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Can a pregnancy test be wrong and what to do if you are not sure about the result


Source: Life hacker

Technically, a pharmacy pregnancy test is simple. It is a reagent applied to paper that reacts to a specific substance - a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), says Lifehacker.

Photo: Shutterstock

This hormone begins to be produced in a woman's body only after the fertilized egg is attached to the lining of the uterus (endometrium). This usually happens about 6 days after fertilization. HCG enters the bloodstream and urine, and its level in these biological fluids rises rapidly, doubling every 2-3 days.

Already by 10-14 days after conception, home pregnancy tests detect the hormone in the urine and report this by highlighting the second strip or the corresponding window on the indicator.

If you see two stripes or a plus sign on the indicator, then pregnancy has come.

The error is almost impossible.

Can a pregnancy test be wrong

Sometimes yes. The likelihood of this happening depends on various factors, including the result obtained.

When a pregnancy test can be false positive

Situations where a woman is not pregnant and the test shows two stripes are extremely rare.

Therefore, it is believed that a positive result is almost always correct.

However, it is worth knowing the reasons why the test may turn out to be false positive. Spoiler alert: many of them require a mandatory consultation with a gynecologist, so if you see two stripes or a plus sign on the indicator, it is better not to delay a visit to the doctor.

  • You lost your pregnancy soon after the egg has attached to the lining of your uterus. In this case, the embryo no longer develops and you are technically not pregnant, but within 2-3 weeks the test can still detect an increased level of hCG. Most often, such an egg is rejected and leaves with the onset of menstruation. But sometimes a frozen pregnancy can cause inflammation in the uterus.
  • You did the test right after you took a fertility drug containing hCG.
  • You have an ectopic pregnancy. This means that fertilization has occurred, but the egg is not fixed in the uterus, but in another place - the fallopian tube or, let's say, the ovary. An ectopic pregnancy is deadly, it is impossible to bring it to a happy ending.
  • You develop an ovarian tumor. It also causes hormonal disruption and inappropriate production of hCG.
  • You may be going through menopause. It can also lead to hormonal imbalances.
  • You are taking certain medications. For example, diazepam-based sedatives, diuretics, anticonvulsants, or antiallergic drugs. If this is the case, you should not rely on a pharmacy test to determine pregnancy - it is better to take a blood test for hCG.

On the subject: 'Delay and test are not a guarantee': the gynecologist told how to determine early pregnancy

When a pregnancy test can be falsely negative

A false negative result is when a pregnancy has begun, but the test does not show it for some reason. This situation is more common. Therefore, doctors advise to repeat the test after a few days if signs of pregnancy (for example, delayed menstruation, enlargement and soreness of the mammary glands, nausea) persist.

Here are the most common reasons for a false negative.

  • You bought an expired or damaged test.
  • You did the test too early. And the level of hCG in urine has not yet had time to rise so high that the reagents could catch it. Most manufacturers recommend doing the test no earlier than the first day of your period delay.
  • You are in a hurry checking the result. It takes time for sensitive substances to react to hCG levels. It is indicated in the instructions. For example, a manufacturer might say, “Dip a test strip in urine, hold for 10 seconds, then place it on a dry, horizontal surface. The result will appear in 4-7 minutes. " If you run the test earlier than 4 minutes later, you run the risk of seeing a false negative result.
  • You did the test tonight. The vast majority of manufacturers recommend checking if you are pregnant in the morning. This is important: it is in the morning that the urine is most concentrated, and the level of hCG in it is highest. By the evening, the content of human chorionic gonadotropin decreases, it is more difficult to catch it.
  • Before taking the test, you drank a lot of water or other drinks (tea, juice, compote, fruit drink). The liquid dilutes the urine and lowers the hCG concentration.

What to do if you think the pregnancy test is wrong

Several options are possible. Choose any or try everything in turn.

Recheck the result

Repeat the test the next morning. Or, which is better, in 2–3 days.

When purchasing a second screening test, ask your pharmacist for the most sensitive test available. The sensitivity is indicated on the package and is designated by numbers - 10, 20, 25, 30. These numbers indicate the concentration of hCG in urine (in mIU / ml) that the test is able to detect. The lower the number, the better.

Get a blood test for hCG

This is a more accurate and reliable option than express pharmacy tests. With the help of a blood test, pregnancy can be detected as early as 6-8 days after conception - that is, even before there is a delay.

On the subject: How to determine pregnancy at home: 7 unusual ways

Consult a gynecologist

Sometimes it happens that the test results do not correspond to the state of health. For example, menstruation is delayed for several days, and the test stubbornly shows "no pregnancy."

Various malfunctions in the body, for example, thyroid diseases, problems with the ovaries, and lack of nutrients, often lead to dubious results. To exclude them, a visit to the doctor is needed.

The gynecologist will ask you about the symptoms, conduct an examination, offer to take tests and find out exactly why express pregnancy tests give an ambiguous result. If any disease is found, the doctor will tell you how to treat it, or refer you to a specialized specialist.

The material is published for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and does not replace medical advice. ForumDaily Woman is not responsible for any diagnosis made by the reader based on the site's materials, as well as for the consequences of self-medication, and may not share the point of view of the author or expert.

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