If you happen to have a Facebook, you may be familiar with our TTC (Trying To Conceive) Group we have on there, basically tailored around the fascinating world of Pee Sticks! Well, we decided to conduct a little experiment with Lime and Lemon Juice to see if perhaps, (as rumor has it) either would create a false Line?!
The simple basics of taking a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) nowadays, really isn’t so simple anymore. There are different types, with different colored dyes, and even different Test Sensitivities. Some with two Lines, some with symbols, and even some that have a screen like a computer! Some you hold in your Urine stream, and some that require you to collect a sample in a clean, sanitary cup. And then once you decide what type of test and which brand – there’s still the uneasiness of interpreting the results correctly. It can definitely be nerve wrecking if you’re new to the game. So, I decided to make a tutorial on all of the different types of tests available and how to make sure you get the most accurate results!
Let’s start off with the different types. One of the most commonly used and most widely available – a Midstream Test!
Now normally you can hold the absorbent tip in your Urine stream, but I always recommend collecting a sample in a clean, sanitary cup. If you happen to notice that your Urine isn’t concentrated enough – you can dump it and try again later. This way, you can avoid wasting a test. You would simply dip the absorbent tip in the cup and then lay it on a dry, flat surface while you wait on the results.
A widely popular brand is the First Response Early Results, as it’s easily one of the most sensitive HPT’s on the market today that are 25mIU/ml but can detect as low as 6.5mIU/ml.
The next most commonly used Tests available is known as a Cassette Test.
You can often find these in your local dollar store and they’re usually pretty inexpensive. With these, it is necessary to collect a Urine sample in a clean, sanitary cup. You would use the dropper since there’s no absorbent tip and put 3-5 drops in the well, and Keep it on a dry, flat surface as you wait to interpret the results.
Now this one is probably one of my favorites because not only are they fairly inexpensive – they are very easy to store and do not take up much space! Mostly known as Test Strips, but also known as Dip Sticks or Internet Cheapies.
These also require you to collect a Urine sample in a clean, sanitary cup. There’s a, “Max Line,” and you shouldn’t dip the test strip past that Line in order to avoid over-saturation. Next, you simply lay it down on a dry, flat surface while waiting on the results.
Lastly, we have the ever so lovely Digital Test! Absolutely no guessing involved with this one. The only downfall with these is that they Sometimes require a higher concentration of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to yield a positive result, so they may not be the best at detecting early Pregnancy.
These are widely popular and are the most accurate by the first day of your missed period. You can put the absorbent tip in your Urine stream or collect a Urine sample in a clean, sanitary cup. I usually opt to collect a sample with most midstreams, but especially with a digital. If you somehow accidentally splash the top part of the test or even the screen – more than likely you’ll get a user error and that’ll be a big waste of a test, not to mention they can be more expensive, easily burning a whole in your wallet if you’re not careful. Always read the instructions beforehand on how long to hold the absorbent tip in the Urine stream or on how long to dip it into a cup. Lay it on a dry, flat surface and wait on the results. Luckily even after the timeframe you’ll never have to worry about seeing an Evaporation Line!
Now that we have gone over the different varieties of Tests out there, it’s time to go over the basics. If you’re one of those who are actively TTC (Trying To Conceive) or trying to get pregnant, you may be familiar with the (Charting Basics) and you may also be familiar with the different parts of your cycle. There are ways to track your cycle through, (Basal Body Temperature, Cervical Mucus, and Cervical Position)
The Follicular Phase is the time from the first day of your period, until Ovulation occurs and is influenced by Estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for lower temps during that part of your cycle. The Luteal Phase is the time from Ovulation until the time your Period arrives and is influenced by Progesterone, which is a heat inducing hormone that keeps your temps elevated. If you get pregnant, progesterone is necessary to help sustain a healthy Pregnancy and as a result you may notice your temps continue to remain elevated because of it. If you can pinpoint your Ovulation, you can also pinpoint the time your period would be due – giving you the benefit and heads up on whether or not your period may actually be late and that may give you the advantage of a more reliable result. Although your Follicular Phase can vary greatly from cycle to cycle, your Luteal Phase shouldn’t change. A normal LP is around 10-16 days in length.
If you notice that you’re late, it’s recommended to start testing. It is optimal to use FMU (First Morning Urine) but if you are unable to do that you can also hold your Urine for a minimal of 3-4 hours while refraining from drinking any beverages. It’s really important because diluted Urine may not contain enough HCG to yield a positive result depending on the sensitivity of the test, and also how far along you may be. Ideally you want your Urine to be dark, such as the color of Apple Juice or even Apple Cider for example.
