LH Ovulation Tests FAQ-what does it mean if I do not detect an LH surge ?

Ovulation test strips LH surge
Detecting LH surge with ovulation test strips

This is a fairly common question and one that causes quite a lot of anxiety, as not ovulating is a fairly common cause of infertility. However although this is one explanation,there are other possible reasons why you may not detect the LH surge with your ovulation tests.

  • The LH surge may have occurred before you started testing and you therefore missed it
  • The LH surge may have occurred after you stopped testing and you may have missed it.
  • The urine that you tested may have been too dilute, meaning that the concentration of LH in the sample was not sufficient, to give a positive LH test. Make sure you restrict your fluid intake for about 2 hours before you take the test.
  • You may have missed the LH surge because you tested at the wrong time of day. This is not uncommon. LH levels are low first thing in the morning and so if you test at this time, you may miss the LH surge. LH levels are usually highest at early to mid afternoon , so this is the best time to collect your urine for LH testing. Knowing the right time to test can be more tricky for shift workers, as their circadian rhythms are disrupted so they may also miss their LH surge.
  • LH surge may not be strong enough to be detected by the LH test. Most LH tests detect 40mIU/ml of Lh in the urine. It may be worth trying an ultra sensitive LH ovulation test that detects a lower level i.e. 20mIU/ml.
  • Insufficient urine may have been absorbed by the LH ovulation test. if this was the case then there would be no control line visible on the test. It is important to check that the control line is visible. if it is not it means the test has not run and so the result is invalid. If this happens it is worth quickly dipping the test into the urine sample again for a few seconds as it may still work. Do not delay doing this or the result will be invalid because too much time has elapsed.
  • The LH test could in fact be faulty, out of date or been incorrectly stored. Although this is quite uncommon, it can happen. To avoid this problem always buy from a reputable supplier.
  • You may be testing at the wrong time of your cycle. For women who have irregular periods, knowing when to test can be very difficult.
  • You may not have used the test correctly. Make sure that you read the instructions carefully before starting the test and use a timer.
  • You may not be going to ovulate this month. This may just be a one off, but if it happens repeatedly you should see your doctor, as it may mean that you are not ovulating and need further investigations.
  • You may already be pregnant. There is always a small possibility that you may already be pregnant. If your last period was different to usual, or very light it may be worth doing a pregnancy test.

To see more answers to FAQ’s regarding ovulation tests visit Access Diagnostics UK Fertility site 

Ovulation tests are available to purchase online from Access Diagnostics

Ovulation predictor tests and methods

Ovulation predictor methods are many, and need not be expensive or complex for anyone with a regular cycle

Considering the last 14 days of a menstrual cycle is fixed in most women , ovulation will occur on day 14 in a 28 day cycle and day 18 in a 32 day cycle. Great if you one of the lucky ones who has  a very regular cycle, that is the same length each month.

For the rest of us with more erratic cycles the reliable prediction of the timing for ovulation gets a little more complex, so here is a breakdown of the common methods of ovulation prediction:

Cervical mucous becomes more stringy and will form ribons when opposed fingers are extended. This method is great until you have had sex in the preceeding 24 hrs and mix sperm into the equation !

BBT or basal body temperature measurment, basically get an accurate thermometer are record your temperature at a set time every morning before doing anything else. Detects a rise of 0.3 degrees centigrade at ovulation. Contrary to popular misconception you do not need a 4 decimel place thermometer and it does not have to be farenheit. What you do need is a regular regime and set waking time, so its out of the question for shift workers or the less well organised of you out there who’s days wont give up the 2 minutes you have to lie in bed with a stick in your mouth.

Urine ovulation predictors. Dip test you dip in wee and tell you when you have a surge in the hormone which makes you ovulate. Expect to use 7-10 per month especially if you are irregular or have a long cycle. Buy dip ovulation test strips as they are just as accurate as digital or mid stream test and a lot cheaperas well as being more eco-friendly (less packaging) . Only go for the very low level, higher sensitivity ovulation tests if you do not get positive results with the standard sensitivity tests. Stick with a brand if it works (there are multiple sensivities on sale and comparing results is not possible) These tests give 24-36 hrs advance notice of ovulation.

Ovulation predictor miscroscopes are simple mini microscopes which show the crystal of salt which form in drying saliva when oestrogen levels are high which occur with ovulation. Can be used time and time again, so are cheap & eco-friendly if you end up testing for a long time. Look for models with replacable batteries. Don’t expect to see anything for the rest of the cycle, it takes 2-3 cycles to get confident in using these, so best to start off using while also using another method. They are 99% accurate when combined with BBT. Can also be used in dogs and cats, so popular with pet breaders, no reason why they could not be used in pigs, horses and cattle for insemination assessment, so come on you farmers !

Ovulation predictor didn’t work ~ Don’t panic  99% is just that, but not every cycle is ovulatory either, so re-try next month. If you get no positive indicators over 3 consecutive cycles change to another method or seek advice from your doctor. Up to 1 in 4 cycles can miss ovulation, and this increases with age and is a normal physiological finding.

Click here for more info on using ovulation predictors