Is That a Positive OPK .. Or Not?



OPK – Is it Positive?

If you’re new to using ovulation predictor kits (opks) to find out when you are most fertile, you’re probably wondering if you’ll recognize a positive opk test when you see one!

Ovulation predictor tests are used to detect the LH surge.  LH (shorthand  for luteinizing hormone)  is the hormone that peaks when there is a mature egg ready to be released from your ovary.  To maximize your chances to conceive a baby, you want to have intercourse before you ovulate.

This is why detecting the LH surge with a positive opk is so effective.  You’ll get a positive OPK result (indicting the LH surge has begun) before you actually ovulate, which is the ideal time for baby making.




When to Test with OPK

You should begin testing your urine with ovulation predictor test strips about a week before you suspect you will ovulate.  You can use our Ovulation Day Calculator to get a general idea of when you might expect ovulation to occur.

The best time of day to use an opk ovulation test is late afternoon or in the evening. If you tend to obsess about these things (ask me how I know), you can certainly test multiple times a day.  Use the inexpensive opk ovulation test strips available on the internet instead of buying them at the grocery store or pharmacy to save money.

OPK test kits vary, but the most common tests make use of paper test strips to test the level of luteinizing hormone present in your urine.  You can either urinate directly on the strips or dip them in urine you have collected in a cup.

OPK test strips look like this:

 

Positive OPK Ovulation Test

Click for Larger Version

How to Read the OPK

There are two lines that can appear on the opk strip after you have tested.  The first line is the control line  that should always clearly appear and indicates that the opk test is working properly.

The second line is the test  line that indicates the presence of luteinizing hormone in your urine.  You may always find, regardless of the time of month, that a faint test line appears.  The key isn’t whether or not a test line shows up, but how dark it is in relation to other times you test and in relation to the control line.  The darker the test line and the more closely it matches the control line, the more likely the LH surge is underway and your opk is positive.

It will be through a bit of trial and error that you come to understand when the test line is “dark enough” to signify the lh surge and a positive ovulation test. In fact the first month you use an ovulation predictor kit may be more educational then useful for conceiving, unless of course you get pregnant! After you’ve gone through a cycle of ovulation, you can compare the opk test strips and probably identify when you ovulated.

As soon as you notice the test line beginning to darken, it is time to have intercourse.  Even if ovulation is still a few days away, your best chance at getting pregnant is to have as many sperm as possible waiting for the egg when it emerges. Have sex every day or every other day as soon as you think the opk ovulation test is moving towards a positive result.  Even if the line darkens more over the next few days, you can be assured you haven’t wasted your efforts!  The more baby making in the days leading up to ovulation, the better.

Positive OPK

Positive OPK Ovulation Test Strips

After you have seen a dark, definitely positive opk, you will notice that the test line begins to lighten as the days progress.  At this point, ovulation has passed and your fertile window for the month has closed.  You should continue to have intercourse for a day or so after ovulation, just to be sure.

It is possible to get a nearly positive opk ovulation test and not ovulate.  Sometimes luteinizing hormone will begin to build (darkening the test line on your opk strips) but then something (stress, illness, etc) may delay your ovulation.  In most cases, LH will again build and eventually surge, but it is also not unusual to have some months when ovulation doesn’t happen at all.

If you have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) you might also have trouble reading opk ovulation tests because luteinizing hormone levels stay consistently high throughout your cycle.  If this is the case, the test line always appears fairly dark and looks confusingly like a positive opk or darkens and lightens every few days.   You may still be ovulating, but it can be unpredictable and hard to detect the LH surge with ovulation predictor kits.





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