An OPK test is just one of the numerous tests that can be used to help a woman determine when it’s the best time to try and get pregnant. The right results will allow you to try and conceive, and these tests are frequently recommended by fertilization specialists as a way to help struggling couples get pregnant.
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What Is an OPK Test?
OPK stands for ovulation prediction kits. These kits are very popular because they will alert you when it’s the best time to try and conceive. For a woman, ovulation is key to getting pregnant.
These kits may also be called fertility monitors, and they monitor your ovulation to maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
Luteinizing Hormone and OPKs
The luteinizing hormone (LH) is found in a woman’s urine. This allows for a persistent presence of the hormone and will be used early on to track a woman’s normal LH levels.
Body temperature is also affected during ovulation, ovulation not only increases your basal body temperature, but it will boost your LH levels as well.
LH levels in the urine will begin to spike 24 – 48 hours before a woman starts ovulating. In fact, this surge of LH is the actual trigger that will cause the ovaries to release an egg so that a woman can go into ovulation.
This is the most common type of OPK test.
Using Ovulation Kits at the Best Time
A woman’s body and menstrual cycle can be irregular. Irregularity can make it difficult to know when to test to determine if ovulation is about to occur. And many test kits only come with enough tests for a week or so, meaning you’re limited to how many times you can test with each kit.
Of course, you can buy additional kits, but they can get to be expensive after purchasing numerous ones.
The best time to start a test is when cervical mucus increases.
Cervical mucus is your body’s way of preparing for ovulation, and it will occur early enough for you to have a hint that it’s time to take your test.
Morning May Be Best
Despite concrete evidence, some experts recommend taking an OPK test first thing in the morning. There are no scientific studies on a morning test that point to it being more accurate, but it’s recommended by many experts.
I recommend following the instructions on the back of your specific test to know when it is best to conduct the test.
One reason that it may be recommended to take the test first thing in the morning is because you haven’t consumed water in several hours. Too much water consumption can cause your LH levels to become diluted, leading to an inaccurate reading. Reducing liquid intake for four hours or more prior to taking your test will provide you with the most accurate reading.
How Accurate Is an OPK Test?
There is always room for error with any test, so it’s important to know that no test will state that it has a 100% accuracy rate. The surge of LH levels in the body always occurs prior to ovulation, and this allows an OPK test to have an accuracy level of 99%.
The biggest issue with these tests is that they don’t tell you when you will ovulate precisely.
This means ovulation can occur between 24 and 48 hours after the test results are witnessed. It’s good to have sexual intercourse for the next two to three days after your reading if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Another issue is that some women suffer from Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome, also known as LUFS.
LUFS will cause a woman to still have an elevated LH level, but the surge in the LH level does not cause the egg to be released. This can lead to women trying to get pregnant when ovulation hasn’t occurred, leading to false pregnancy hope.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is another false indicator that can lead to small jumps in LH levels that occur before the LH level spikes high enough to alert the egg that it’s time to release. This will cause a woman to believe that she is ovulating, or will be ovulating, much earlier than when the actual ovulation period occurs.
How to Take an OPK Test
The instructions on the back of your test will explain the best method of testing. But since all of these tests use urine to help detect LH levels, it’s fairly simply and straight forward.
- Squat over the toilet
- Urinate on the stick
- Check the results
This is a lot like peeing on a pregnancy test, and it’s so simple that any woman can do it. Just be prepared to go through several tests until you find the positive result you’re seeking. If you find that a test is negative, you’ll want to wait for a period of 24 hours, so your LH levels can rise and you can take the test again.
I’ve Been Trying to Get Pregnant With No Success
An OPK test is just a helpful indicator of when it’s best to have sexual intercourse, but every woman’s circumstances are different. You may find that the test is positive, but you haven’t gotten pregnant in months after trying diligently.
Many women struggle from not being able to conceive quickly – or at all – and there are a lot of measures you can take:
- Keep Trying
- The best option is to keep trying even if there is little hope of pregnancy. Some women have been told they can’t get pregnant only to have a healthy pregnancy in the future. Pregnancy, even for healthy couples, can take as long as 12 months to come to fruition, or longer in some circumstances.
- Consult with a Doctor
- Your doctor will be able to run tests and help you find the cause for you not becoming pregnant. Stress that you have used OPK tests and have not gotten pregnant over a long period of time.
- Time Intercourse Properly
- A positive test doesn’t mean you have to jump on him immediately. Studies have shown that the LH surge happens 1 – 2 days before ovulation occurs, so it’s recommended to wait 3 days after the positive test to try and get pregnant.
Fertility and sperm issues may be the reason behind your lack of pregnancy success. Doctors can conduct tests on both you and your partner to find out which partner is causing the fertility issues. A low sperm count in a male may be to blame.
Through fertilization measures, a doctor can help you boost your chances of pregnancy, but this is a costly process.
3 Reasons for an Inaccurate OPK Test
An inaccurate test is not uncommon, and there are three main reasons (aside from those listed above) that can cause a test to be inaccurate:
1. You’re pregnant
- If you’re pregnant, the test can be highly inaccurate.
2. Recent pregnancies can also cause the test to fail. Hormone levels may be out of whack, causing the test to be positive.
3. Menopause will obviously put an end to the LH spike that tells the egg it’s time to drop.
Medications can also cause tests to be inaccurate. In most cases, you’ll need to take the test 3 days after you took your last medication for the best results possible.