If you have not used them before and are used to a midstream ovulation test, then you may be asking yourself this question.
Ovulation test strips are much cheaper than traditional midstream ovulation tests because they are much cheaper to manufacture, and the packaging costs are much less. They are also cheaper to deliver, as they pack into a very small pack, and yet the accuracy if used correctly is just as good.
Ovulation tests detect a hormone in urine called LH or Luteinising hormone, that is the hormone responsible for stimulating the release of the egg from the ovary. High levels of LH usually indicate that ovulation is imminent and likely to occur in the next couple of days. This makes urine LH testing a useful way to predict ovulation.
How do you use an ovulation test strip ?
- 1st thing to do is obtain a clean container in which to catch your urine sample. It does not need to be a sterile container. A clean plastic cup is ideal or one of those sample bottles your GP sometimes gives you. You can use the same container each time you do the test, just make sure you wash it & rinse it out thoroughly between uses.
- Like any ovulation test you need to perform the test at the right time in your cycle.
- Wait at least 2 hours after drinking before you collect your urine sample. It does not matter what time of day you do the test as long as you do it at approximately the same time each day. Best to avoid 1st thing in the morning as the LH levels can be lower overnight. For most people early to mid afternoon is a good time to test.
- Read the instructions supplied with the ovulation test before you start the test
- Follow the instructions for the test that you have as they may vary slightly, depending on which brand of ovulation test strip you have bought, although most instructions will be quite similar.
- Collect the urine sample
- Hold the test strip by the correct end (there will usually be a picture with the instructions to help you identify this ) and arrows pointing down to show you which way is down as in the picture above. Often the end that you hold has a plastic or shiny covering.
- Immerse the strip into the urine sample, just up to the max mark for a few seconds (i.e. only the bottom half of the strip goes into the urine) You should be able to see the urine being absorbed up the strip. If you have got the strip upside down, you will not see any urine travelling up the strip.
- Remove the strip from the urine sample & lie it flat.
- Read the result after the designated time, as laid out in the instructions (usually a couple of minutes.) I find it is best to always set a timer as the time that you read the result is very important, and it is so easy to get distracted. Timer keeps you focussed.
- If the test has run correctly you will have a control line C visible which means the test has absorbed enough urine. If the control line is not visible, then check that you have put the correct end of the strip into the urine and re-immerse the strip into the urine for a further few seconds, until you see the urine start to be absorbed.
- If you have a visible control line then now look the for test line usually marked T . For the LH test to be positive, the T line should be as dark or darker than the C line. If you get this result then you can stop testing & it likely that ovulation is imminent and so this & the next couple of days is your most fertile time.
- If the result is not positive then you should repeat the test the next day, and keep doing so until you detect the LH surge.
This all sounds very complicated when I write it down, but in fact it is incredibly easy to do, once you get the hang of it. The key is to follow the instructions to the letter the first few times you do it, and to use a timer. After you have done it a few times you will find it very easy to remember.