Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm ovulation at home.
Written on: 4/27/22
Ovulation test strips are an essential tool in any fertility toolbox! Understanding what ovulation test strips are and what they tell you can help you reach your fertility goals faster. Keep reading to learn more.
What are ovulation test strips and how can they help me?
Ovulation test strips are at-home tests that help you measure the quantity of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, allowing you to detect an LH surge and predict when ovulation might occur.
Ovulation is an important moment in a woman’s cycle. Besides the fact that conception cannot occur without ovulation (because, you know, you need an egg!), it is also a marker of overall health.
Our reproductive hormones regulate our cycle and ovulation. Balanced hormones means a healthy cycle and regular ovulation. Recurring anovulation — meaning ovulation does not occur for several cycles in row — may be a sign that something is off.
As the ovary prepares an egg for ovulation every month, the egg produces estrogen, which is an important hormone for ovulation and conception. When estrogen reaches a level that signals the egg is ready for ovulation, the brain sends a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge to the ovary.
This surge in LH — a rapid, strong increase in the hormone — triggers the ovary to release the egg. Ovulation typically occurs about 12-36 hours after an LH surge.
That’s where ovulation test strips come in! Measuring your LH levels with an ovulation test to identify your LH surge can help you understand when you should be ovulating — important information to understand especially when trying for a baby, as both sperm and egg need to be present in order for ovulation to occur.
How do I use ovulation test strips?
Most ovulation test strips, like Proov Predict, are super simple to use. All you need to do is collect a urine sample, dip your test strip, and read your result. If you do choose to use Proov Predict LH tests, you can also choose to scan your result into the free Proov Insight app, for help interpreting your results.
You’ll want to begin testing LH before ovulation should occur, which typically happens about halfway through your cycle. For example, if you have a 28-day cycle (meaning your period comes roughly every 28 days), then you should expect ovulation to occur around cycle day 14.
But just like every woman, every cycle is different! You may ovulate before or after cycle day 14, so it’s always ideal to follow the instructions included in your ovulation test kit. If you’ve never tested ovulation before, you can always start testing right after your period ends to ensure you don’t accidentally miss your LH surge.
Sometimes LH surges can be super short, only lasting a few hours. Because of this, we typically recommend testing LH levels with an ovulation test strip 2 times per day — once in the morning and once in the evening. That way, you can ensure you catch it!
Your first positive ovulation test strip indicates an LH surge, a.k.a. your 2 most fertile days or peak fertility (you may hear both terms, but rest assured they mean the same thing!). This means ovulation should be coming soon and you should start getting busy if you haven’t already.
While some ovulation test strips may recommend continuing to test LH to find your “most positive” test, there isn’t really a reason backed by science to continue testing. The first indication of an LH surge starts the 12-36 hour ovulation clock, so waiting even 12 hours to find your highest LH level may mean you’ve already missed ovulation.
Are ovulation test strips the same as PdG test strips?
If you’ve visited the Proov website before, you may have noticed another set of tests that say “ovulation” on the box. You may be wondering, “Are these the same thing as an ovulation test? While Proov Predict and Proov Confirm do look very similar — they’re all pee sticks after all — they are in fact quite different.
You might have noticed that we only talk about ovulation test strips in the context of detecting LH to predict when ovulation should occur. Contrary to their name, ovulation test strips do not actually confirm whether or not ovulation actually happened (and yes, sometimes LH can surge without triggering ovulation).
That’s where confirming ovulation comes in! For that, you’ll need a PdG test like Proov Confirm.
PdG tests not only confirm whether or not ovulation occurred, but they also help you understand if your body is conception ready. This means whether or not your body would be ready to receive a pregnancy, if conception occurred.
So while ovulation test strips and PdG test strips do 2 very different things, they are both critical pieces of the ovulation picture! Using both together — like in our Predict & Confirm kit — can help you predict and confirm ovulation with ease.
What should I do once I get a positive ovulation test strip?
Since LH testing helps you identify your most fertile days that cycle — i.e. the best days each month that you’re most likely to get pregnant — the first thing you should do once you get a positive ovulation test is to start having intercourse!
An egg can only be fertilized for about 12-24 hours after it has been released. Sperm, however, can survive inside your reproductive tract for up to 5 days. This means having intercourse after a positive ovulation test (before the egg has been released during ovulation), ensures sperm will be ready and waiting to meet that egg.
In fact, studies show that chances of getting pregnant are even higher 1 and 2 days before ovulation, so the sooner you start to have intercourse, the more chances you give yourself. Once you’ve tested LH with ovulation test strips for a few cycles, you may be able to identify a pattern so you can start having intercourse even before you get a positive ovulation test.
Get pregnant on your terms with Proov!
Knowing more about your body and how hormones rule ovulation and your cycle is essential when trying to get pregnant. We are proud you allow us to be part of your journey!