Nothing is more disappointing than getting a negative ovulation test every time you try to track your cycle. Ovulation is when you are most fertile and have a high chance of conceiving. A positive ovulation test indicates the highest probability of becoming pregnant. So receiving a lousy test score may let you down.
But don't fret. This article will take you through the reasons for a negative ovulation test, the hormones involved, and the best ways to track your cycle successfully!
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the process that occurs every month when a mature egg is released from your ovary. The egg travels through your fallopian tube to the womb. This is the time when you are most fertile. Having sex during this 'fertile window' during the cycle increases your chances of conceiving.
Ovulation usually occurs 12-14 days before your next period. The date of ovulation, like your period, can vary from cycle to cycle, and you may have an odd cycle when you don't ovulate at all. This is called an anovulatory cycle; know more about it here.
Your menstrual cycle is reset every time of the month when your period begins. The follicular phase starts on the first day of your cycle when you start bleeding. The egg begins to mature during this stage and is later released during ovulation.
The pituitary gland secretes the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) during the follicular phase. FSH is what aids in the maturation of eggs and prepares them for release.
Estrogen is the next hormone that starts rising in the follicular phase. It rises 3-4 days before ovulation and triggers a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH).
The surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) triggers the release of the egg. Ovulation generally occurs around 24 to 36 hours following the LH surge.
After ovulation comes the luteal phase. If you become pregnant during this phase, hormones will prevent the womb lining from shedding. Otherwise, bleeding will begin at the end of your cycle, signaling the start of the next process.
In short: Ovulation usually occurs 12-14 days before your next period.
How To Track Ovulation?
Staying in touch with your body's processes will always help give you a better understanding of your health. And in case of getting pregnant – it enables you to plan parenthood better! Tracking your ovulation over a long period is a great way to draw up a conception schedule and increase fertility awareness.
You may monitor ovulation by several methods, depending on how regular your cycles are and how accurate you require your tracking technique to be.
Here are the four most common methods to try out:
- Calendar Method:
The calendar method is also known as the rhythm method. This method can help you determine your fertile days by tracking the length of your menstrual cycles for several months. This will inform you when you're most likely to conceive.
The calendar method is simple but only works if your cycle is regular. Ironically, you'll be tracking your period rather than ovulation, but if you know when your period is, you can do the math and figure out when you're likely to be ovulating.
- Tracking Your Basal Body Temperature:
Basal body temperature is your body's temperature when you are at rest. Shortly after ovulation, your basal body temperature may rise slightly, usually by 0.5 - 1 degree F. When the somewhat elevated temperature remains constant for three days or longer; ovulation has most likely occurred.
Measure your temperature in the morning before you get out of bed to monitor your body's basal temperature. Yes, it would help if you kept a thermometer by your bedside. If you take your temperature every day, you'll notice a temperature rise when you start ovulating.
- Tracking Cervical Mucus:
Cervical mucus is a fluid or gel-like secretion produced by your cervix and stimulated by estrogen. This method assists you in determining when you will ovulate by recording changes in your cervical mucus during your menstrual cycle.
As you approach ovulation time, cervical mucus changes in consistency to resemble egg whites. Ovulation is right around the corner if your cervical mucus becomes watery and stretches between your fingers for an inch or more. Tracking your cervical mucus can reveal so much about your body and what stage you're on in your cycle. Here's a 101 guide for you!
- Ovulation Predictor Kit:
Ovulation predictor kits are not too different from home pregnancy tests. There are a variety of ovulation testing kits you can purchase at your local drug store for home use. The testing strips inside can assist you in determining when your estrogen levels are rising, and you are experiencing an LH surge.
Unfortunately, these tests will not reveal whether or not you have ovulated. A detailed examination, such as an ultrasound scan, can determine that. An ovulation test gives you indicators that your body is preparing to ovulate.
The Inito Fertility Monitor, for instance, uses advanced technology that measures estrogen, LH, and progesterone levels (PdG) to tell you when ovulation is near. It is an accurate ovulation tracking method with proven results that will predict your fertile days for you.Common Reasons For a Negative Ovulation Test
Even though fertility tracking kits are trustworthy, most women do not use them in the right way. One of the most common reasons you receive negative ovulation test results is that you might be using fertility tests before ovulating. Let's understand why you may be scoring negative on your ovulation test.
