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Best Ovulation Test for PCOS

Tracking when you ovulate is important if you’re trying to find out when you’re going to be fertile, and tracking your fertility is especially important if you have PCOS. PCOS interferes with your menstrual cycle, delaying ovulation, making it unpredictable or even causing it to be skipped altogether. Tracking when you ovulate, so you know when it’s going to happen in advance allows you to take advantage of each of those opportunities it affords you to conceive, and begin your journey towards starting a family.

Unfortunately, PCOS also makes a lot of common ovulation tests and trackers fail to work properly. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is caused by your body producing unusually high levels of three key hormones (Insulin, testosterone and oestrogen), and the interactions of these hormones don’t just produce the symptoms of PCOS, they also interfere with hormone based tests for when you’re ovulating.

The most common form of ovulation test is known as an OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit). You can buy OPKs in most supermarkets and chemists: they’re widely available and easy to use. Very like pregnancy tests, you just insert the test stick into your urine, and then wait to see the results. It’s looking for a surge in LH: the Luteinising Hormone that cues your ovaries to release a fertile egg.

If you have PCOS, the disturbance to your hormonal backdrop can mask the LH surge those tests look for, meaning it returns a negative result when you are in fact ovulating, causing you to miss that important event.

You can also find other hormone based tests: some work by looking for hormone changes in your saliva. The most basic version of this test involves letting a sample of your saliva dry, and then looking for the ‘ferning’ pattern that elevated salt levels cause. These methods are also rendered unreliable by PCOS.

The most reliable method is to track your core body temperature, though this requires more work. Your core temperature drops when you’re at rest during the night, and this low level is responsive to changes in your body: it rises and falls by tiny amounts – tenths of a degree – as your menstrual cycle progresses. If you take your temperature every morning at soon as you wake up, and log it, then you can look at the results over time and identify patterns. A drop of a tenth of a degree, followed by a rise over the next three days is a strong indicator that you are ovulating! This is the best and most reliable ovulation test when you have PCOS.