Ovulation prediction kits are a very popular method of detecting ovulation. One of the benefits of using an OPK (ovulation prediction kit) is that you can predict ovulation before it occurs. With basal body temperature charting you can not tell that you have ovulated until after it happens. OPKs work by detecting LH (Luteinizing Hormone) levels in your urine. Just before ovulation there is a surge in LH. When this LH surge is detected, ovulation should occur within 36 hours.
Hormones and ovulation
The menstrual cycle and ovulation are regulated by several hormones including FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), estrogen, LH (Luteinzing Hormone), and progesterone. The start of your menstrual period is the first day of your menstrual cycle. During menstruation estrogen and progesterone levels decrease causing the lining of your uterus to shed. Also during the first half of your cycle FSH levels increase causing several follicles to form. Each follicle contains an egg. As your cycle continues, only one follicle will remain. This follicle produces estrogen and will be the one that produces an egg during ovulation. Once the egg has matured, LH levels will surge and cause the egg to burst from the follicle. This is ovulation. An unfertilized egg only lives for a short time so timing is everything.
How to use an Ovulation Prediction Kit
You may use a test strip or a midstream ovulation prediction test. Both work the same way. With the test strip, you will need to dip the test strip into a container of urine and keep it in the urine for several seconds. The midstream test should be held in your urine stream. The tests normally take about five minutes to read. There is a control band and a result band. The control band gives you a color to compare the result band to. When you test you will detect some LH at any time during your cycle. That is because you produce LH throughout your cycle. You are looking for the results to be darker or the same color as the control band. If the result band is lighter than the control band you have not ovulated.
Tips for using an Ovulation Prediction Kit
You may want to chart your basal body temperatures as well as using an ovulation prediction kit. By looking at previous charts, you can have an idea of when the best time to use the ovulation prediction test is.
Test more than once a day. Because your LH surge happens briefly, you may want to test twice a day to insure that you do not miss seeing your surge.
Test at the same time each day. It does not matter what time you test but it is better to not urinate for four hours prior to testing. Try to be consistent so that you do not miss your LH surge. Read the manufacturers instructions for best results.
If you do not see a surge in your LH continue testing every day until you see a surge.
Have intercourse within 36 hours of testing positive for your LH surge.
Other Ovulation Prediction Methods
There are a few other ovulation prediction methods available. They are more expensive than the test strips but may be worth investing in if you have been testing for several cycles. One method is the saliva based ferning microscope. It predicts ovulation by using your saliva and viewing samples in the microscope. One nice thing about the microscope is that it is reusable. Another method of predicting ovulation is the fertility monitor. This method is nice for making reading test strips easy. It is a small electronic monitor that reads your urine test strips. It evaluates your estrogen and LH level for you to more accurately predict ovulation.