- Using Wrong Tracking Methods
Methods for predicting ovulation, such as measuring basal body temperature or cervical mucus, are useful indications, but they are not the standard. These tests are very subjective and can differ from person to person.
Many factors, including lifestyle, nutrition, and genetics, might affect your ovulation signs, leading you to believe you're ovulating when you're not. This is more common in women having irregular menstrual cycles. They may also experience anovulatory cycles (no ovulation at all).
- Mispredicting Your Cycles
The calendar method of tracking your menstrual cycle can be another mistake that can lead to a negative ovulation test result – especially if you only test a few times per menstrual cycle. Most ovulation calendars calculate your ovulation date by using your average menstrual cycle length and subtracting 14 days. This, however, only works for women who have very regular cycles that form the average. But as we all know, each body is unique, and so is your menstrual cycle!
You can plan your ovulation based on your cycle length and the start date of your last period. But cycle lengths and ovulation periods might alter regularly depending on your lifestyle and health condition.
- Miscalculating the Length of your Cycle
A simple cause for a negative ovulation test is that you miscalculated the duration of your menstrual cycle. Many people believe that their cycle lasts 28 days because it is the typical length. Nonetheless, a regular cycle for adults may last anywhere from 21 to 35 days, and for young teens, the period can last anywhere from 21 to 45 days. This might cause you to miss your ovulation cycle by more than a week. Here's what you should know about early ovulation and late ovulation.
- Time of Testing
If you're getting a negative result, chances are, you probably need to take a check on whether or not you're testing correctly.
Pregnancy tests and ovulation predictor tests function technically the same way – but there are some fundamental differences between them. For instance, the optimum time to measure your urine sample for pregnancy tests is in the morning, when the levels of pregnancy hormone hCG are at their peak.
On the other hand, luteinizing hormone, which is found in the urine just before ovulation, peaks for varying lengths of time and at varying levels in different individuals. Hence, it is advisable to do ovulation tests twice a day to avoid missing the peak. This will increase the likelihood of a positive ovulation test.
There is a limited margin for error because the hormone is detectable for approximately 10 hours after your brain releases it.
To determine your ovulation time it's better to use a combination of methods. Take ovulation tests, monitor changes in cervical mucus, and measure your basal body temperature.
Other Causes of a Negative Ovulation Test
- You may not be ovulating due to stress, strenuous exercise, drastic weight changes, lack of sleep, or odd weather.
- You might have performed the test incorrectly. For example, your urine was diluted, or you did not strictly adhere to the guidelines.
- You might have tested too early or too late during the menstrual cycle.
- The luteinizing hormone levels were too low to be detected.
Signs of an Ovulation Problem
If you are unable to successfully track your ovulation, there could be an underlying problem such as:
- Disorders like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Diabetes, Obesity, etc.
- Malfunctioning of the glands like the pituitary gland, hypothalamus (an area of the brain), ovaries, etc. Problems with ovulation occur when any of these glands are unable to secrete the necessary hormones.
Some signs may help you determine if you have an ovulation problem. Watch out for these:
- No or irregular periods
- Excessive facial hair growth
- Mood changes (anxiety, depression, and nervousness)
- Hair loss or thinning
- Rapid weight gain
- Acne flare-ups
No matter what your issue may be, it is always advisable to consult your doctor to find out the underlying cause. A medical consultation will help you determine a solid course of action.
- You are most fertile around the time of ovulation. Your fertile window gives you the highest chances of successful conception.
- Tracking ovulation and having sex during this time increases your chances of becoming pregnant.
- Make sure to follow all the instructions when you are using an ovulation tracking kit. Something as simple as not testing during the correct time of the day may impact results.
- You may get a negative test result if you are using the wrong tracking methods, miscalculating your cycle length, or mispredicting your cycles.
- How to Use Ovulation Kits & Fertility Monitors. American Pregnancy Association. https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/infertility/ovulation-kits/. Published 2022. Accessed March 21, 2022.
- What is the Cervical Mucus Method? | Cycle, Stages & Chart. Plannedparenthood.org. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/fertility-awareness/whats-cervical-mucus-method-fams. Published 2022. Accessed March 21, 2022.