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How is a PdG test different from an ovulation test?

Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.

Written on 3/2/21

how is a pdg test different from an ovulation test?

Keep reading to learn more about ovulation and PdG tests and how together they can help you get pregnant faster.

If you’re familiar with the trying to conceive testing space, you’ve likely heard of ovulation and PdG tests. While these tests are both urine-based hormone tests and seem similar, they actually give you two entirely different pieces of information!

Keep reading to learn more about ovulation and PdG tests and how together they can help you get pregnant faster.

Why are ovulation and PdG tests important?

Ovulation and PdG tests give you critical information about ovulation when trying to conceive. Together, these tests allow you to predict when ovulation is going to occur and confirm that it was a successful ovulatory event.

Predicting ovulation with ovulation tests is important as it allows you to time intercourse around the most fertile time of your cycle in order to increase your chances at conception.

On the other hand, confirming successful ovulation with PdG tests after it has occurred lets you know if an egg was released and if PdG levels remained elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception.

If you’re not trying to conceive, ovulation and PdG tests can help you track your cycle, which can give you insight into your overall health. For example, anovulatory cycles may occur occasionally in healthy women, but when they become the norm they are often an indication of a hormone imbalance like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Keeping track of dates and symptoms related to your cycle is empowering! It helps you notice when something is off, and encourages you to be proactive and take necessary measures to improve your health. Ovulation and PdG tests are tools to help you track your cycles and detect any issues early on.

What is an ovulation test?

An ovulation test is a thin strip designed to detect the rise of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. During the first phase of your cycle, your follicles are growing and as they mature they release estrogen.

When the level of estrogen is high enough to signal the egg inside your leading follicle is ready, LH surges to trigger the ovary to release the egg. Ovulation typically occurs about 24-36 hours after an LH surge.

A Proov LH test is considered positive when the test line is as dark and intense (or darker and more intense) than the control line. We always have a certain amount of LH in our system so your ovulation test may never be totally negative, and that’s ok!

If you are using a digital ovulation test, you won’t have to bother comparing lines. Depending on the brand you are using you will get a smiley face or plus sign when your fertility reaches peak. Once you get a positive ovulation test, it’s time to get busy!

Compared to other ovulation tracking methods — like cervical mucus monitoring or BBT tracking — studies show that ovulation tests are the most reliable, because they directly detect the hormonal change in your body.

Unfortunately, women with PCOS may not be able to rely on ovulation tests, as hormonal imbalances can cause multiple LH surges that may not result in ovulation.

how is a pdg test different from an ovulation test?

Compared to other ovulation tracking methods, studies show that ovulation tests are the most reliable because they directly detect the hormonal change in your body.

When during my cycle do I use an ovulation test?

If your periods are regular and you are familiar with ovulation tests, you may start using the strips 5-6 days before the date of your estimated ovulation, to make sure you catch the surge.

If you don’t know when to expect ovulation or if it is your first month trying, you may want to start testing as early as a couple of days after your period is over. While the average ovulation day is cycle day 14 for 28-day cycles, a normal length cycle may last anywhere between 21 and 35 days, which can impact your ovulation date as well. For example, some women may ovulate as early as cycle day 9, others as late as cycle day 21.

If you are using Proov LH tests, we recommend beginning to test about 18 days before your next suspected period. So, if you have 28 day cycles, you’ll start using Proov LH tests on cycle day 10.

The most important thing you want to keep in mind about ovulation is that an egg is viable only for 12 to 24 hours after it has been released from the follicle. But you are fertile for up to 5 days before that, as sperm may survive up to 5 days in your reproductive tract. This is called your fertile window.

Actually, studies show that you are the most fertile the two days leading up to and the day of ovulation This means chances of conception are much higher when you have intercourse during these days. Testing your LH levels with ovulation tests allows you to identify your fertile window.

One last important point: not every surge results in ovulation! Ovulation tests are great for signaling the surge and predicting ovulation, but they can’t tell you if ovulation will actually occur. For this, you need the second tool — a PdG test!

What is a PdG test?

Scientists have known for over 60 years that once it circulates through your blood, progesterone is excreted in urine in the form of Pregnanediol Glucuronide (PdG), which is one of the main urine metabolites of progesterone.

Progesterone is important as it is the hormone released after ovulation that stabilizes the uterine lining and prepares it for implantation. After ovulation, progesterone needs to rise and remain elevated for several days during the luteal phase to allow for the best possible chance at conception.

The advantages of measuring PdG instead of the classic serum progesterone include:

  • Non-invasive testing
  • Can easily be used daily, for several days, from the comfort of your home, for a fuller picture of your ovulation quality
  • PdG doesn’t fluctuate in urine like progesterone fluctuates in blood
  • PdG tested in first morning urine provides you with an average of what your progesterone levels were in blood the day before

Proov PdG tests are the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home. Successful ovulation refers to an ovulatory event in which an egg was released and PdG levels remained adequately elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception.

Without enough PdG present after ovulation, it can be more difficult to get pregnant.

how is a pdg test different from an ovulation test?

Proov PdG tests are the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation at home.

When during my cycle do I use a PdG test?

If it is your first month using a Proov PdG test, we strongly advise you on testing once the day after your period ends (around cycle day 5), when PdG is supposed to be low. We call this a baseline test and it will be negative. This helps you understand what “your negative” looks like when comparing to Proov results later in your cycle.

Then, we recommend using Proov LH tests to start tracking peak fertility. PdG levels are to be measured post ovulation, specifically after peak fertility which can be observed in the form of a positive LH test.

After your first positive LH test, you’ll want to count out 7 days. We recommend testing with Proov PdG tests on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 past peak fertility. We like to see four positive Proov tests to confirm successful ovulation.

However, if you get a negative PdG test on day 7 past peak and 3 positives afterwards, we still consider this a successful ovulation. Additionally, if you get a single negative test on day 8 or 9, but 3 other positives, this is also a successful ovulation. If you have questions about your Proov results, feel free to reach out to us at info@proovtest.com.

Understanding how a PdG test is different from an ovulation test can arm you with the necessary tools to help you get pregnant faster!