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Ovulation Predictor Kits Overview

It is a common knowledge that menstrual cycle of a woman consists of fertile and infertile days. During her infertile period she is not likely to become pregnant; therefore, a couple can enjoy the unprotected sex without a risk of conceiving a baby.

Woman’s fertile period takes place during the midcycle (often around the day 14) and lasts for several days. This part of the cycle is called ovulation. During this time a mature egg is released from the ovaries, which means that the unprotected sexual intercourse can result in pregnancy.

Nowadays it is possible to predict ovulation. One of the means to do it is to use Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs). These are specially designed tests, which are sold without a prescription and are easy and reliable (up to 98% reliability) to be used at home.

The ready-to-be-fertilized egg is pushed out of the ovaries with the help of the luteinizing hormone (LH), which is always produced in the body, but its amount increases significantly before ovulation. It is due to the LH surge that an egg leaves the ovaries. Ovulation usually takes place during the next three days after the LH surge; the peak of fertility is in 36 hours.

Ovulation Predictor Kits work by detecting this LH surge testing the urine of a woman. Since the amounts of this hormone increase some time before ovulation, it is possible not only to state, but to predict, anticipate the actual release of an egg.

There are two types of OPKs: test strips and midstream tests. To use the test strips a woman has to fill a container with urine and hold the device in it for several seconds. The other type of OPKs should be held in the urine stream. The results can be read in 5 minutes.

If the control band, always placed on the device, becomes visible, the tool definitely works. Positive result is stated if the test band is the same color, or even more intense, the control band is. The result is said to be negative if the test band is lighter than the control band or it remains absolutely invisible.

Note that the test band can become lightly colored even if there is no LH surge at the time. This happens because low quantity of this hormone is always present in the body. Consequently, a woman should be attentive not to misinterpret the results.

Obvious advantage of this device is that it сan predict ovulation 12-36 hours in advance. However, it sometimes happens that the egg does not develop in the ovaries. In this case, the LH surge will take place anyway, but the egg will not be released. Therefore, OPKs will detect the hormone surge or increase, but not the ovulation itself.

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Another drawback of these devices is that they can show positive results due to the highly concentrated urine (for example, if it becomes concentrated overnight). Though the instructions recommend testing the first urine of the day, a woman may want to test the second one as well.

There are some circumstances, which interfere with the accurate testing with the help of OPKs. For example, testing can be problematic if a woman has irregular cycles; drinking too much water increases the risks of false results, etc.

Data sheet with all the recommendations is usually helpful in resolving the problems with OPKs usage and answering the questions a woman may have. However, sometimes it is better to consult a health-care provider and use his recommendations.


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