Often the concern that many men have when they’re informed that their PSA levels are elevated is whether they are at risk for developing prostate cancer. A PSA test is designed to measure the level of a protein in your blood called prostatic specific antigen. While prostate cancer will of course increase the levels of PSA in your blood stream, this increase isn’t always an indication of prostate cancer. There are number of things that can elevate your PSA levels that are not related to prostate cancer. In a majority of cases an elevated PSA may be an indicator of another disorder entirely that is affecting the prostate gland. Let’s take a look at some of the most common factors that can cause an increase in PSA levels.
Causes for the increase in PSA
Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland due to a bacterial infection. The condition is treated with antibiotics and affects mostly males below the age of 50.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH):
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is an enlargement of the prostate gland which can cause difficulty with urination or increased frequency of urination. The condition itself is non-cancerous and primarily affects men over the age of 50. A digital rectal exam (DRE) is also conducted to properly diagnose BPH or other prostate related issues.
Age is one factor we simply have no control over. As men age PSA levels will gradually rise. For example, men with a PSA of 2.5 by the age of 40 is considered normal. A man who reaches the age of 60 will have a normal level of 4.5, what’s ironic however is that a younger man with a PSA score of 4.5 could potentially be at greater risk for prostate cancer.
Ejaculation during sexual intercourse can slightly raise PSA levels. They will generally return to normal within 48 hours. This slight increase however isn’t enough to make a significant difference unless your PSA level is borderline above normal. Before having a PSA test done ask your doctor if you should avoid sexual activity.
Above all else it’s important that you don’t panic and closely examine all the factors relevant to you that may be causing an increase in your PSA. Get all the information you can and speak with your doctor before considering a biopsy to accurately determine if you do in fact have prostate cancer.