Although elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are commonly associated with prostate cancer, there are in fact a number of factors that may be affecting your PSA levels, these include [1]:

  • Benign prostate enlargement
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Prostatitis
  • Age
  • Prostate cancer

See also: What does high PSA mean?


5 factors that affect PSA levels


Elevated PSA levels can be a result of a number of conditions and risk factors. Some of the most common factors that can cause a man’s PSA levels to fluctuate include:


Benign prostatic hyperplasia


Benign prostate enlargement is the medical term used to describe an enlarged prostate. This condition can affect how you urinate. It’s important to note that having an enlarged prostate doesn’t increase your risk of prostate cancer [2].

Common symptoms of benign prostate enlargement include:

  • Difficulty starting to pee
  • A frequent need to pee
  • Difficulty fully emptying your bladder

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)


Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common infections that can affect different parts of your urinary tract; this includes the bladder, urethra or kidneys. UTIs are not as common in men as they are in women - it’s estimated that only one in every 2,000 men will develop a UTI every year [3].

Common symptoms of UTIs include:

  • Needing to pee suddenly or more often than usual
  • Pain or a burning sensation when peeing
  • Smelly or cloudy urine

Prostatitis


Prostatitis is the name given to the inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. It affects men of all ages though it tends to be more common in men 50 and younger [4].

Common symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Difficulty urinating, such as dribbling or hesitant urination
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night

See also: What Causes Inflammation In The Prostate Gland?


Age


Aside from your PSA levels, medical professionals will consider a number of factors when evaluating your results - age being one of them. The reason being simple, as you age, it’s natural for your PSA levels to fluctuate [5].


Prostate cancer


Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer. Many men with early prostate cancer may experience no symptoms at all which is why early and regular screening is so important. If symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • An increased need to pee
  • Straining while you pee
  • A feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied

If you have any concerns about prostate cancer, it’s important to speak with your doctor.

A PSA test is one of the most reliable ways to measure your PSA levels as well as other benign conditions. You can take this test by visiting your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home PSA Test can help detect signs of prostate cancer in the blood. Raised levels may indicate prostate cancer though they may also indicate non-cancerous enlargement or inflammation of the prostate.

You should take the test if:

  • You are over the age of 50
  • You have a strong family history of prostate cancer
  • You are overweight or obese


References

  1. National Cancer Institute. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. Online: Cancer.gov, 2017
  2. NHS. Benign prostate enlargement. Online: NHS.uk, 2020
  3. HSE. Urinary tract infection, adults. Online: HSE.ie
  4. NHS. Prostatitis. Online: NHS.uk, 2020
  5. National Cancer Institute. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. Online: Cancer.gov, 2017