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 slight abnormality, e.g. ejaculation within 24 hours before the test, or a medical condition that requires treatment, e.g. B. a urinary tract infection, which is not cancer. Because the test cannot distinguish serious causes of elevated PSA from other causes, it is recommended that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing be avoided in healthy men. That is, men who have no family history, known risk factors, or symptoms of prostate cancer.
Seven reasons besides prostate cancer why your PSA level is higher than normal.
1. Aging affects PSA levels
Even without a prostate problem, your PSA levels can gradually increase as you age. By age 40, a PSA 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.
2. Prostatitis: A common problem in men under 50
The PSA test is a good screening tool for prostate cancer. But it’s not very specific. Common causes of inflammation of the gland, known as prostatitis, can lead to high PSA levels. Prostatitis is the most common prostate problem in men under the age of 50. Prostatitis caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Another, more common type of prostatitis, called nonbacterial prostatitis, can be more difficult to treat and can last a long time.
3. Medical interventions can cause PSA levels to rise
Anything that traumatizes the architecture around the prostate can raise PSA levels. One of the most common causes of significantly elevated PSA levels in this type of trauma is urinary catheterization. Another cause is examination of the prostate or bladder, which involves performing an endoscope or biopsy. “Because it takes about two to three days for the PSA level to halve, one should wait two to three weeks after such trauma before having a PSA test.
4. In men over 50: BPH can be the cause of high PSA levels
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate. But it’s not prostate cancer. BPH means more cells, meaning more cells that make PSA. BPH is the most common prostate problem in men over 50. It’s not strictly necessary to treat it unless it’s causing frequent or difficult urination. Your GP may be able to tell the difference between BPH and prostate cancer by performing a digital rectal exam. However, this usually requires an assessment by a urologist and additional tests, such as B. a biopsy or imaging procedures.
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’ve been diagnosed with a UTI, wait for the infection to clear before having 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 possible cause of mildly elevated PSA
Ejaculation can cause your PSA level to rise slightly. The same applies to a digital rectal examination. These types of PSA increases 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 cycling increase PSA levels?
Studies have sometimes found a link between longer cycling and an increase in PSA levels, others have not found this link. You would probably have to be a Lance Armstrong type of cyclist to be concerned about cycling and a significant increase in your PSA levels.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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