PSA is also known as the prostate-specific antigen. This is a protein made naturally by your prostate gland. In healthy individuals, the PSA levels are small all the time and this type of protein circulates freely through the bloodstream.
However, doctors and researchers have discovered that PSA can get really high sometimes. This is usually because the patient has a significant prostate infection or prostate cancer. Developing prostate cancer is something that scares most people, but luckily, high PSA levels don't necessarily mean that you have cancer.
Dive into this article and learn why sometimes your PSA levels are high and yet this is not a diagnosis for cancer.
What Are Normal PSA Levels?
PSA can fluctuate in the bloodstream depending on various factors. However, individuals who don't have prostate cancer have their PSA levels at under 4 ng/ml. Most often, healthy men have PSA levels revolving around 1-2 ng/ml.
At the same time, scientists have discovered that PSA levels above 4 ng/ml usually translate into prostate cancer. Some cancer patients have PSA levels above 6 or even 7 ng/ml and they usually receive some sort of treatment to bring these levels down.
Your Age Might Naturally Increase PSA Levels
Now that you know what are the normal levels of PSA, it's time to see how age affects it. Men who are 50 years or older begin to see a significant spike in their PSA levels. This happens because the prostate tissue naturally produces more PSA.
Men in their 70s usually have higher PSA levels than normal. However, this doesn't automatically mean that they have cancer. In many cases, screening seniors for PSA levels might result in false positives.
Other types of tests are necessary, besides a PSA test, to determine if a patient has cancer or not. Therefore, if you or your dad have high PSA levels, you shouldn't be scared because this doesn't usually translate into prostate cancer.
Prostatitis Can Also Increase PSA Levels
Prostatitis is nothing but an inflammation of the prostate tissue. It can happen to men of all ages and it comes with various symptoms. For example, patients who have prostatitis experience mild fever, difficulty urinating, or painful ejaculations. Feeling pressure in the rectum area is another sign of prostatitis.
Some men may experience something known as Chronic Nonbacterial Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. These individuals having CNP/CPPS might experience symptoms similar to prostatitis.
For example, they might complain of mild lower back pain, painful ejaculation, and discomfort in the pelvic area. In some cases, prostatitis can be asymptomatic as well. For many patients, prostatitis can be a chronic problem, but this is not a confirmed diagnosis for prostate cancer.
Having a Recent Medical Procedure Might Raise PSA Levels
Different types of medical procedures done on the prostate tissue or urinary tract might make the prostate produce more PSA. For example, if you've had a recent prostate exam, your PSA levels are probably higher than normal.
At the same time, having a urinary catheter inserted in the urethra can cause mild irritation and make the prostate tissue release more PSA. As a rule of thumb, patients should wait for a few weeks after having a procedure before they take a PSA test.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Could Also Be the Culprit for High PSA
Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH is another reason why your PSA levels are high, but you don't have prostate cancer. This type of condition is frequently encountered among older men. It is an enlargement of the prostate tissue and it's usually accompanied by symptoms similar to prostatitis.
At the same time, BPH can have similar symptoms experienced by those who have prostate cancer. This includes painful urination and problems with ejaculation.
If You Exercise Often, Your PSA Levels Might Be Increased
Different types of vigorous exercises including running or doing high-intensity interval training can increase your PSA levels. They will eventually remain elevated for a few days. That's why you need to stop exercising for at least 2 days before going for a PSA test. Bicycle riding is specially linked to potentially increased PSA.
Having a urinary tract infection could increase PSA levels
Your PSA levels might also be elevated by urinary tract infections. These are common among men and they can cause irritation to the prostate tissue. As a result, the prostate will produce more PSA and give a false positive for prostate cancer to a PSA test.
The severity of the urinary tract infection can also influence how much PSA is produced by the prostate. For example, those who experience painful urination, blood in the urine, and other serious symptoms usually have their PSA levels increase.
Why Should You Order a PSA Test?
It's important to understand that you can have various symptoms such as painful urination, pelvic pain, abdominal discomfort, and back pain without having prostate cancer. These symptoms are usually caused by one or more of the conditions mentioned above.
However, these are the symptoms experienced by those who indeed have prostate cancer and don't know about it. That's why it's important to do a PSA test as soon as you start to experience one or more of the symptoms presented in this article.
If your PSA levels are slightly higher, your doctor might take you through other types of tests to determine if you really have prostate cancer or not. Most patients don't, so don't get scared right away.
If your PSA levels are very high and other tests indicate that your prostate might be cancerous, it's best to discover it as soon as possible, right? Your doctor might recommend various treatment methods to help you keep your PSA levels under control.
In any case, it's very important to do a PSA test, especially if you're older and experience recurring pelvic pain or discomfort while urinating.
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It has never been easier to check the health of your prostate, so order your PSA test today.