What are some other causes of an elevated PSA?
Thousands of men each year are told that they have a high PSA level after undergoing a routine screening test. The most important and most concerning cause of an elevated PSA is prostate cancer. However, prostate cancer is only one of many potential causes of an elevated PSA. Virtually anything that irritates the prostate will cause the PSA to rise, at least temporarily.
Six Non-Cancerous Causes of an Elevated PSA
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
This benign (non-cancerous) condition is oftentimes called simply an “enlarged prostate”. It is extremely common in older men and, unlike cancer, has no risk of spreading throughout the body. More information about this important condition is available.
Prostatitis is a condition where the prostate becomes inflamed due to an infection or another cause. Most cases of this condition are acute, or come and go away again over a short period of time, but some men also can have chronic prostatitis. This condition, if due to a bacterial infection, can be treated with antibiotics.
- Prostate Biopsy
Men who have recently undergone a prostate biopsy will usually have artificially elevated PSA levels. Because of this, most physicians will draw blood for the PSA test before any biopsies are done. Also, after a biopsy, most physicians will wait a few weeks before taking a repeat PSA level in order to let the level drop back to a baseline level.
- Recent Ejaculation
Ejaculation (the ejecting of semen from the penis) can cause a mild increase in the PSA level. 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.
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
The digital rectal exam may cause a small increase in the PSA level. Therefore, blood for the PSA test is usually drawn prior to this exam.
- Bicycle Riding
Some studies have shown that strenuous bicycle riding can mildly elevate the PSA level over the short term. Because of this, you should avoid this activity for a few days prior to the PSA test.
Crawford ED 3rd, Mackenzie SH, Safford HR, Capriola M.The Effect of Bicycle Riding on Serum Prostate Specific Antigen Levels. The Journal of Urology; 156 (1):103-105.
Keetch DW, Catalona WJ, Smith DS. Serial prostatic biopsies in men with persistently elevated serum prostate specific antigen values. The Journal of Urology 1994; 151(6):1571–1574.