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.
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 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.
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. 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.
Luteinizing hormone urine test (home test); Ovulation prediction test; Urinary LH immunoassays; At-home ovulation prediction test; LH urine test
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.
Update Date 4/25/2013
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.