4 Surprising Causes of a High PSA Result

Although the recommended testing procedure for prostate cancer is controversial, the truth is that prostate health should be of top priority for men ages 45 and older.  In order to prevent the development of prostate cancer, it is recommended that men undergo one of two tests: the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or the digital rectal exam (DRE). While both tests are important for preventative measures, the PSA test's accuracy packs a certain amount of skepticism.

What is the PSA test?

The prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by the prostate gland.

The PSA test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. It's relatively normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood. However.as a man ages and the risk of prostate cancer increases, so does the levels of PSA in his blood. Hence, the importance of getting tested as you age.

What Raises Your Levels?

If you've received test results that indicate high levels of PSA, it does not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. In fact, benign conditions such as prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) have been known to raise PSA levels.

4 Surprising Causes of High PSA Levels

If your PSA test results were high, it may not be easy to shake the feeling that you may have cancer. That said, there are a litany of reasons that may have caused your test results. Here, the four most surprising, and overlooked, causes.

1. Digital rectal exam (DRE). Studies have found that undergoing a DRE prior to a PSA test may increase your levels. Typically, blood will be drawn before a PSA test in order to not skew the results. 

2. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a higher-than-normal PSA result may also be indicative of a urinary tract infection.

3. Recent ejaculation. According to the Washington University School of Medicine, PSA testing within 24 hours of ejaculation may lead to an artificial rise in levels.

4. Bicycle riding. In a study reported by The Journal of Urology, men with slightly higher levels of PSA were found to have elevated quantities of the protein after a 13 mile bike ride. Despite that finding, men with normal levels prior to the study did not experience any change afterward.


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.

Herschman JD, Smith DS, Catalona WJ. Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

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):1571-157