions to "pee more regularly". He has been cleared to play baseball; his elbow seems fine. Whether he needs to adhere to that advice if he is on a nice run and ‘dealing’ late into a game is another matter. Pacing behind the mound may not be the result of waiting for the hook from Mets’ manager Terry Collins. Perhaps the constant crotch-grabbing of Blue Jays legend Dave Stieb, in retrospect warranted urological consultation. I don’t know. The general advice of timed voiding is something we not infrequently give in an office setting. It is often general advice we will give it to limit bladder infections in both men and women when we have otherwise excluded other causes. I suppose what I did not know until yesterday is that such simple urologic advice could potentially have an impact on the Cy Young award or a pennant race. I will follow baseball in 2016 in a new light!
Can't wait for baseball to start. Looking forward to more of this:
The Bue Jays opening day roster looks formidable
...And we have Tulo!
Opening day goes this Sunday!