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    fertility tracking

    Ovulation Test - Indications, Types and Test Results

    • 10920 views
    • 4.5   (1 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 26 Jun 2019 - Written by Dr. Tulika Sinha - MBBS, Fellowship in Basic Ultrasound FOGSI certified,, MRCOG - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Ovulation test is performed to determine a womans most fertile days helping in planning or preventing a pregnancy. Types of ovulation tests are urine ovulation test and saliva-based ovulation test. Indications of ovulation test are infertility, and irregular periods. Ovulation test results are 98 to 99 percent accurate.

    A woman's body undergoes a series of events throughout her life. A woman's ovulation cycle must be monitored for proper healthcare status of the respective woman. This process is repeated every 28 days on an average, but not all women are much aware of different phases of ovulation. In a normal 28-day menstrual cycle, women ovulate around day 14 of the cycle. This typically lasts from 12 to 48 hours on an average concerning every woman. A woman can easily figure out when she’s ovulating by subtracting 14 from her cycle, regardless of the length of the cycle. Ovulation can help women in planning the right time to have sex and it can also be used by women who want to prevent pregnancy. With the help of ovulation tests, women can get a better understanding of their ovulation cycle by performing different types of ovulation tests. There are two types of ovulation test namely, urine ovulation test and saliva-based ovulation test. The usage of these ovulation tests is done based on the requirement of the concerned woman.

    This article gives detailed information about the following factors:

    Ovulation testing is considered by couples when they are trying to conceive and want to keep track of the ovulation cycle. These medical tests can help in detecting changes in the levels of hormones during a woman’s monthly cycle. It works the best in indicating when a woman is most likely to ovulate. This can help a couple to plan the best times to have intercourse. Ovulation testing is recommended by the best fertility specialists to women who are having difficulty in getting pregnant and facing struggles while achieving a successful pregnancy. Most of the ovulation test kits claim 98 to 99 percent accurate results when predicting the ovulation dates in the ovulation cycle. Ovulation tests are also important in cases where Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures such as In Vitro Fertilization are performed. A woman needs to be evaluated closely throughout her fertility cycle in order to achieve the highest success rates of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment. Ovulation tests have significant relevance in IVF procedures when ovulation-stimulating drugs are given to the female patient. (1)

    Ovulation tests play an important role in determining a woman’s fertile days. This helps in maximizing the efforts of a woman in trying to conceive. Ovulation tests help in detecting a surge in Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which takes place a day or two prior to ovulation. This can be helpful in determining the best time to have sexual intercourse. When women are trying to conceive, Ovulation Prediction Kits (OPK) can help a woman in determining when her body is entering the peak baby-making phase of her monthly cycle. When these OPK’s are used properly, they really do work and women have options about what type of ovulation kit to use. Conception is most likely to take place when intercourse occurs on the day before or on the day of ovulation. Various studies have revealed that with fertility-focused intercourse, conception is likely to occur more quickly as it is planned. There can be two possible reasons as to why couples may incorrectly time intercourse. The first reason could be that they are unaware of the most appropriate time in their cycle and secondly being the clinical prediction that the fertile window usually takes place between days 10 and 17 of a woman’s menstrual cycles is often not correct.(2)Evaluation and monitoring of ovulation have long been practiced by women pursuing or avoiding pregnancy. The fertility window of a woman begins approximately 3 to 5 days (sperm lifespan) before ovulation. It continues to a point approximately 1 to 2 days (oocyte lifespan) after ovulation. Identifying the fertility window, rather than simply identifying or detecting ovulation, is considered important for encouraging or discouraging contraception.

    What is Ovulation?

    Ovulation is an important part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Ovulation takes place when a mature egg is released from one of a woman's ovaries. This typically takes place around the 14th day of woman’s 28-day menstrual cycle. (3) After the release of an egg, it then moves down the fallopian tube, where fertilization by a sperm cell is expected to take place. At this point of time, there are increased chances of creation of an embryo, thereby growing into a baby. When fertilization doesn’t take place, the egg disintegrates and the endometrium lining is shed during a woman’s period. It is very important for a woman to keep track of her menstrual cycle. It might become impossible for a woman to know about when she is most likely to ovulate and when is the right time to perform intercourse. Having a complete understanding and knowledge of ovulation and when it takes place, can help a woman in achieving or preventing pregnancy as per the choice of the couple. Understanding ovulation cycle can also help in diagnosing and evaluating certain medical conditions of a woman’s reproductive cycle. Ovulation occurs at the end of the first phase in a woman’s menstrual cycle which usually happens around a woman’s two weeks of periods. This condition varies from one woman to another. 

    What is Ovulation?

    Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation:

    A woman’s body shows several different signs and symptoms of ovulation. Here are some of the signs experienced by women:

    • Cervical Mucus Changes: A woman may notice slippery and glossy vaginal discharge or cervical mucus about two weeks before menstruation cycle if she is ovulating. These methods help a woman in predicting when she’s going to ovulate. (4)
    • Abdominal pain:Some women may experience premenstrual symptoms like breast tenderness and enlargement, changes in mood and abdominal bloating or pain. Some women experience abdominal pain and discomfort during the time period of ovulation.(5)
    • Basal Body Temperature (BBT):Basal Body Temperature (BBT) evaluation can prove to be helpful in the menstrual cycle on a monthly basis. This is considered important so that the woman may become aware of her ovulation patterns. This also helps a woman in identifying her most fertile days. This helps her keep a track of the ovulation days as well.
    • A woman’s cervix softens and opens up.
    • A woman may also experience light spotting.
    • A woman’s vagina or vulva may appear swollen. (6)

    Significance of Ovulation tracking:

    Ovulation tracking is a method, which helps couples in planning timely intercourse in order to elevate their chances of natural conception. From the time of a woman’s puberty to her menopausal phase, women with healthy reproductive system release one egg per month. A woman’s menstrual cycle is measured from the first day of her menses until the first day of her next menstrual period. A normal menstrual cycle ranges from 28 to 32 days. Some women may experience shorter or longer cycles because of hormonal imbalance.

    Significance of Ovulation tracking

    Ovulation can be measured by beginning with the first day of her monthly period. It can also be calculated by measuring 12 to 16 days from a woman’s next expected period. Women usually ovulate in a time frame between days 11 to 21 of their menstrual cycles. This is usually referred to as the most fertile time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Sexual activity performed during this time significantly increases the chances of pregnancy. Today, there are various ovulation and fertility tracking tools available in the fertility market. These tools can help women in identifying their peak fertile days. For women who are hoping to become pregnant, will want to keep track of when they may be ovulating. Knowing when a woman is ovulating each month is beneficial because around the time of ovulation, a woman is the most fertile. 

    Indications of Ovulation Test:

    Ovulation test is commonly performed to determine when a woman is going to ovulate. It helps in assisting women who are having difficulty in getting pregnant. For women with a 28-day menstrual cycle, the release of egg normally takes place between days 11 and 14 when the complete cycle is taken into consideration. For women who have an irregular menstrual cycle, an ovulation test kit can help them in determining whether ovulation is occurring at the right point of time. The ovulation home test can also be used to help women adjust doses of certain medicines which primarily includes infertility drugs.(7) 

    Types of Ovulation Tests:

    A variety of diagnostic tests are available in the present age which helps in detecting ovulation and pregnancy. These medical tests are performed by using either a sample of urine or a sample of saliva to test for hormonal changes in women that takes place just before ovulation. 

    Urine tests for ovulation:

    Urine tests for ovulation help in measuring the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in the urine. This assists in detecting the LH surge, which takes place in the middle of a woman’s monthly cycle, about 1-2 hours prior to ovulation. This medical test is considered to be a qualitative test. It is performed to check whether a woman has increased LH or estrone-3-glucuronide (E3G) levels of hormones.(8)

    Saliva-based ovulation tests:

    Saliva-based ovulation test is performed to predict ovulation by evaluating the patterns formed by a woman’s saliva during the days of ovulation. When the levels of estrogen hormone increase near the time of ovulation, the dried saliva forms a fern-shaped pattern.(9)

    Digital Ovulation Tests:

    The advent of home digital ovulation tests (OTs) has offered an effective and simple solution for women. These women hope to optimize the timing of intercourse when trying to conceive. There is around 98 to 99 percent accuracy reported in the digital ovulation testing results. It helps in predicting a woman’s personal Luteinizing Hormone (LH) surge. The best way for a woman to start tracking her cycle is prior to trying to conceive. A woman’s two most fertile days start with the LH surge. A woman is most likely to conceive if she has intercourse within 24 to 36 hours after detecting her own LH surge.(10)

    Best Ovulation testing tips for women:

    • The first morning urine is not recommended to be used in the test as the LH surge in urine tests may not be detected. 
    • The best time to collect the urine for ovulation test is between 10:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. 
    • For saliva-based ovulation testing, it is recommended to perform the test during the morning time period.
    • Women should perform the saliva-based ovulation test early morning without brushing teeth, eating or drinking. This helps in preventing any kind of addition in the saliva of the concerned women. 
    • Before using the test, clean the lens or slide used in the saliva-based ovulation test.

