As a male 55 or over, you may be asked to take a PSA test during your prostate screening.
PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is a substance produced by the prostate gland.
It is often a source of medical problems for middle-aged and older men.
The PSA Test is a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
It is used as a means of early detecting prostate cancer and other prostate health problems.
This article will discuss what causes high PSA levels in men and how you can naturally reduce PSA.
The significance of your PSA?
During a prostate checkup, blood tests are taken to screen for PSA levels in men. While it is reasonable to have a small amount in the bloodstream, a rise in PSA can indicate a variety of problems.
Most healthy men will have PSA values of around 4.9 ng/ml, but age is an essential determinant of normal PSA levels.
The prostate gland increases in size and produces more PSA as you get older.
Note that the American Urological Association recommends against routine PSA screening in men aged less than 54 years (Carter et al., 2013).
If your PSA test result is high for your age or persistently increasing, a rectal examination and imaging tests may be recommended. In suspicious cases, a prostate biopsy may be recommended.
However, a biopsy can have drawbacks, which we will discuss below.
What causes PSA to rise?
- Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate)- An infected prostate (prostatitis) occurs when the prostate becomes inflamed. Areas around the prostate also become swelled and inflamed during prostatitis, which can cause feelings of pain.
- Urinary tract infection-A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria, (usually Escherichia coli) enters into the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)– Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) occurs when the prostate, expands to twice or even three times its regular size. The growing prostate gland presses against the urethra and restricts urinary flow, resulting in lower urinary tract symptoms.
- Prostate cancer-Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that can affect men; only skin cancer is more common. It is cancer of the prostate gland, which is located between the bladder and the penis. Elevated PSA levels are significantly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Recent sexual activity-Studies show that frequent sexual activity or a recent ejaculation can cause a mild rise in PSA. This is why men are advised not to ejaculate for 48 hours before a PSA screening test. It makes a false-positive result.
An elevated PSA count doesn’t always indicate the presence of cancer. However, it is often the first thought men have.
If there is something generally wrong with the prostate, a PSA score will reveal the problem.
No man wants to hear they have a high PSA score. It is important to remember that a high PSA score is the result of a problem, not the cause of one.
To confirm prostate cancer, a doctor will generally perform further screening tests, such as a digital rectal exam (DRE) or/ and a biopsy.
A prostate biopsy involves multiple samples of prostate tissue. They are collected by inserting hollow needles into the gland and then withdrawing them. This is the definitive test to see if there are tumors and if they are cancerous.
However, there is overwhelming evidence that proves that screening for prostate cancer is more harmful than beneficial.
How to lower PSA levels
There are many ways to reduce your level of PSA and prevent the risk of developing further prostate health issues.
Any form of physical exercise is good for the body. Aerobic exercise helps men lose weight, which can be beneficial for lowering PSA levels. Weight problems contribute to hormone production, which can harm prostate health.
Stress also causes the release of hormones, which contribute to prostate problems. Yoga and meditation are great ways to exercise and relieve stress at the same time.
Hormones in the body are the leading cause of prostate enlargement. Certain foods encourage your body to produce these hormones which damage your prostate.
It is, therefore, advisable to eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes organic vegetables. This reduces pesticide exposure and will increase vitamin concentration – all of which benefits the prostate.
Healthy eating also helps you to lose weight. Changing the way you eat entirely, rather than faddy diets, is more effective in the long run.
In today’s fast-paced modern world, it is hard to ensure that you are getting your body’s daily requirements of nutrients and vitamins.
If you are always on the go, eating balanced and regular meals can be tricky. With the advancements in the way our food is grown, many of the nutrients we once got are lost.
To help maintain prostate health, you need the right amount of nutrients every day.
Vitamin D has been shown to slow down the rise of PSA in men with untreated low-grade prostate cancer. During spring and summer, the rate of PSA increase slows. So make sure you get outside during sunny days or take a vitamin D supplement.
Beta-sitosterol is another important plant sterol extract that has been clinically proven to improve prostate health.
In one study, beta-sitosterol increased the maximum flow rate of men taking part by 45%. Men also reported improved urinary symptoms.
Beta-sitosterol works by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase and reducing inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin production.
Making these changes to your lifestyle is a simple way to lower PSA levels and help to maintain your prostate health. Talk to your doctor about your prostate cancer risk and any family history of prostate cancer.
Also, do your research on the pros and cons of PSA screening and the risk of a prostate biopsy.
Test results can also be affected by things such as recent ejaculation, catheterization, and riding a bike, so make sure to avoid these things if possible, up to 2 days before your test.
It is essential to keep in mind that while a high PSA level can indicate prostate cancer, in many cases, it is caused by another benign condition. However, it depends on how high PSA may be and the baseline of the patient. In any case, every result higher than 10 ng should be carefully assessed.
Although the PSA test is used as a means of prostate cancer diagnosis, many things that can increase your PSA levels, including BPH and prostatitis. So if you do have a high level, don’t always assume the worst.
If you are looking for an easy, safe and natural way to lower your PSA in less than 90 days, as well as reduce nighttime waking, improve urinary flow, and fight BPH without any nasty side effects, then you can find out more here.