Did you score a positive ovulation test? Before you set out to try and conceive, it is fundamental that you know how to read an ovulation test.
If you’ve been trying to have a baby for a while or have decided you want to try to have one right now, you may want to optimize your chances to get pregnant.
Your fertility peaks when you ovulate so knowing exactly when that happens is vital in helping you get pregnant!
An ovulation test, or ovulation predictor kit can help you track your fertile window accurately. Checking when you’re ovulating may help you time it right so you get pregnant easily and quickly.
If you’re a newbie to ovulation tests, you may be confused about what a positive or negative result looks like. Fret not, we’re here to help. Let’s dive in to learn about how to properly read a positive ovulation test!
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of a mature egg or ovum from your ovary. Typically ovulation occurs between 12 to 14 days before your next period, or about halfway through your menstrual cycle.
Each month, hormones cause your ovary to form a mature egg that stays inside the ovary.
Before the egg is released, the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your body rises. LH plays an important role in ovulation. It triggers the release of an egg from the ovary, ready to be fertilized.
LH rises with a peak LH surge 24-36 hours before ovulation, helping the egg mature and be released. That is when ovulation occurs.
Tracking your LH surge lets you know when is the best time for you and your partner to try for a baby.
Your fertile window is about 6 days: 4 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and 1 day after you ovulate. Trying to conceive during your fertile window gives you the highest chances of pregnancy.
Where do ovulation tests come in? Ovulation tests give you a predicted hint that you are about to ovulate, helping you optimize your chances to get pregnant!
How can I learn to read or interpret a positive ovulation test?
Ovulation tests are similar to pregnancy tests where you use your pee to get a result. Both tests also have two lines: a control line and a test line.
The first line is the control line and is the standard indication, always there, to make sure the test is working properly. The second line is the testing line that gives you an answer.
Here’s how pregnancy tests and ovulation tests differ.
In a pregnancy test, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that rises when you’re pregnant, is measured and even a faint line is a positive result.
An ovulation test measures the level of luteinizing hormone (LH). An ovulation test could show a faint line but that may not mean you’re ovulating!
Learn more : What does a faint line on an ovulation test mean?
As your body gets ready to ovulate, it produces more and more LH that increases daily until you ovulate. The ovulation test line gets darker and darker as your body produces more LH and reaches a peak.
When the second line is darker or reaches the same shade as the control (first) line, it indicates your LH has peaked and you will ovulate in the next 24-36 hours.
In order to get the most accurate results, you will need to take an ovulation test every day and keep a record to track the second line of the test.
Some ovulation tests may require you to test daily until your ovulation day. The LH surge is gradual and the results depend on the darkness of the test line, so tracking and record-keeping are really important!
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may want to track your ovulation for at least 3 months using an ovulation test to determine your peak fertile window.
Do two lines on the test mean you’re ovulating?
It’s important to know that two lines on an ovulation test don’t always indicate a positive result, like a regular pregnancy test. While an ovulation test is considered positive when the test line is darker or as dark as the control line, that isn’t always a hard and fast rule.
Here are some common reasons why you may show an LH surge but didn’t ovulate:
- you are unique and your hormonal profile is unique to you! Your levels of LH may show a steady increase on the test but without releasing a mature egg. A study showed that up to 18.6% of LH testing in healthy women had an anovulatory cycle or where they did not release the egg despite showing increasing LH levels.
Learn More: Anovulation: Everything you need to know about the #1 cause of infertility
- Your LH levels may differ because of your pee quality and the time when you take the test. You need to have concentrated pee in order to get the best results.
The best time to take the test is your second morning pee – around 10 am to noon or early afternoon. It takes a few hours for the LH to show up in your pee, so if your surge happens in the morning and you test first thing in the morning, you may miss it!
Your LH surge may be shorter or longer than 24-36 hours. Some women have a shorter LH surge under 24 hours and others may have it after 36 hours.
Studies show that women’s individual LH surges differ in how they build up, how they peak, and how long the peak lasts.
It’s important to test consistently because you may miss your LH surge if you miss a day of testing. Even if your menstrual cycle is irregular, you may miss your LH surge.
Your test results may differ depending on when you take the test. If you take an ovulation test too early or too late in your cycle, your results may be inaccurate.
Here is where knowing your cycle length is important. Ovulation occurs 12-14 days before your next period and your LH levels rise 24-36 hours before you ovulate. So, you should start testing around 16-17 days before your next period.
- False-positive results on ovulation tests may happen if your LH surge is high enough to give a positive result on the test but no egg was released. This may happen to women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- If you’re taking certain medications to induce ovulation, especially injected fertility treatments, you may get a false positive response.
- Some women have a condition called Luteinizing Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS) where their body tries to ovulate but no mature egg is released from the ovary. This is called anovulation.
- That means they will have a faint line that looks like an LH surge but no ovulation is occurring. This is why an ovulation testing kit that also measures estrogen and progesterone is more helpful in determining your peak fertile window.
What if there is only a faint line or it doesn’t increase?
Most ovulation testing kits work well when used properly. However, there are a few reasons for negative test results.
Most ovulation tests measure a predetermined level of LH. Some women’s natural LH levels are below this measurement and may not show up on the test.
If your pee is very diluted, you may also show a lower LH level. Try to curb your liquid intake for a few hours so your pee is more concentrated prior to taking your ovulation test.
Women with malnutrition and pituitary problems may also have negative LH test results.
Get better results for your ovulation testing
If you’re serious about getting pregnant, tracking your LH surges continuously is important to determine the optimal time for your peak fertility.
If you’re unsure how to track or are confused about how to measure the darkness of the second line, digital tests help you record and track your peak fertile window easily. You’ll know right away if your results are positive. You don’t need to save and store the used test strips in a tracking diary. You get a graph and all your personalized results, so you can easily track your progress.
Digital tests give you more accurate results because they track your hormones using technology. You don’t have to interpret or understand the darkness or the lightness of the test line.
How does the Inito Fertility Monitor work?
A device like Inito makes the process easier. It comes with a personalized smartphone-connected system that gives you a hassle-free tracking experience.
It’s so simple! All you need to do is dip the test strip into your pee to take the test. Follow the instructions in the app and it will give you the results: Low, High, Peak, or Ovulation, taking all the guesswork out of knowing your fertile window!
Knowing when you’re ovulating helps you predict the best time to try for a baby. If your ovulation testing shows you’re ovulating over and over with a positive ovulation test, and you haven’t gotten pregnant yet, you may want to try Inito.
Inito tests also measure your other hormones besides LH, including estrogen and FSH to predict your fertile window and progesterone metabolite PdG to confirm ovulation, giving you a more complete picture!
Inito also gives you personalized results so if you need to consult a fertility specialist to correct your cycle, you’ll have easy-to-understand charts and graphs with all your test results!
- Ovulation predictor kits measure luteinizing hormone (LH) and help track the LH surge that usually predicts ovulation and peak fertility time.
- While LH tracking kits provide helpful information, they don’t always let you know if you’ve ovulated. Some women have false positives due to medical conditions or medications. Others may show false negatives due to diluted pee, other medical conditions including Luteinizing Unruptured Follicle Syndrome, or incorrect timing for the ovulation test.
- The best ovulation tests look at other female hormones like estrogen and progesterone, providing a complete picture of your fertile time.
- Standard ovulation testing may be challenging for some women. You need to track and monitor the test line darkening over time.
- If you have vision problems or find it hard to track the test line darkness, a digital ovulation test like Inito makes the process simple and easy to do!