Recently, pharmacies have been selling various ovulation tests offered by several manufacturers. These products have already gained popularity among many women. What are they intended for, and how can they be useful for the fairer sex?
What is ovulation
Ovulation is the most important moment in the functioning of the female reproductive system. In gynecology, ovulation means the moment when the egg leaves the ovary and begins its movement through the fallopian tube, where it should meet with the sperm. Since the life span of an egg is small – no more than 2 days, the ovulation period is the most favorable moment for conception.
As a rule, during one cycle (lasting from 21 to 35 days) the egg leaves the ovary only once, but there are cases of double or triple ovulation. However, ovulation is a phenomenon that does not occur every day. And that is why many women seek to know at what point it will come. Is it possible to do this?
How can I determine the moment of ovulation?
Some women may feel certain physiological signs, indicating the imminent onset of ovulation. These can be small pains in the lower abdomen, small vaginal discharge, increased sexual desire. However, all these signs are purely individual and cannot be used as a reliable criterion.
To determine the moment of ovulation in gynecology, various methods can be used:
- basal temperature measurement
- luteinizing hormone level measurement.
Special attention should be paid to the latter method. It is quite simple and at the same time effective, which made it possible to develop on its basis a series of tests that can be used at home.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a hormone that is synthesized in the body of a woman immediately before ovulation (in one to two days). Thus, its increased concentration may indicate that ovulation will take place in the coming days. The highest concentration of the hormone is found in urine or saliva.
Due to this circumstance, several portable systems have been developed for detecting hormone concentrations. The chemicals contained in these systems react with LH and let you know about its presence using visual signals.
Consider the principle of operation of such systems on the example of the simplest strip test. The ovulation test includes several disposable paper strips with a reagent applied to them. It is enough to moisten one such strip in the urine, and after a few minutes, it will give a result. The appearance of a strip on a piece of paper will indicate a high level of the hormone and, as a result, a high probability of ovulation within a few days.
In order for an ovulation test to show the correct result, a woman should follow a few simple rules. First, you should not use the very first urine after waking up for testing. The optimal time for urine collection is from 10.00 to 20.00. In addition, you should not drink plenty of fluids before urinating, as this can dilute urine and reduce the concentration of the hormone. In addition, to increase the reliability of the results, repeated tests are recommended.
Ways to use ovulation tests
Why can an ovulation test be useful? Firstly, it can be useful for women who are passionate about becoming pregnant. Indeed, ovulation and the several days preceding it are the most favorable period for conception.
Some women use tests as a means of planning their child’s sex. There is a theory that sperm carrying the male chromosome is less tenacious but more mobile than spermatozoa carrying the female chromosome. Therefore, the closer to the time of ovulation sexual intercourse was performed, the more likely the male sperm to fertilize the egg.
In other cases, the ovulation test can be used by women who, on the contrary, want to avoid pregnancy. After all, after two days after ovulation, the sperm can no longer fertilize the egg. However, this method requires more frequent testing, and given the fact that test strips cost some money, it is associated with some material costs. In addition, a similar method of protection cannot be called very reliable. After all, ovulation tests report only the concentration of LH, and not about the very moment of ovulation. Not to mention the high probability of obtaining false-negative results due to non-compliance with the testing methodology or poor-quality (expired) test strips.
Varieties of testing systems for LG
In total, the pharmaceutical industry produces several testing systems:
- using disposable strips,
- using disposable cartridges,
- inkjet systems
- electronic devices with disposable strips,
- optical instruments for determining PH by saliva.
Testing with disposable cartridges is much like testing with strips. The only difference is that a drop of urine needs to be dripped into one window of the cartridge, and the result will be displayed in another window.
The device with disposable strips in principle resembles devices for testing blood sugar levels. A strip dipped in urine is inserted into a special connector, and the test result appears on the indicator. Read on the official Frautest website about what types of ovulation tests exist.
