Ovulation occurs though a sequence of hormonal responses. Located deep within the brain, the pituitary gland releases the hormones FSH and LH, which travel through the blood stream to the ovaries. These hormones signal the development and release a single egg cell from one of the ovaries. The sweeping motion of the fimbriae draws the egg cell through a very small space in the open body cavity into the uterine, or fallopian, tube. The egg cell will either be fertilized by sperm or will dissolve if fertilization does not take place.
An ovulation home test is used by women to help determine the time in the menstrual cycle when getting pregnant is most likely.
The test detects a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine. A rise in this hormone signals the ovary to release the egg. This at-home test is often used by women to help predict when an egg release is likely.
These kits can be bought at most drug stores.
Ovulation prediction test kits usually come with five to seven sticks. You may need to test for several days to detect a surge in LH.
The specific time of month that you start testing depends on the length of your menstrual cycle. For example, if your normal cycle is 28 days, you'll need to test on day 11. (That is, the 11th day after you started your period.)
You will need to urinate on the test stick, or place the stick into urine that has been collected into a sterile container. The test stick will turn a certain color or display a positive sign if a surge is detected.
A positive result means you should ovulate in the next 24 to 36 hours, but this may not be the case for all women. The booklet that is included in the kit will tell you how to read the results.
You may miss your surge if you miss a day of testing. You may also not be able to detect a surge if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.
Do not drink large amounts of fluids before using the test.
Ask your doctor if you need to stop taking certain drugs before using this test.
Drugs that can decrease LH measurements include estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. Estrogens and progesterone may be found in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
The drug clomiphene citrate (Clomid) can increase LH levels. This drug is used to help trigger ovulation. Women taking this drug should wait three days after stopping the medicine before checking their LH levels.
The test involves normal urination. There is no pain or discomfort.
This test is most often done to determine when a women will ovulate. For women with a 28-day menstrual cycle, this release normally occurs between days 11 and 14.
If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, the kit can help you tell when you are ovulating.
The ovulation home test may also be used to help you adjust doses of certain medicines.
A positive result indicates an "LH surge." This is a sign that ovulation may soon occur.
Rarely, false positive results can occur. This means the test kit may falsely predict ovulation.
Talk to your doctor if you are unable to detect a surge or do not become pregnant after using the kit several months. You may need to see an infertility specialist.
LH urine tests are not the same as at home fertility monitors. Fertility monitors are digital handheld devices. They predict ovulation based on electrolyte levels in saliva, LH levels in urine, or your basal body temperature. These devices can store ovulation information for several menstrual cycles.