How PdG Tests Can Help You
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 4/14/21
While Proov PdG tests may seem like just another ovulation test, they can actually provide you with powerful information surrounding the quality of your ovulation and your chances of conception.
Compared to ovulation and pregnancy tests, PdG tests are fairly new. And with new technology comes new information!
While Proov PdG tests may seem like just another ovulation test, they can actually provide you with powerful information surrounding the quality of your ovulation and your chances of conception. Keep reading to learn how PdG tests can help you.
What is PdG?
Pregnanediol Glucuronide — or PdG for short — is a urine metabolite of progesterone. Progesterone, also called “the pregnancy hormone,” is produced by the empty follicle (also called the corpus luteum) after the egg is released. Progesterone prepares the uterine lining for implantation and pregnancy by making it “sticky” enough for an egg to implant.
Ideally, progesterone levels should rise around 7 days after ovulation and remain high long enough to ensure a healthy luteal phase of at least 12 days — anything less than 12 days is considered too short. If you get pregnant, progesterone levels should stay high throughout pregnancy. If you do not conceive, progesterone levels will drop and you will get your period.
Once progesterone circulates through your blood, it gets metabolized by your liver and is excreted in urine as PdG. Studies show that PdG levels in first morning urine correlate with progesterone levels in blood from the previous day.
Why is PdG important?
You may be thinking, “Can’t you just test progesterone levels directly?” And the answer is, yes! You can. However, progesterone blood tests fail to provide a complete picture of ovulation quality.
This is because progesterone levels in blood fluctuate drastically during the day and one single level is like a snapshot in time. This means testing progesterone at 8 a.m. versus 2 p.m. could give you very different assumptions about your progesterone levels.
Additionally, since blood tests show levels at one point in time, they can only tell you if ovulation did or did not occur, without offering much insight on the quality of the ovulation. This is why a single serum progesterone level is considered by doctors to have low diagnostic value.
In order to confirm “successful” ovulation (i.e. a high quality ovulation) using blood levels, you’d ideally have several blood draws performed between days 7 and 10 post ovulation. When the average of these levels is greater than 10ng/ml, levels are considered optimal for a healthy luteal phase and pregnancy.
However, women rarely get multiple blood tests in a row since it can be expensive, invasive, and inconvenient. We don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t want multiple needle pokes!
This is where PdG comes in! Since PdG levels in first morning urine show an average of all serum progesterone levels from the day before, PdG testing offers a non-invasive alternative to confirming successful ovulation. With PdG tests, you can monitor PdG levels during the key days of the luteal phase in order to confirm a high quality ovulation!
PdG testing offers a non-invasive alternative to confirming successful ovulation.
How do PdG tests work?
PdG tests are thin hormone test strips that work by detecting the progesterone metabolite (PdG) in urine. Proov PdG tests are the first and only FDA cleared PdG tests to confirm successful ovulation at home.
We have developed a simple testing protocol that allows you to track your cycle and confirm successful ovulation. Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Take a baseline
Using one of your PdG tests, you’ll want to take a baseline test anytime between cycle day 5 and 10, when your PdG levels are at their lowest. Always test with Proov using first morning urine, after at least a 6-hour hold.
Your baseline test will be negative, meaning there are two lines present on the Proov PdG test. The baseline is useful so that you know what your unique negative test looks like for you and you can use it later to compare to results when you test for ovulation. Not all Proov PdG baselines look the same, which is why we ask people to take one! (Note that baseline tests are good for up to 6 cycles, so no need to take one every cycle.)
2. Test for peak fertility
You can test for peak fertility using any ovulation prediction method of your choice. We typically recommend ovulation (LH) tests, as predicting ovulation with hormone data tends to be more accurate. Our Proov Predict LH tests work great!
If you use Proov Predict to track peak fertility, we recommend beginning testing about 18 days before your next suspected period. If your cycles are not regular or you don’t know when your next period is going to start, you can start using your LH tests a few days after your period ends.
Once you get your first positive LH test, meaning both lines are of the same intensity and color, you’ve observed peak fertility! The next step is to count out 7 days from this peak day.
3. Test your PdG levels
Finally, you’ll want to test your PdG levels using Proov PdG tests starting on day 7 past peak fertility through day 10 past peak, using only first morning urine after at least a 6-hour hold. In order to get a clear picture of your ovulation quality, you need to test PdG levels each day during the four day testing window.
Once you’ve tested all four days and have tracked your results, you can then determine your ovulation quality. Ideally, we like to see four positive PdG tests during the testing window to confirm successful ovulation. This means PdG levels remained elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception.
Ovulation is also considered successful if you get only three positive PdG tests, as long as you get a positive on day 10 past peak. Anything less than three positive Proov PdG tests indicates weak ovulation, which may be preventing you from conceiving.
It is also important to understand that a negative test doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t ovulate! Sometimes a couple tests during the testing window are negative and just 1 or 2 are positive. This typically means that ovulation happened, but PdG levels were a bit low.
Similarly, sometimes results are negative throughout the testing window, but the second line is lighter versus your baseline. In this case, it also is likely that ovulation happened but PdG is a bit light. This is when your baseline comes in handy — use it to see if there was a significant change in intensity in your 7-10 day tests. In both of these cases there’s lots you can do to support PdG levels.
See the chart below for a visual representation of some possible Proov patterns and what they mean about ovulation quality.
This chart provides a visual representation of some possible Proov patterns and what they mean about ovulation quality.
When 7-10 day tests are negative and look the same versus baseline, it can mean ovulation didn’t happen that cycle. Sometimes anovulatory cycles (cycles with no ovulation) happen for women who ovulate regularly, so just one anovulatory cycle doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an issue!
But it’s always good to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about ovulation. If anovulation is a problem for you, he or she can prescribe medications to help stimulate ovulation.
How can PdG tests help me?
As we’ve seen, PdG tests fill in a very important piece of the pregnancy puzzle. Before Proov PdG tests came along, women could only predict ovulation from home; without a blood test from a lab, they had no way of confirming if ovulation actually happened. After all, without an egg conception just isn’t possible!
Additionally, PdG tests give valuable insight into the quality of your ovulation. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually more than one way to ovulate and not all ovulation is created equal.
In fact, problems with ovulation are the cause of infertility in up to 30-40% of all infertile couples. Confirming successful ovulation with Proov PdG tests can help you ensure problems with ovulation are not preventing you from conceiving.
Luckily, if your PdG test results show that you may have weak ovulation, you can take this powerful information to your doctor or try some natural remedies for increasing PdG levels. If you have any questions, our team is always here to help! Feel free to email us at email@example.com.
With Proov PdG tests, you have the power to get pregnant faster!