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.