Test then Treat: Why it’s important to know where you stand before supplementing!
Here at Proov, we are all about empowering women with information they can use to advocate for their reproductive health. We know at-home hormone testing can be a critical tool for seeking treatment. However, we often see women skip testing altogether and instead stock up on supplements that may be doing more harm than good.
Treating a potential ovulatory problem before actually identifying it can lead to unintended consequences. Keep reading to learn more about the risks of treating before testing.
Treatments that Promote Healthy Ovulation
You may remember from past blogs that healthy ovulation occurs when an egg is released from a follicle and PdG (progesterone metabolite) levels are adequately elevated for long enough after suspected ovulation. Testing with Proov gives you quick results so you can know where you stand in terms of adequate levels. If you have positive Proov results through the 7-10 days post ovulation testing window, then you had successful ovulation! But if you have negative results during the testing window, it could be a sign of unhealthy ovulation and may hurt your chances of conceiving that cycle.
If you are low on PdG sometimes herbal supplements, diet changes, or seed cycling can get your levels back in check. But if you’re in need of stronger support, progesterone suppositories or supplements prescribed by your doctor may be a better option.
Risks of Treating Before Testing
If you don’t test your PdG levels and decide to treat a problem you may or may not have, there could be some harmful effects. Here are a few common issues we have seen when ovulatory disorders are treated without testing first:
Side Effects: Depression and anxiety are both more serious side effects of progesterone supplements and if you’re sensitive to medication, it’s best to talk with your doctor. There are a ton of different types of progesterone supplements, including pills taken orally, suppositories, topical creams, and more. When considering the more intense progesterone medication, always consult your doctor. If you have negative Proov results, we recommend taking this information to your physician and discussing next steps. If you are taking a progesterone supplement and are experiencing any of these side effects, we also recommend consulting your doctor.
Hormone Imbalance: If hormones are generally in balance to begin with, taking herbal supplements can actually throw you out of balance. A great herbal option for ovulation health support is vitex. However, taking vitex when your hormones are already balanced might throw that balance out of whack, which is definitely something to consider before sipping on fertility teas or starting on other over the counter fertility supplements, which often contain vitex.
Prevention of Ovulation: Taking progesterone suppositories too early in your cycle can have the opposite effect of helping an ovulation problem. In fact, they can prevent ovulation when taken too early. Progesterone suppositories are most often prescribed by a doctor - and frankly should be used under the care of a doctor. Your doctor may suggest you confirm ovulation before starting supplements. A positive Proov tests means you’ve confirmed ovulation, which can be helpful to figure out when to start.
Ineffective: Progesterone creams are typically ineffective. You may hear some stories from women who say a progesterone cream made all the difference and that’s great, but it’s likely that the effect was psychological rather than physiological. While progesterone creams are all the rage right now, studies have shown that they are ineffective in raising progesterone levels in blood and urine. If you have a true ovulatory issue, creams likely won’t offer strong enough support.
Higher Cost: Hormone supplements can be expensive. While this isn’t a health hazard, buying hormone supplements month after month can put a strain on your bank account. And as this is money well spent when treating a known problem, when supplements are taken without first having a better sense of what they are ‘fixing’, it can result in wasting money that could have been better spent on more effective treatments. If you’re interested in trying to conceive the quickest and most cost effective way possible, we recommend checking out our fertility checklist!
The Bottom Line: Test Before You Treat!
How can you avoid the risks, costs, and uncertainties of self-treating an ovulatory issue? Test before you treat! At-home testing options, like Proov, can help you learn more about your body and hormones to ensure you take what’s right for you.
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit for ovulation confirmation. Testing with Proov days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after suspected ovulation confirms that “successful” ovulation has occurred, meaning PdG levels remained elevated for long enough to allow for the best chance at conception that cycle.
If all Proov tests are positive during the testing window, then great! Ovulatory issues are likely not preventing you from conceiving and you can start exploring other routes with your doctor. However, if one or more of your Proov tests were negative, this could indicate a potential ovulatory issue and we recommend following up with your doctor. You can then seek out treatment options, such as the ones we mentioned above!
Testing hormone levels and understanding your body before trying different treatments can prevent you from facing potential risks or wasting time and money. When in doubt, test then treat!