Missed periods can mean many things. But the first thing that comes to your mind is pregnancy, if you are sexually active that is. So, if you have missed your period, you would buy a pregnancy kit and check if you are pregnant.
I understand the anxiety and curiosity you go through in this phase. You might want the result to be positive or negative depending on your priorities.
But wait! What if the home pregnancy test goes wrong? You don’t want to be disappointed (or worrying unnecessarily), do you?
So, without much ado let’s tell you the times when a home pregnancy test can give you a false reading. Before that, it might help you to know how the home pregnancy kits work:
How does the home pregnancy test work?
Most home pregnancy tests are urine based, which means you have to pour your urine sample on a tester. The time when you take the test is the key to getting an accurate result. Wait for a minimum of one week after you miss your period to get concrete results.
But, home tests can give false results sometimes.
So, why do the home pregnancy tests give you false results?
Here are some of the reasons for inaccurate results:
- Missing out on the instructions: There could be a human error in using home pregnancy kits such as missing out on a step. So, read through the instructions, understand them, and follow the process steps as mentioned in the booklet to get accurate results.
- hCG levels: Home tests detect the traces of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in the urine. In early pregnancy, a woman may not have enough hCG hormone that could be detected. There is a possibility that you are pregnant, but the hCG levels are not considerably high, leading to a false reading. As the hCG levels are high in the morning, it becomes an ideal time to take the test. Remember not to drink too much water as it can lessen the hCG levels, interfering with the reading.
- Timing: You need to consider the time at which you take the test. This differs from one kit to another. If you wait for too long to test after collecting the urine sample, it can interfere with the results. Use the urine sample within 15 minutes of collecting it.
Many kits have to be used by pouring a few drops of urine on the tester rather than immersing it into a sample. After that, let the sample take some time. Some kits require lesser time to give the reading. But giving enough time yields an accurate result.
- Medications: If you are on fertility or other medications, they can interfere with the test results, as these drugs contain hCG. However, birth control pills and antibiotics don’t affect the test results.
- Expired kit: If you have used the kit that’s beyond its expiry date, then there are increased chances of inaccurate results. So, remember to check the expiry date before you use one.
What can you possibly do after you get a false result?
- It’s always a good idea to buy two packs of home pregnancy test kits. If one fails, you can try out the second kit after a week (if your periods haven’t started).
- Wait for a week after the first test and repeat the test.
- If you still feel that you may be pregnant, then consult your doctor. A visit to your physician is always a good idea as the blood test and ultrasound are more accurate methods to confirm pregnancy than a home test.
In rare cases, there’s a possibility of getting a positive result when you are not pregnant. This condition is called ‘false positive’. You can get false-positive in cases of ectopic pregnancy, menopause or ovarian problems.
How was your experience with home pregnancy test kits? Do let us know by commenting below.