The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a biomarker for the prostate that brings significant anxiety to men on every blood draw. In fact, a high PSA brings more stress to men than high cholesterol in my experience. While there are some good reasons for angst from this prostate antigen, here are benign reason’s why PSA goes high.
PSA can be elevated for many non-cancerous reasons:
· Ejaculating about 48 hours before the blood draw can cause a false increase in PSA by up to 1.3ng/ml.
· PSA may be higher in smokers compared to non-smokers.
· Inflammation of the prostate, or prostatitis, may cause an elevation in PSA. Treating prostatitis lowers PSA by close to 40%.
· A digital rectal exam (DRE) before the PSA blood draw can increase PSA by 0.4ng/ml.
· Needle biopsy of the prostate raises the PSA level by seven times its normal value, and it stays elevated for up to four weeks.
· Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate causes an increase in PSA.
· Any form of vigorous exercise a day or two before a blood draw may result in a false PSA increase.
· A sudden increase in testosterone, either by an external application (i.e., creams, injections, etc.) or your body’s natural increase, can elevate PSA.
· Riding a bicycle for a long-distance can increase your PSA score by up to 10% by putting pressure on the perineum, the area close to where the prostate is located. Cycling for short distances may not make a difference. Similar to after ejaculating, it is best to abstain from riding for at least 48 hours before the blood draw.