About PSA Levels:
Prostate-Specific Antigen or PSA is a vital protein that is produced by the prostate gland. The prostate gland forms a part of the reproductive system of males and is located adjacent to the bladder and the urethra. The function of the prostate gland is to carry seminal fluid to the penis for ejaculation after sexual intercourse. This gland continues to grow as an individual ages and hence once a male gets above the age of 50 the prostate gland tends to enlarge causing a variety of symptoms.
Prostate cancer is perhaps the most common form of cancer in males after skin cancer. Early detection of this form of cancer is vital for a successful recovery of an individual. Early detection of prostate cancer can be made with the help of PSA levels or Prostate Specific Antigen levels.
While a rise in PSA level is usually linked with prostate cancer, there are other conditions as well which can cause the PSA levels to rise like inflammation, enlargement of the prostate, and urinary tract infection.
An elevated level of PSA alone does not indicate a declining prostate health but there are other factors such as age, overall health of the individual, and other risk factors which determine the overall health of a prostate of an individual.
What Causes PSA Levels To Rise?
Some of the common causes for PSA levels to rise are:
Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the causes of the PSA levels to rise. If an individual shows a continuous rise in the levels of PSA and there is a detectable lump on a Digital Rectal Examination then prostate cancer may be one of the causes of elevated PSA levels.
Age: As stated, the prostate gland is one of those unique glands which continue to grow as one gets older. This causes the PSA levels to rise as one crosses age of 50. The elevated PSA level is normally caused by the growth of the prostatic tissue albeit this growth is benign. Some individuals have a condition called prostate enlargement as they grow old. This is also one of the reasons for an individual to have elevated levels of PSA.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: This is yet another medical condition which can cause elevated levels of PSA. This condition is also known as an enlarged prostate. This usually occurs in individuals above the age of 50. It may cause difficulty urinating and if not diagnosed and treated may cause kidney dysfunction.
The main reason behind enlargement of the prostate is believed to be alteration in hormone levels. Normally, if prostate enlargement is mild and causes no threat to health and quality of life then there is no treatment required for the condition. The elevated PSA levels gradually come down once the enlargement starts to shrink.
Urinary Tract Infection: This is yet another common cause for PSA levels to rise. An individual with a urinary tract infection will have increased urinary urgency and frequency, inability to completely empty the bladder, and persistent abdominal pain. This is a common infection in the elderly population. Some individuals with underlying medical conditions like diabetes or renal stones are at a greater risk for developing a urinary tract infection.
Prostatitis: This is another common condition which results in elevation of PSA levels. This is found more in the younger population and results from a bacterial infection. The infection results in inflammation and irritation of the prostate gland thus causing PSA levels to rise. Other symptoms of Prostatitis are abdominal pain, pain with urination, flu like symptoms as a result of the bacterial infection.
Ejaculation: Some studies have come up with the fact that Ejaculation after a sexual intercourse may also cause elevated PSA levels. This rise in PSA levels may be existent up until 24 hours after the sexual intercourse. However, more research need to be done in this regard and physicians recommend not to have any sexual intercourse 24 hours prior to a scheduled PSA examination so as to avoid any false readings related to elevated levels of PSA.
Prostate Injury: Any injury or trauma to the Prostate Gland in the form of a motor vehicle collision with injuries in the abdominal area or an act of violence such as a stabbing or a gunshot wound to the prostate may also elevate the PSA levels in an individual. PSA levels tend to come down once the injury has been addressed and the individual is completely cured.
Surgical Procedures: Certain surgical procedures also increase the levels of PSA in individuals. These elevations are normally caused due to an injury in the groin area during surgery. This usually happens during insertion of certain instruments like a catheter or a scope. Once the injury is treated the PSA levels come down to within normal range.