what does an ovulation test measure

what does an ovulation test measure

what does an ovulation test measure

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Ovulation home test

An ovulation home test is used by women. It helps determine the time in the menstrual cycle when getting pregnant is most likely.

The test detects a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine. A rise in this hormone signals the ovary to release the egg. This at-home test is often used by women to help predict when an egg release is likely. This is when pregnancy is most likely to occur. These kits can be bought at most drug stores.

LH urine tests are not the same as at home fertility monitors. Fertility monitors are digital handheld devices. They predict ovulation based on electrolyte levels in saliva, LH levels in urine, or your basal body temperature. These devices can store ovulation information for several menstrual cycles.

what does an ovulation test measure
what does an ovulation test measure

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How the Test is Performed

Ovulation prediction test kits most often come with five to seven sticks. You may need to test for several days to detect a surge in LH.

The specific time of month that you start testing depends on the length of your menstrual cycle. For example, if your normal cycle is 28 days, you’ll need to begin testing on day 11 (That is, the 11th day after you started your period.). If you have a different cycle interval than 28 days, talk to your health care provider about the timing of the test. In general, you should begin testing 3 to 5 days prior to the expected date of ovulation.

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You will need to urinate on the test stick, or place the stick into urine that has been collected into a sterile container. The test stick will turn a certain color or display a positive sign if a surge is detected.

A positive result means you should ovulate in the next 24 to 36 hours, but this may not be the case for all women. The booklet that is included in the kit will tell you how to read the results.

You may miss your surge if you miss a day of testing. You may also not be able to detect a surge if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.

How do you use ovulation strips to predict your most fertile days of the month?

It’s easy: All you have to do is pee on a stick or strip (or pee in a cup and dip the stick or strip into the cup) and wait a few minutes for the indicator to appear. If the test line shows up darker than the control line, you’re about to ovulate. (There are always low levels of LH in your body, so if the test line shows up but appears lighter or fainter than the control line, you’re not ovulating yet. Using an ovulation test strip with a digital readout can eliminate this confusion altogether.)

what does an ovulation test measure
what does an ovulation test measure

Ovulation tends to occur about halfway through your menstrual cycle. So it’s best to start using an ovulation predictor test a few days before your midway point. (If your cycle is 28 days, for instance, take your first test on day 10 or 11. If your cycles are irregular, use the length of your shortest cycle in the last 6 months as a guide and begin testing three to four days sooner than the midpoint of your shortest cycle.)

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You might need to test for a few days to detect a surge in LH, which is totally normal. Most kits come with five to 10 test strips. If you use an ovulation test strip with a digital reader, it can compare your current hormone levels with the levels you’ve had on previous days. That can make it even easier to determine when your LH is surging.

Are there any other pointers you should consider? To get the most accurate reading, you’ll want to:

  • Use an ovulation test strip between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. Most women have a surge in LH in the morning, and those levels can be picked up in your urine about four hours later. You could even test twice a day — once between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and again between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. But whether you test once or twice, aim to do it at the same time (or times) each day.

  • Make sure your urine is concentrated enough. Avoid peeing for an hour or two before the test, and try not to drink large amounts of fluid.

  • Follow the package directions carefully. The more closely you stick with the manufacturer’s instructions, the more likely it is you’ll get good results.

Once the test indicates that your LH levels are on the upswing, start having sex that day. Have sex for two to three days afterwards too, since ovulation can occur within 36 hours of LH levels rising.

what does an ovulation test measure
what does an ovulation test measure

How accurate are ovulation test strips?

Ovulation test strips can do an excellent job of letting you know when you’re most fertile. In fact, studies suggest they can detect ovulation up to 97 percent of the time, making them the most accurate option out there.

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But there are a few key things to keep in mind. Most important? Ovulation strips show whether your hormones are at the right level for ovulation. They can predict the ideal time to try to conceive, but they still don’t guarantee that conception will definitely take place.

The kits also tend to be more accurate for some women than others. Ovulation predictor kits work best for women whose cycles are relatively predictable. But they might be less reliable if you:

  • Have very irregular periods. Irregular cycles can make it tough to figure out when you’re due to start ovulating. That can increase the chances for using an ovulation predictor kit too early or too late and missing the ovulation window altogether.

  • Have a health condition like PCOS. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) experience multiple LH surges each month, but ovulation doesn’t occur with every surge. That could make test results unreliable.

  • Are taking certain medications. Fertility drugs, hormones (like birth control pills) and antibiotics can all make ovulation test strips inaccurate.

 

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