Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein that is produced by the prostate gland. Elevated levels of the protein in the bloodstream can often be an early indicator of prostate problems, such as prostate cancer. However there are also many non-cancerous causes for PSA levels to be elevated. Here are some possible reasons why your PSA level may be above normal.
Inflammation of the prostate, or prostatitis, can increase the level of PSA in the blood. Prostatitis is believed to be related to any of several forms of bacterial infection and can be acute or chronic in nature. Treatment for prostatitis involves symptom relief through muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and massage. Bacterial prostatitis in particular is generally treated with antibiotics.
Even without any prostate problems, as you age, PSA levels will naturally rise and may be entirely benign.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
BPH is essentially a wealth of additional cells. An overabundance of cells leads to an elevation in PSA production. This condition may require no treatment unless it begins to cause urination difficulties or urgency.
Simple trauma to the prostate can easily elevate PSA levels causing false positives and undue worry. You should allow your body adequate time to recover prior to testing.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Any kind of infection of the prostate gland, including a UTI, can irritate and inflame prostate cells and cause PSA levels to rise. If you’ve been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, be sure to wait until after the infection has cleared up before getting a PSA test.
While elevations are usually only slight, intercourse can temporarily raise prostate levels. Because of this, most physicians will advise you to avoid any sexual activity for at least a couple of days before your PSA blood test.
Physical activity has been implicated as being a potential factor in elevating PSA levels, with bicycling in particular receiving the most scrutiny. While some studies have shown how strenuous bicycling can mildly elevate PSA levels other research findings however have been inconsistent.
Don’t allow an elevated PSA level to create any unwarranted anxiety. Stay up to date on all of your appointments, tests and rechecks.