    Best Ovulation Testing Tips for Women

    Ovulation Test Kits and Strips:

    The ovulation test strips comprise urine-based tests that a woman can use at home for detecting impending ovulation. These test strips work by detecting the levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in women. Ovulation test strips are a part of the Ovulation Predicting Kits (OPK's). Ovulation test strips or kits come with different test papers. These test strips are narrow thin papers. Sometimes, the ovulation test strips look like sticks which are used at the time of pregnancy test. A woman can use the strips either by peeing on the extended tip of the ovulation test strip or they can choose to pee in a cup. After collecting the urine in a cup, women can carefully dip the test strip into the urine. The results which are retrieved from this test will help in finding out if they will be ovulating soon. Using ovulation strips can help a woman decide to perform the right time sex for pregnancy. When they get a positive result on the test, they are recommended to have sex every day for the next two or three days in order to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. There are a vast variety of ovulation predictor kits available in the fertility market. Till date, the digital type of ovulation tests are the most expensive variety of ovulation predictors. This type of ovulation test helps in detecting two hormones, namely Luteinizing Hormone and Estrogen hormone. This allows it to detect more fertile days than the paper-based medical tests. When a woman’s cycles are irregular, they should test according to the earliest and latest dates they’d expect to ovulate. It helps to have a kit with several test strips if this is the situation. Ovulation test strips are relatively convenient to use. Unlike charting a woman’s basal temperature, women don’t need to remember to have a thermometer right by their bedside. However, using ovulation test strips one month after another can prove to be expensive for a couple. This is the case particularly in women who have irregular cycles and they need to use more than five test strips. Ovulation predictor kits have two lines. One line is the control line. This suggests that the test was performed properly with ease. The second line is referred to as the 'test line'. When this line is as dark as or darker than the control line, this means that LH is surging.

    Ovulation Test Results:

    Positive Result:A positive ovulation result indicates the presence of an LH surge. In this case, ovulation is expected to take place in the next 24 to 36 hours. It is to be noted that women may not always see a test line in cases where LH levels are low. This might indicate a negative result.

    Negative Result:A negative ovulation test means a woman is not having an LH surge, and ovulation has not taken place.(11)When a woman is unsure about the results or having irregular menstrual cycles, consulting the physician would be a great idea.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) related to Ovulation Tests:

    1. How accurate are ovulation tests?
      When taken correctly, ovulation tests are approximately 99 percent accurate in detecting the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) surge, which precedes ovulation. However, these tests do not help in telling whether ovulation actually occurs a day or two later.
       
    2. How soon after a positive ovulation test do you ovulate?
      If women receive a positive result on Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK), they are at their highest fertility level. A positive ovulation test tells a woman that ovulation will occur within the next 12-36 hours. Women can perform intercourse the day they get their positive result, and over the following 3 days.
       
    3. What is the best time to check for ovulation?
      Some ovulation tests require testing with the first-morning urine. Certain other medical tests require testing with afternoon urine. It's best to follow the instructions on the brand of test which is recommended to the woman for the ovulation test. The LH surge usually occurs in the morning, but it may take several hours for the hormone to appear in the urine.
       
    4. Do the ovulation tests really work?
      Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) work by detecting the levels of LH hormone in a woman’s urine. Since OPKs detect the LH surge that takes place 12 to 36 hours before ovulation, women can be sure to have sex at just the right time in their ovulation cycle for successful conception.

    Ovulation test and ovulation test kits are considered to be an important factor for both, women who are planning a baby or those who want to prevent pregnancy. Ovulation testing strips and various modern techniques have made the process quite simple and easy for women, especially in their reproductive ages. A variety of options discussed in this article give women a great benefit to understand their cycle by assisting them to determine when ovulation will take place. For more information about ovulation test and other information related to infertility treatment don’t hesitate to talk to the best fertility experts at+918929020600or visit different categories of elawoman.com.

    Dr. Tulika Sinha

    Written by

    MBBS, Fellowship in Basic Ultrasound FOGSI certified,, MRCOG, MS, IVF Training Fellowship
    Obstetrician, Gynecologist
    Noida
    Dr. Tulika Sinha is one of the eminent gynecologists and infertility specialists in Noida. She pursued her MBBS from King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai in the year 2004. She acquired MRCOG from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London in the year 2006. Later, she completed MS in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Calcutta Medical College, Kolkata in 2008. She has many years of experience in the field of gynecology, obstetrics as well as infertility treatments. She has won several recognitions in her field and is also FOGSI certified. Dr. Tulika has an expertise in the medical services like High-risk pregnancy care, Normal vaginal delivery as well as Infertility treatments. You can find further information regarding Dr. Tulika Sinha and her fertility practice on elawoman.com

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    1 Comment

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    Mahabala Sridevan

    June 26, 2019, 12:27 p.m. 4.5

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