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Ovulation Tests Mechanism
Ovulation tests work by detecting Luteinizing Hormone (LH). At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the body begins to produce follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH facilitates the formation of a follicle on one of the ovaries. The follicle contains and nurtures the ovum. When a follicle has adequately matured, a surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) causes the follicle to burst and release the ovum into the fallopian tube – the moment of ovulation.
Throughout the menstrual cycle, a small amount of LH is produced, but during the middle of the cycle LH briefly and dramatically increases, and is known as LH surge. Elevated quantities of luteinizing hormone that facilitate ovulation are detected by ovulation tests through anti-LH antibodies contained in the sensitive testing membrane. Ovulation tests thus allow you to accurately predict when you will ovulate. A positive result on an ovulation test means that the woman will most likely become fertile over the next three days – with peak fertility at 36 hours following the LH surge.
Ovulation Test Formats
Ovulation tests come in two formats, test strips and midstream tests. Both test formats are equally reliable.
Test Strip: To use the ovulation test strip, you fill a container with urine and hold the test strip in the container for several seconds. Midstream tests: To use the Midstream test, hold the test in your stream of urine.
With most home ovulation testing products, the reaction time of the test is five minutes. At five minutes, you can interpret the tests. All tests have a “control” color band (or color line) that indicates whether the test is working or not. Also, the control band provides a color/intensity baseline by which to interpret the “test” band results. The “test” color band indicates a positive or negative result.
A positive result (indicating an LH Surge) is indicated by a test band that is of equal or greater intensity (equal or darker) than the control band. A negative result for the LH Surge is indicated when the test band is of lesser intensity (lighter) than the control band or cannot be seen. A negative result means the LH level of the urine sample is at or near its normal level and that the LH surge is not in progress. Remember, there is always some quantity of LH in your system, so a light color band in the test region is NOT an indicator of a positive result.
Things to remember when using Ovulation Tests
- The LH surge is very brief and in order to detect the LH surge, you need to test at the right time of the month – and the right time of day. The best times to test are between 11am and 3pm and 5pm and 10pm. If you want to make sure that you catch your LH surge, you may want to test twice a day, once in the earlier time frame and the other in the later time frame. Please keep in mind that while you may have the initial surge of LH earlier in the day if testing via blood tests, you will not get a positive result on the ovulation test until 4-5 hours later when the surge actually reaches your urine. Be sure to test at the same time each day.
- Once the LH surge has been detected, successful fertilization is most likely to take place one to three days following the LH surge – with peak fertility at 36 hours post-LH surge.
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