One of the best ways to know for sure is by collecting your sample in a clean, sanitary cup. If it doesn’t look concentrated enough, you can always dump it and try again later.
Always, read the instructions carefully before taking the test to avoid any user errors. One of the biggest mistakes is reading a test outside of the timeframe and interpreting the results wrong. Pregnancy Tests are rapid, “assay,” diagnostics so it’s imperative to read them within the allotted time specified on the instructions. Anything that appears outside of the timeframe, (Regardless of color) should be considered invalid and disregarded. A Line that shows up way after the usual 5-10 minute mark, can be considered an (Evaporation Line) and although they’re usually grey or colorless – they can have a bit of Pink or Blue from time to time so don’t be fooled! Evap Lines are self explanatory, they can start to form once the Urine starts to dry on the test and it evaporates. But with that being said, (even if the test is still damp) the chemicals can still change causing some color to appear. Occassionally you can still be pregnant and have slow rising HCG that may Take longer to appear on a test. It’s not unheard of, but is quiet a rarity. I definitely wouldn’t rely on a colored Line appearing outside of the timeframe to be a true positive result! You can always wait a few days and retest if you feel you could still be pregnant. Rule of thumb: Set a timer for the 4-9 mins specified on the test, giving yourself at least 15-30 seconds to read it from the same range you would read a book. If you don’t see a Line, then throw the test away. In fact if you’re anything like me, Take the test outside, run it over a few times with your car, sweep it up and chunk the remains in a dumpster! Whatever you do, just put the pee stick down!
With that being said, once you’ve saturated the test sufficiently with enough Urine, (whether it’s a Midstream, cassette, or test strip) lay it on a flat, dry surface as the dye runs across it. A Control Line should form, indicating that the test is working properly. The chemical reagents on the Control Line will react with just about any liquid, including water. Normally if HCG is present inside of the Urine, as the Urine hits the antibody strip – the chemical reagents will react and a second Line will then start to produce. Any Line regardless of how light or dark it may be, is considered positive if it appears within the timeframe! But also be weary of the dreadful (Indent Line). It’s simply just the antibody strip and no the Tests not defective if that happens – that’s just how they’re made. Rule of thumb, if you have to break the case open and hold it up to 3 or 4 different lights than it’s probably negative. HCG doubles every 48 hours so if you suspect you could still be pregnant, wait a few days and retest! 2 lines is positive, 1 line is negative.
And with a digital you won’t have to interpret any lines whatsoever. It’ll tell you flat out and it’s unmistakable. Once you open up the foil package, that usually starts to activate the test. After the absorbent tip has been put in the Urine stream or dipped for the proper amount of time, lay the test flat on a dry surface – just as you would with any test. You will see a timer appear, and it may flash for a full 3 minutes before displaying the results. If you’re using a Clearblue Weeks Estimator, it may Take an additional 3 minutes to display how many weeks you are.
Lastly, (when using a digital) if it says, “Not Pregnant,” please do not proceed to break the case open. Digital Tests work differently than the normal dye Tests and their sensor’s read the Line intensity differently. They almost will always have at least 2 Lines, because they check for LH (Luteinizing Hormone) as well as HCG. Why you ask? I have no clue, but that’s just the way it is.
For a more in-depth tutorial on how to properly and most accurately Take a Home Pregnancy Test, watch the Video below!
Leave it to me, to come up with ideas like this! (Ha ha) Really seems to be my forte. I recently conducted an experiment to see if (Soda, Juice or Tea could cause a FALSE POSITIVE RESULT) on a HPT. (Home Pregnancy Test) and to answer that question, Yes! One specific liquid did in fact score a false result. So there has been some speculation about whether or not the sugar content inside the drinks or liquids were responsible for producing a 2nd Line on our lovely little pee sticks – and I decided to put that theory to the test!
Being an avid TTC’er (Trying To Conceive) while going through your journey, I’m sure you’ve come across the word evap – which is short for (Evaporation Line) ⇦ which you can get a good look at some actual ones here ★ especially if you’ve joined any support groups. Posting good HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) Pics is ultimately an art form nonetheless and I’ve even created a tutorial on (How to post GOOD HPT Pics) if you ever opt to get a second opinion on the results!
Posting pics can be great, the only downfall is the opinions and advice that ultimately goes along with it. Reading and interpreting results is not as easy as you would think.
