Capturing “the Surge”
Advanced Tips for Using Ovulation Tests
The mechanics of using an ovulation test are simple. Collect a urine sample or pee on a stick, read the result. If the test line is as bold as the control line, you know you are about to ovulate within the next twenty-four to thirty-six hours. Begin babydancing.
However… sometimes capturing the LH surge (what an ovulation test is looking for) requires some advanced testing strategies. Why’s that? Mostly because the LH surge – that burst of Luteinizing Hormone that causes the egg to start its journey to the uterus – is, for many women, a sudden and quick affair. In other words, if you are not testing smartly, you can miss the surge.
The first thing to understand is that an LH surge can happen in the blink of the eye – and frequently you will only have one day during your cycle in which a positive result will appear. The question is, how can you increase test accuracy and ensure you catch the LH surge? Let’s look at some basic suggestions for improving results.
When to Test: The first thing to understand is that LH is synthesized by your body in the early morning. Hence, collecting a first morning urine sample is not recommended when it comes to the urine ovulation test. Rather, collect a urine sample in the afternoon or early evening. The amount of LH in your urine specimen should be elevated (relative to a morning sample).
Create a Routine: In order to ensure accuracy, test at the same time every day. Test daily until you receive a positive result – or at least until you confirm ovulation has taken place if you are BBT charting. If you have a short or irregular cycle, make sure you begin testing early enough.
Twice is Nice: If you have “missed” the hormone surge during past cycles, then we advise testing twice a day. Well, that’s easy to say if you have a free supply of ovulation predictor kits: Drugstore tests are expensive and testing twice a day may be simply too much of a drain on the pocketbook. On the other hand, consider using or augmenting your test supply with affordable clinical test strips (much cheaper than the big brands). You can find these online.
Hold Time: Dilution of a urine sample can cause trouble and decrease the accuracy of a test. If you are having an LH surge but your specimen sample is diluted due to consuming a large amount of water before testing, you may decrease the likelihood of getting that positive result. Of course, never dehydrate yourself. That said, simply avoid drinking a lot of liquid in the hours before testing, and hold your urine for at least a few hours before collecting a sample. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks that may increase your need to visit the restroom more frequently. Caffeine has a diuretic effect. That means it makes you pee.
Faint Line? I see a faint line and its almost as bold as the control. Am I ovulating? That’s a good question. Its certainly tempting to try to interpret faint lines on ovulation tests. However, as LH may be present in your system at low levels throughout your cycle, its advised to disregard a faint line and wait for the verifiably bold test line that says “I’m ovulating”. LH tests are designed to remove the guesswork, so second-guessing a result kind of defeats the purpose!
Clomid: Yes, you can use ovulation tests and saliva fertility monitors while taking Clomid. Just be aware of the possibility that Clomid (Clomifene Citrate or Clomiphene) can induce false positive test results if you test too early in your menstrual cycle. With saliva ferning scopes, Clomid can intensify and lengthen the duration of your ferning phase.
Scope, BBT, and more: Using a basal thermometer (fertility charting) is, of course, a great practice. You’ll learn about your body, your menstrual cycle, the length of your ovulatory phase and your luteal phase, and soon be able to predict, based on past cycles, when ovulation will likely take place. Using an ovulation microscope (which detects another hormone surge – estrogen) is also a good way to augment and enhance your ovulation testing tools. For a 5-7 day advanced notice of ovulation, consider using an electrolyte-based fertility tracker.
Once you receive a positive result, you can expect to ovulate within the next few days. Timing lovemaking during the days following a positive on an LH test will certainly increase the odds of conceiving a baby. Happy testing and we hope that these simple tips prove helpful in capturing the surge!