How Does an Ovulation Test (OPK) Work?

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1. What Are OPK’s?

Ovulation Predictor Kit Tests, also known as OPK’s, are a great way for women to track their ovulation at home on their own time. These tests make it super easy for a woman to know when she is ovulating, and therefore, give her a better chance of getting pregnant.

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They are available at most drugstores and even some big box grocery stores. They are very affordable as well, although you do have to buy refill packs for the test strips. It is important to pay attention to the cost of the refill packs when you choose an OPK, because the prices can really add up.

2. How Do OPK’s Work?

If you have used an at home pregnancy test, you will be able to use an OPK with no problems. This is because they work in pretty similar ways. Home pregnancy tests look for levels of hCG in the urine, and OPK’s look for levels of LH in the urine.

Once the level of LH reaches a certain level (after an LH “spike”) that will indicate that ovulation is getting ready to occur. Different OPK’s have different rules, some ask you to place the test strip into a urine cup, and some ask you to use the test strip in your midstream urine.

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There will be a control strip included with the OPK that will tell you the color that you are looking for. Once your test strip turns the same color or darker than the control strip, that means that you are ready to ovulate.

3. How Accurate Are OPK’s?

If used correctly, OPK’s are very accurate and can be a great asset to the woman who is trying to conceive. As with any health product, it is very important to read and follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure the best results.

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You should also keep in mind that the LH surge that occurs just prior to ovulation does not always happen when you expect it to, and it can also happen very fast. For this reason, it is recommended to test every single day. On the days that you are expecting your ovulation to occur, it might even be a good idea to test twice per day.

This can help to ensure that you do not miss the LH surge once it occurs. Some doctors recommend not drinking any liquids for two hours prior to testing and some doctors even have recommendations about the best times of the day to test. If you have questions about how to use an ovulation predictor test kit, talk with your health care professional.

Dr. Lynette Weiss is ConceiveEasy's Senior Physician and Scientific Director. She is certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.