First of all, (regardless of what test you’re choosing to take) you have to make sure that you read the instructions carefully beforehand. Not every test is the same, and most errors occur from not doing so. Some tests allow you to hold the absorbent tip in your Urine stream, while other tests require you to collect your Urine in a clean, sanitary cup beforehand. Also, reaction times can differ as well. Most Tests however, specify a certain amount of time to read the results and to disregard the test after that allotted timeframe. When taking a test, a Control Line should appear indicating that the test has been done correctly, and a Test Line will only appear if the Pregnancy hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is present inside of the Urine and has a high enough concentration for that specific test to pick up on as the hormone binds to the chemicals on the antibody strip – causing it to change colors. That would be considered a positive result and would mean that you are in fact pregnant! And Yes, even a very faint Line still means that there’s a presence of HCG in your system, even if it’s a very small amount. A faint Line should not be confused with an EVAP, (Evaporation Line) or an (Indent Line).
The problem is how so many people nowadays seem to misuse the word and throw it around without using it in it’s proper context, or by using the word without knowing it’s true meaning. Either way, I decided to once and for all clarify the term since there seems to be so much confusion behind it.
So, what is an Evap Line? And, how can you tell the difference? The true definition of an Evap sort of speaks for itself – it’s a Line that develops as the Urine evaporates off of the HPT. As the Urine dries, it can cause the antibody strip to appear slightly more visible, and in some cases can actually look like an indentation on the test itself. Most of the time they will appear shadowy, colorless or even grey. In some cases, they can however also develop a little bit of color. Although any Line that may look promising, (especially one with Blue or Pink) if it appears outside of the timeframe it should be considered invalid and disregarded. Since an Evap Line only occurs once the Urine has dried, it’s safe to say that any Line that appears within that allotted timeframe specified on the instructions would be considered a positive result no matter how faint the Line may be. If you’re strict on reading the test only within the timeframe per the manufacturer – the test should still be damp and no Evap Lines will have had time to produce. Most test instructions indicate that a test should not be read after the 3-10 minute time period.
Sometimes after we specify to others a pic we posted was snapped within the recommended timeframe we still come across those that say, “It looks like an Evap to me.” So, what if a faint Line occurs within the timeframe?
Again, more than likely that Evap Line your friend or co-worker thought they saw, really isn’t an Evap Line. Here’s a few examples of some actual Evaps I came across recently.
If it’s a very faint Line, I always highly recommend to take another test in a couple days to track your Line Progression. Every 48 hours during early Pregnancy HCG will double as it should and over the course of a few days – you should start to see your test Lines get a little darker each time you pee on that stick! Of course with that being said, different Tests have different sensitivities that require different concentrations of the HCG in your Urine to produce a positive result. I highly recommend using the same brand and sensitivity to track your progress until you’re levels are high enough to be detected reliably on any test.
ALSO, something I felt I should discuss is the infamous, “Water Trick.” What is that you ask? Well, apparently somewhere along the wonderful internet we came across some topic or forum somewhere – where someone had mentioned that a great way to distinguish the Evap Line from a True Positive Result is by conducting the water trick. You simply put a few drops of water in the same place you would drop Urine and it’ll run across the test cleaning up the icky yellowish dried Urine on the test. This theory states that if it’s an Evap – than the line will wash away leaving the area pristine white again whereas if the line contains dye – then its a true BFP (Big Fat Positive) because any line with color even outside of the time limit MUST be positive according to some. Sorry to say that unfortunately that’s NOT always the case. EVAPS CAN HAVE COLOR and sometimes they DO NOT wash away! Here’s an example of just that, that actually came out of my personal collection recently! The line was very pink, and when I tried the water trick – the line stayed intact. So that myth has been busted! Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. My best advice to you, is to toss the test outside once you’ve established it’s a negative result (within) the timeframe – and then proceed to run it over a few times! After that chunk it in a dumpster! Do whatever you have to do, but put the pee stick down and walk away. You can always retest later if you feel like you could still be pregnant!
The next controversy we often encounter is the unwanted Indent Line, which is far too common and also can be misinterpreted as a positive result. More often than not, those usually appear outside of the timeframe – but not always! Occasionally they can appear within. But indent Lines unlike EVAP Lines, is simply the antibody strip. Indent Lines are usually completely colorless, or white when they appear within the timeframe. If you see an indent with color, or one with grey, than at that point it can then be considered an Evap if it appeared outside of the time limit. Here’s a few example those:
This however, is how you can distinguish the difference between an antibody strip or indent with the real deal below. The Line is Pink. It can be faint, but just Keep in mind the reagent in the dye binds to the chemicals on the antibody strip as the Urine passes over it when HCG is present. So a good rule of thumb, if it’s white or you need break the case open to see it, (which also makes the test invalid) than more than likely it’s not positive.