Ovulation test, instructions
Let us describe in more detail the methodology of testing for LH using one-time strips (strip tests). The most popular ovulation tests of this type are issued under the trademarks Frautest, Eviplan, Solo.
Usually, an ovulation test incorporates several strips for testing for LH. Some are also provided with pregnancy test strips.
Test strips are removed from the packaging immediately prior to testing; they should not be stored unpacked. To start the test, you need to place urine in a clean and dry container. By the way, many kits are equipped with special containers for urine. Then the strip should be lowered into the urine for about 5 seconds, then pulled out and put on a dry place.
Normally, the test strip should be white. After a few minutes (the exact time is better to see in the instructions, but usually no more than 10 minutes), the strip can change its appearance.
Possible options for changing the strip:
- there is not a single line – poor-quality or expired test;
- only one (control) line appeared – no PH;
- one line appeared and next to it a pale second – there is no LH or its concentration is very small;
- a control line appeared, as well as a second line, darker than control or one intensity with it – a high concentration of LH, ovulation should be expected.
Optical Testing Systems
Special mention should be made of optical systems that determine the concentration of LH not in urine, but in saliva. In fact, they are small microscopes designed to study droplets of saliva. Analysis results in some of these instruments may be automatically output. In other devices, it is necessary to manually compare the pattern visible in the eyepiece with the template. It was found that in the case of a high level of LH in saliva, a certain structure, similar to a leaf of a tree or a crystal of snow, becomes visible under a microscope. In general, optical devices are considered more reliable than systems based on chemical analysis of urine. In addition, they are much more convenient – because it is not always a woman, especially busy, it is convenient to carry out any manipulations with urine. The disadvantage of such devices, however, is their high price. However, given the fact
Can ovulation test strips show a positive result during pregnancy?
Theoretically, this cannot be, but in practice, such a phenomenon still occurs. The reason for this is that human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), released during pregnancy, is similar in structure to LH. Therefore, an LH test may take hCG for LH. But this curiosity, most likely, indicates a low-quality test for LH.
When should ovulation testing begin?
Of course, you can conduct a test every day during the entire menstrual cycle, but in most cases it is irrational from a financial point of view (one test strip costs at least 60 rubles, and with an increase in quality, and as a result, accuracy, its price, of course increases). Therefore, most women calculate the estimated time to start ovulation. As a rule, ovulation occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle. That is, if the woman’s cycle is normal and is 28 days, then ovulation usually occurs on the 14th day. For the first day of the cycle, the day of the beginning of menstruation is taken.
However, it is impossible to predict the exact time of ovulation (otherwise there would be no need for any tests). The following factors can affect the time of ovulation:
- infectious diseases,
- the psychological and emotional state of a woman,
- change in weather conditions.
Also, ovulation time can “go astray” after childbirth, abortion, with the approach of menopause. It is for this reason and because it is best to know about ovulation in advance, testing is most rational to start a few days before the expected date of this event. Most experts recommend starting testing on the 11th day of menstruation. In this case, you can conduct not one test per day, but two, every 12 hours. If the cycle duration is more than 28 days, then it is recommended to start testing 17 days before the start of the next menstruation.
In the event that the woman’s cycles have different durations, it is necessary to focus on the shortest cycle. That is, if a woman has cycles of 26 and 32 days in a year, then it is better to assume that the estimated day of ovulation is 13 days. Or you can subtract 17 days from the minimum cycle, and start testing from that day.
Is testing always reliable?
In what cases are false positive tests possible? LH levels can increase not only due to upcoming ovulation but also with ovarian exhaustion syndrome, hormonal dysfunctions, renal failure, postmenopause. Also, the level of the hormone is highest in the morning – that is why it is not recommended to take the first-morning urine for the test. In addition, tests can respond to an elevated level of thyroid-stimulating hormone, as well as to phytohormones, which can enter the body of a woman with food.
All this suggests that relying only on tests is not the most reasonable solution. Other diagnostic methods, such as ultrasound, are more reliable than rapid tests.