stethoscope and a result sheet

PSA – All About This Hormone And Possible Issues

This article will explain what PSA is and its role in our bodies. We will also cover the types of PSA issues, the causes of those issues, and possible symptoms you may experience. Furthermore, we will cover the treatment options available and the cost of each treatment.

What Is PSA?

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced in the prostate gland. It is made by normal and malignant cells. PSA levels are often elevated in people who have prostate cancer or other non-cancerous prostate issues, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement) and prostatitis (prostate inflammation).

What Does PSA Do In Our Bodies?

The function of PSA in the human body is to break down the high molecular weight protein of the seminal coagulum into smaller polypeptides. In other words, it makes semen more liquid.

Normal PSA Levels In Men And Women

Generally, higher levels of PSA in men indicate a higher likelihood of prostate cancer. PSA levels are measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

  • Men with PSA levels below 4.0 ng/mL are not likely to have prostate cancer, but it is possible.
  • Many men with PSA levels above 4.0 ng/mL do not have prostate cancer.
  • Men whose PSA levels are between 4.0 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL have a one in four chance of prostate cancer.
  • A PSA level over 10 ng/mL indicates more than a 50 percent chance of having prostate cancer.
prostate cancer spelled with letter blocks

Although women do not have prostate glands, they have measurable PSA levels. Normal serum PSA concentration in women is less than 0.0004 ng/mL.

Types Of PSA Issues

As discussed earlier, high PSA levels can be caused by prostate cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia, or prostatitis. It is important to undergo a prostate check if you notice symptoms of a possible prostate issue, which we will discuss later.

Causes Of Elevated PSA Levels

Elevated PSA has many potential causes, including:

  • Acute urinary retention
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Old age
  • Prostatitis
  • Prostate cancer
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate
  • Urinary catheterization
NAD and metabolic function

Symptoms Of Elevated PSA Levels

The symptoms of high PSA levels you experience may vary depending on the cause of your elevated PSA levels. In this section, we will go over the symptoms of prostate cancer, the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, the symptoms of prostatitis, and the symptoms of urinary tract infection.

Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pain while urinating
  • Urinating in dribbles

Symptoms Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia include:

  • Pain during urination
  • Urge to urinate frequently
  • Weak urine flow

Symptoms Of Prostatitis

Symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Blood in the semen or urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Low back pain
  • Pain during bowel movement
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Pain during urination

Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infection

Symptoms of urinary tract infection include:

  • Cloudy urine with a strange smell
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Need to urinate frequently
  • Pain in the lower back

PSA Test

In this section, we will discuss the PSA test, including what a PSA test is and how to prepare for a PSA test.

What Is A PSA Test?

The PSA test involves taking a blood sample. The main reason for a PSA test is to screen for prostate cancer, but high PSA levels can also be caused by several other non-cancerous health issues.

There are three types of PSA tests:

  • PSA velocity: PSA velocity is the change in PSA levels over time. You may have a potentially aggressive form of cancer if your PSA levels rise quickly. However, recent studies question PSA velocity’s ability to predict prostate cancer from a biopsy.
nurse looking at a blood sample
  • Percentage of free PSA: PSA circulates in the blood in two forms – either attached to certain blood proteins or unattached (free). It is likely that you have prostate cancer if you have a low percentage of free PSA and a high PSA level.
  • PSA density: Benign prostate conditions do not produce as much PSA per volume of tissue as prostate cancers do. PSA density measurements adjust PSA values for prostate volume. To measure PSA density, you will need to have an MRI or transrectal ultrasound done.

How To Prepare For A PSA Test

You will not need to fast from eating or drinking before a PSA blood test, but there are some things you should avoid before a PCA test.

Activities like bicycling, riding motorcycles or ATVs, or riding horses can elevate PSA slightly for a short period of time, so it’s important to avoid these exercises for several days before your test.

You should also abstain from any sexual activity that includes ejaculation for at least 48 hours before the test. A recent ejaculation might cause a slight rise in PSA levels.

Some supplements and medications may change your PSA level and might affect the reliability of the test result. Talk to your doctor if you take any of the following supplements or medications:

  • Carninte
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Fenugreek
  • Lycopene
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Pomegranate
  • Saw palmetto
  • Statins
  • Urinary health medications

You should consult your doctor before taking a PSA test if you have a urinary tract infection (especially if you are taking antibiotics for it), if you have recently suffered a pelvic injury, or if you have had prostate or urinary tract surgery.

Elevated PSA Treatment Options

The treatment options you will have for an elevated PSA level will depend on the cause of the elevated PSA level. In this section, we will go over treatment options for prostate cancer, treatment options for benign prostatic hyperplasia, treatment options for prostatitis, and treatment options for UTI.

Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer

Treatment options for prostate cancer include:

  • Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing off cancerous cells)
  • External radiation therapy
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
  • Hormone treatment, also called androgen suppression therapy
  • Surgery to remove the prostate (such as robotic prostatectomy)

Treatment Options For Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Treatment options for benign prostatic hyperplasia include:

  • Medication
  • Procedures and surgical options
  • Supplements
pills, tablets and other medication

Treatment Options For Prostatitis

Treatment options for prostatitis will vary depending on whether you are experiencing an infection and/or urinary symptoms. Treatment for an infection will involve antibiotics, while treatment for urinary symptoms requires alpha-blockers.

Treatment Options For UTI

Treatment options for UTIs include antibiotics, IV antibiotics, and other medications.

Last Words

Getting tested for PSA levels can help you catch abnormal levels and seek treatment if needed. You can speak with your doctor about getting tested at your local clinic or get evaluated at your home with a concierge service.

Schedule your at Home Lab Test with Drip Hydration

An in-home lab test is a simple, convenient way to get the answers you need. Samples are collected by one of our medical professionals. We will help you understand your results and recommend the next steps to help you feel your best.

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Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?

It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.

What does a routine blood test cover?

A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.

How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?

A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

What is the cost of a lab test?

In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.

Read More: Lab Testing FAQ