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How Accurate Is Your Ovulation Tests

How Accurate Is Your Ovulation Tests

It is essential to plan intercourse around your fertile window if you and your partner are trying to get pregnant. The right time to have intercourse is five days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and a day after ovulation. However, if you don’t know how to track your cycle, it can be hard to know the exact days that fall in your fertile window. Luckily, with the help of at-home ovulation tests, it is easy to understand your fertile window.

Below are details on how ovulation tests work, what can affect their accuracy, and how OPKs ovulation fits into your fertility journey.

 How ovulation test kits work to predict fertility
How ovulation test kits work to predict fertility

How Accurate Is Your OPK or Ovulation Test?

So, are OPK’s accurate? The American Pregnancy Association states that ovulation tests and OPKs are 99% accurate when used and taken correctly. Therefore, they are a valuable and reliable tool for planning pregnancy and predicting ovulation tests for most couples.

How do the ovulation tests work?

The body releases the hormone called ”luteinizing hormone” or ”LH’ a few days before ovulation, and it stimulates the ovaries, which in turn causes the egg to be released. Ovulation tests (also known as OPKs or ovulation predictor kits) are designed to help detect the surge or rise in LH in your body.

The test resembles a home pregnancy test and is taken at home. However, ovulation tests work by measuring the level of LH in your body. In contrast, a home pregnancy test detects the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) found in your urine.

Remember that ovulation tests are not designed to measure the exact day of ovulation. Instead, they measure the surge in LH, which increases approximately 24 to 36 hours before ovulation happens. This knowledge is essential for couples trying to get pregnant because it lets them know the right time to have intercourse (during an LH surge).

What is the best way to take an ovulation test?
What is the best way to take an ovulation test?

Using ovulation tests to predict fertility

Below is what you can expect for those who have never used an ovulation test kit before:

How to use an ovulation test: Taking an ovulation test varies depending on the kind of test you have. Some tests are similar to a traditional pregnancy test where you pee onto the stick directly, while in other tests, you have to pee in a cup and place a paper strip into your urine directly.

Either way, you should avoid drinking a lot of fluids at least 2 hours before the test to make sure the urine stays as concentrated as possible. In addition, it provides more accurate results of your test.

Understanding your ovulation test results: The type of test you have may also cause variations in your results. For example, traditional test strips typically display two lines: one test line and one control line. A dark test line signifies a positive test result which means the LH is surging, while a lighter line shows that the LH surge over the baseline is yet to occur. On the other hand, when a digital test detects high levels of LH, it may display a smiley face. Take your time to go through the instructions provided to know the variations in how each test works.

When to take an ovulation test: The right time to start testing for LH is 5-6 days before you ovulate and then daily at the same time. It will give you and your partner enough time to accurately time ovulation tests to know when to plan for intercourse.

What can cause a false negative ovulation test?
What can cause a false negative ovulation test?

What are the factors that may interfere with ovulation tests results?

There are different reasons why you can get a false negative or false positive ovulation test result. Individuals with Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS) or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may experience a surge in LH without ovulating or an egg being released afterwards.

Another common reason is that you may be testing too early or too late in your cycle, and you end up completing missing your body’s LH surge. But, again, it could lead to frustrations, especially for women with irregular cycles.

Certain prescription fertility medications, menopause, recent pregnancy, and pregnancy are additional complication factors that may interfere with how accurate your ovulation test results may turn out. Also, women taking birth control may have difficulty accurately predicting ovulation for a few months after their last dose.

What will you do if you don’t trust the results?

If you get your test results and feel that you’re not comfortable with them, the best alternative is to try again. Testing for ovulation should be a regular and ongoing effort, and it requires some practice. With frequent testing, you will yield more accurate results.

Apart from OPKs and utilizing ovulation, you can also use other methods to anticipate ovulation, such as using an ovulation calculator, recording your basal body temperature (BBT) every morning, and tracking changes in your cervical mucus.

Suppose you still find it difficult to get pregnant after combining multiple ovulation tracking methods. In that case, it’s best to talk to your doctor, and they will provide you with professional advice or recommend to you a fertility specialist if necessary.

Where should OPKs fit in your fertility journey?

OPK’s are among the many tools to track your fertility window and increase your pregnancy chances.

Specifically, they are most reliable during the first five days that lead up to your ovulation as they can help you know the exact day you’re most likely to ovulate. Thus, you and your partner can get a heads up on the right time to have intercourse when you are most fertile.

Ovulation tests and OPKs work best when combined with other fertility tracking and fertility awareness methods. However, if you’re unable to keep up with more advanced forms of activity monitoring like basal body temperature BBT charting, OPK’s are an effective stand-alone method for accurately predicting ovulation.

Again, if you have been using ovulation tests and OPKs consistently for more than a year and had no luck, consider talking to your doctor. They will give you appropriate treatment options, resources, and advice that fits your situation.

Summary of ovulation tests

It is important to note that ovulation predictor kits don’t test for ovulation but instead measure LH surge levels before ovulation. Therefore, the kits cannot confirm if you have indeed ovulated. Occasionally, the egg may fail to emerge from the follicle after an LH surge has already occurred, a condition called Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS). OPKs and ovulation predictor kits detect the rise of LH levels to help you know the days you’re most likely to ovulate.

They only offer an accurate forecast of your LH levels to determine subsequent ovulation, and they are more effective when combined with other monitoring methods. You should use OPKs when you know you are most likely to ovulate, and you need to know your typical cycle length to determine the right time to do the test.