An ovulation home test is used by women to help identify the time in the menstrual cycle when they're most likely to become pregnant
The test works by detecting a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine. Such a rise, or surge, signals the ovary to release the egg. This at-home test is often used by women to help predict ovulation.
These kits can be bought at most drug stores.
Luteinizing hormone urine test (home test); Ovulation prediction test; Urinary LH immunoassays; At-home ovulation prediction test; LH urine test
How the test is performed
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 menstrual 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 kit's instruction booklet will tell you how to properly read the results.
If you miss a day, you may miss your surge. You may also miss recording a surge if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.
How to prepare for the test
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.
How the test will feel
The test involves normal urination. There is no pain or discomfort.
Why the test is performed
This test is most often done to determine when a women will ovulate. When trying to make a baby, many couples plan intercourse around ovulation, the time when the woman's ovaries release an egg. For women with a 28 day menstrual cycle, this release normally occurs between days 11 – 14. See: Pregnancy-identifying fertile days
If you have an irregular menstrual cycle and are not sure when or if you are ovulating, an ovulation prediction kit can help.
The ovulation home test may also be used to determine if you need to adjust doses of certain medications.
A positive result indicates an "LH surge" and is a sign that ovulation may soon occur. Read your specific manufacturer's instruction booklet for complete details.
What the risks are
Rare false positive results can occur. This means the test kit may falsely predict ovulation.
If you are unable to detect a surge or do not become pregnant after using an ovulation prediction kit for several months, contact your doctor. 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 that 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.
Falcone T. Women’s health. In: Carey WD, ed. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:section 14.
Fritz MA, Speroff L. Induction of ovulation. Speroff L, Fritz MA, eds. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011:chap 31.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.