A Primer on Ovulation Test Strips

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6:27 am November 2, 2011

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If you want to predict the onset of ovulation, the easiest and most helpful way to do so is by using ovulation test strips. These are small home kits that pinpoint the most possible day when your ovulation might happen. Unlike measuring your basal body temperature, using ovulation test strips goes ahead of you and tells you when it’s time at least 24 hours before the ovulation actually happens, thus increasing your chances of becoming pregnant.

How Ovulation Test Strips Work

At the start of your cycle, your body produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that enables the formation of a follicle that contains an egg cell. When the egg is mature, your body releases a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) that signals the impending release of the egg cell. Ovulation test strips work by detecting the heightened presence of LH in the body.

Kinds of Ovulation Tests

There are two kinds of ovulation test strips: test strips and midstream tests. Test strips are used by dipping them in a glass container filled with urine. Midstream tests are placed in the stream of urine. Both of these kinds of ovulation tests need to be set aside for up to 10 minutes before you read the results. A test band appears beside a control band. If both bands are of equal intensity, then there is an LH surge. If the test band is lighter than the control band, then ovulation is not yet near, or it may have passed already. No control band means the test was invalid and you have to use new ovulation test strips.

When to Test for Ovulation

Women with different cycles have different times of the month for ovulating. When figuring out when you can use the ovulation test strips, a good rule of thumb would be to start testing on the 10th day of your cycle if it is at least 26 days long. If it is shorter than 26 days, start testing on the fifth day from your period.

An LH surge can last as short as 10 hours, so it is advisable that you test yourself two times everyday, with a span of 10 hours in between the two testing periods. The best times to test for ovulation are anywhere between 11AM and 3PM and 5PM and 10PM. Many women report that their best sample is at 12NN. Remember not to drink too much liquid a few hours before testing because excessive water can dilute the urine and prevent the ovulation test strips from detecting an LH surge.

When Ovulation Happens

Note that a positive result in your ovulation test does not mean that you are ovulating now. It means you’re going to ovulate sometime in the next 24 to 36 hours. So it’s pretty much safe to say that it’s time for you and your partner to hit the bedroom and catch this very small fertility before it closes again. The best times to have sex if you’re trying to have a baby is during those few days that come before and after your date of ovulation.

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