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What Causes Elevated PSA?

Elevated PSA levels can be a warning sign, often associated with prostate issues such as benign enlargement, inflammation, or cancer. Lifestyle factors and certain medical procedures can also influence PSA levels. Understanding these causes is crucial for men's health. Curious about how diet or medication might affect PSA? Dive deeper into the factors influencing prostate health with our comprehensive guide.
Sarah Sullins
Sarah Sullins

An elevated PSA level may indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but there are several other, non-cancerous, reasons for a high reading of this particular blood test. High levels may indicate prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). They may also be caused by a recent prostate biopsy, bicycle riding, a recent digital rectal exam, or a recent ejaculation.

A PSA blood test is a medical exam that is used to help determine if a man is suffering from prostate cancer or any other prostate problems. This test is also used by doctors during prostate cancer treatment to determine whether or not the treatment that is being used is working properly. An elevated PSA level can be caused by anything that has irritated the prostate, although some irritations will only cause a temporary increase in PSA levels.

Doctors will often draw blood from a patient to test for elevated PSA before performing biopsy or rectal exams.
Doctors will often draw blood from a patient to test for elevated PSA before performing biopsy or rectal exams.

Prostatitis occurs when an infection causes the prostate to become inflamed. Many times this condition will not last for a long time, but may reoccur. Some men will have long-term or chronic prostatitis. Treatment for this condition varies, depending on the initial cause. Bacterial infections that cause this condition will generally be taken care of with antibiotics that are prescribed by a doctor.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that is very common in older men. With this problem, the prostate becomes enlarged. This condition is non-cancerous and will not affect the rest of a man’s body.

A man's prostate can be found around the urethra.
A man's prostate can be found around the urethra.

Both a prostate biopsy and a digital rectal exam can cause a elevated PSA level. Many times, doctors will draw blood for the test before doing the biopsy or rectal exam. This ensures that a correct reading is done. If the PSA blood test is done after a biopsy, it will usually be after several weeks.

There are some studies that indicate that riding a bicycle can cause a elevated PSA level in men. Recent ejaculations can also create a temporarily high count. Due to this, most doctors recommend that a man does not ride a bike or take part in any sexual activity for at least two days before the test takes place.

High levels of PSA may indicate an enlarged prostate.
High levels of PSA may indicate an enlarged prostate.

If an elevated PSA level is found, another test is generally scheduled for a couple of weeks later. This will help to rule out any temporary issues that could have elevated the count, and also to rule out any lab errors. If the test comes back with high levels again, a biopsy is usually done to determine if cancer is present in the prostate.

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    • Doctors will often draw blood from a patient to test for elevated PSA before performing biopsy or rectal exams.
      By: Tim UR
      Doctors will often draw blood from a patient to test for elevated PSA before performing biopsy or rectal exams.
    • A man's prostate can be found around the urethra.
      By: peterjunaidy
      A man's prostate can be found around the urethra.
    • High levels of PSA may indicate an enlarged prostate.
      By: peterjunaidy
      High levels of PSA may indicate an enlarged prostate.
    • High PSA levels may be a sign of early stage prostate cancer.
      By: rob3000
      High PSA levels may be a sign of early stage prostate cancer.