FAQ

High PSA: 7 reasons other than prostate cancer

A high PSA level can be the first sign of prostate cancer, but it can also be a sign of a less serious condition. Find out why you might have an abnormal PSA level.

The PSA test measures a protein in your blood called prostate specific antigen. Prostate cancer raises PSA levels, but a high PSA test result doesn’t always mean a man has prostate cancer. Sometimes PSA test results are elevated due to a mild abnormality, such as ejaculation within 24 hours before the test, or a condition that needs treatment, such as a UTI, but is not cancer . Because the test cannot distinguish serious causes of an elevated PSA level from other causes, it is recommended that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing not be performed in healthy men. That is, men who have no family history, known risk factors, or symptoms of prostate cancer.

Seven reasons, besides prostate cancer, for your PSA level to be higher than normal.

1. Aging affects PSA levels

Even without a prostate problem, your PSA level may gradually increase as you age. At age 40, a PSA level of 2.5 is the normal limit. At age 60 the limit is 4.5, at age 70 a PSA of 6.5 could be considered normal.

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2. Prostatitis: A common problem in men under 50

The PSA test is a good screening tool for prostate cancer. But it is not very specific. Common causes of inflammation of the gland, called prostatitis, can lead to high PSA levels. Prostatitis is the most common prostate problem in men under 50. Prostatitis caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Another, more common type of prostatitis, called nonbacterial prostatitis, can be harder to treat and can last a long time.

3. Medical procedures can cause PSA levels to rise

Anything that traumatically interferes with the architecture around the prostate can raise PSA levels. One of the most common causes of a significantly elevated PSA level in this type of trauma is bladder catheterization. Another cause is the examination of the prostate or the bladder which involves passing a scope or taking a biopsy. “Since it takes about two to three days for the PSA to halve, you should wait two to three weeks after this type of trauma to do a PSA test.

4. In men over 50: BPH may be the cause of high PSA

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate. But it’s not prostate cancer. BPH means more cells, so more cells that make PSA. BPH is the most common prostate problem in men over 50. It is not necessarily necessary to treat it, unless it causes frequent or difficult urination. Your GP may be able to tell the difference between BPH and prostate cancer by performing a digital rectal exam. But this usually requires an evaluation by a urologist and additional tests, such as a biopsy or imaging tests.

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5. High PSA levels due to urinary tract infection

Any infection near the prostate, including a UTI, can irritate and inflame prostate cells and cause PSA levels to rise. If you have been diagnosed with a UTI, wait until the infection clears up before doing a PSA test. In men, most UTIs are caused by bacteria and respond well to antibiotics. Having BPH increases your risk of UTIs.

6. Ejaculation is a potential cause of mildly elevated PSA

Ejaculation can cause your PSA level to rise slightly. The same goes for a digital rectal examination. These types of PSA elevations are usually not enough to make a significant difference unless your PSA is borderline. The PSA level should return to normal in two to three days.

7. Can bicycling increase the level of PSA?

Studies have sometimes found a link between prolonged cycling and an increase in PSA levels, but others have not found this link. You’d probably have to be a Lance Armstrong-type cyclist to worry about cycling and a significant rise in your PSA level.

* At press health we strive to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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