One of the main reasons for seeing a False Line, (although rare) – is due to a dye run. That happens when the dye doesn’t run across the test smoothly and can get stuck on certain parts of the test. Whenever that happens, Sometimes it can cause a Line to appear where a true one would have had HCG been detected in the Urine. Although it looks very promising to the naked eye, it’s not considered to be a true positive. It doesn’t mean you’re not pregnant, it just simply means the result is unreliable since it was faulty and if you suspect that you could still be pregnant, than you need to do yourself a favor and retest. Here’s a good example:
Then we have the famous, “Disappearing,” Line. Many of us get that confused with a true positive result. Although it, (again) seems promising, it’s not considered legitimate. This Sometimes happens when the dye is not fully finished running across the test. The dye can get stuck or may stall in the correct spot briefly, but then continues moving along. Per Most manufacturers – a true positive result will stay intact for at least 48 hours if not a whole lot longer! I definitely can vouch for that myself. I opted to save my Pregnancy Tests from both of my pregnancies (my son is now 4 and my daughter is 3) and every test Line to this day still remains as vivid as ever!
And lastly, I feel the need to discuss the odd and unusual, (but not unheard of) test Lines that appear in the wrong spots on our lovely little pee sticks. Yes it happens. Yes it’s more than one Line. Does it mean it’s positive? No. Most of the time it occurs because of a dye run, and Sometimes the test is just faulty. The results should be considered (again) invalid and if you suspect your pregnant you should of course retest.
Looks very odd, huh? And Yes it happens. But hopefully after reading this You’ll have a much better understanding of this and my goal more than anything else, was to hopefully reduce the phrase, “Evap,” from being so loosely thrown around as if any Line on any given test if faint enough or Maybe not even colorful enough in ones opinion – automatically means just that!
Moral of the story: Evap means that URINE actually EVAPORATED off of the test! And it also will ONLY appear outside of the time limit, so please use caution when using that term.
Many of us often opt to start using OPK’s (Ovulation Predictor Kits) to get a heads up on when Ovulation may occur. Our LH (Luteinizing Hormone) levels normally begin to rise just hours prior, and can be measured by using OPK’s. Normally the first true positive result – when the Test Line is equal to or Darker than the Control Line, indicates that Ovulation should be taking place anytime within 12-72 hours. But when using these, how will Urine concentration typically effect those results? It’s always recommended to use highly Concentrated (afternoon) Urine between 2-8pm at the same time everyday! Well, I decided to put it to the test. I dipped one OPK test Strip in Concentrated Urine, and then dipped a second one (same brand) around the same time minus an hour and a ½ in diluted Urine. See what happens next!
“Terrible!!!!! False Positives that are thin and only one side of the vertical line that sucks!!!! Don’t buy these or the Dollar Store Brands.” – TTCWolfCub
“The walmart brand OV test are no good. my first time using it a couple test turned out invalid and also i got a positive off of one but when my blood results came back negative a couple days after. the walmart brands give false positives…i warn you…be careful…i have had a bad experience with it before.” – Dori
“The local Wal-Mart didn’t have the ClearBlue Easy non-digitals that I usually get so I bought this product. Hey, all the Equate brands that I used were the same or better than the known brands. What could have gone wrong?
I followed the instructions in the box and four of the tests didn’t work! No matter if I peed in a cup or peed on the stick, nothing could register to make the test work. Because of this, I never was able to get a positive OPK. I will never use this brand again!” – jerrysliljess
“I have NEVER got a positive response on any. I’ve purchased two boxes and in both boxes half of them didn’t even work! I will not be wasting my money on these again! – ADavid323
“It works okay, buy you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to guess whether the line is dark enough, to mean you’re ovulating. I abandoned these after a few months of confusion as to whether I was actually ovulating or about to ovulate, or what. I went back to the other brand that shows the smiley face when it’s time. The lack of guesswork was worth the extra money I saved on these. Actually I didn’t save anything with these because I had to use them for several months. I used the smiley face one once and got pregnant right away. Oh, by the way this is my second pregnancy, and both times started with this type of test to save money, but it was the smiley face that did it for me each time. Don’t waste your time, ladies!” – LMC