Using ovulation kits is a very common method of predicting fertility when a couple is trying to conceive. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), however, using an ovulation kit may or may not be an option for you.
What is Ovulation?
The menstrual cycle is initiated when a hormone is secreted in the brain causing an egg follicle in the ovary to begin growing. The two main hormones are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and leutenizing hormone (LH), the hormone whose surge triggers ovulation.
The developing egg follicle begins to secrete estrogen, which causes the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to begin to thicken. Once the follicle matures, LH levels increase dramatically, triggering ovulation, which is the release of a mature egg from an egg follicle within the ovary. This occurs on approximately day 14 of the cycle. If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels drop and the lining is shed as menstruation, triggering the beginning of the next cycle.
How is Ovulaton Affected by PCOS?
PCOS occurs when the body produces excess androgens or male hormones. As a result, a woman's menstrual cycle and ovulation can be affected. Her cycles may be irregular, longer then normal or may not occur at all. This can make using ovulation kits difficult.
Additionally, women with PCOS often have persistently elevated levels of LH.
How Do Ovulation Kits Work?
Right before ovulation, the hormone LH surges. Ovulation prediction kits look for elevated levels of LH.
Will Ovulation Kits Work For Me?
If you are having regular monthly periods, there is a good chance that using the kit will work. If you are not having regular periods, the kit may still work, but it can be very difficult to time testing.
If you are using the kit and getting persistently positive results, however, your LH may be constantly high, making using the kit an unreliable way to test for ovulation.
When Should I Use the Ovulation Kits?
Ovulation usually occurs two weeks (14 days) before your next period. So if your cycles are 30 days from the start of one period to the next, ovulation will occur around day 16 of your cycle. It is usually best to begin testing a few days before, say around day 12, to ensure that you catch your ovulation.
Once you get your positive result, or surge, begin having intercourse each day for two to three days. Good Luck!