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Houston Fertility Journal

Negative Pregnancy Test: Why You Could Receive A False Positive

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

Center of Reproductive Medicine

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If you are hoping to get pregnant, you most likely already have some pregnancy tests in the bathroom cabinet waiting for your tiniest inkling of hope to arise. Therefore, when you do suspect that you are pregnant, you probably do not wait for very long before you check. When the test gives you a negative result it is incredibly disappointing, especially if you felt sure that you were pregnant this time around. In fact, so much so that it has you wondering if the test could possibly be wrong.

The answer is yes, sometimes certain circumstances can cause the results of a pregnancy test to be inaccurate. There are a few possible reasons why your test could be coming up negative. Below are some explanations for why the results you have received are showing you something different than what you are sure you are experiencing in your body.

How Could a Pregnancy Test Be Wrong?

Immunoassay is known to be the most traditionally reliable method to test for a pregnancy when it is still in it’s earliest stages. Once the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, or pregnancy hormone) reaches a certain level, home pregnancy tests have just as reliable results and are a lot easier to access. This is why people use them more often to screen for an early pregnancy. A pregnancy test will come back negative when the HCG level is below the mark. This result is associated with:

  • no pregnancy
  • the pregnancy is too early for the HCG to be detectable
  • the pregnancy is ectopic, meaning the secretion of the hormone is not intense enough to be detected
  • the test was not used properly. Most tests recommend using morning urine, which contains the highest level of chorionic. Using urine that is more diluted could have an affect on the test results
  • the test could be old, damaged, or poor quality
  • if you have a kidney disease the urine’s consistency could be affected which could make the pregnancy more difficult to detect
  • you may not have given the test enough time to work. Make sure you check how much time you are supposed to wait as notated on the package

How To Know if Your Pregnancy Test is Faulty

It is not uncommon for a woman to get a negative result from her home pregnancy test and still feel pregnant. As stated above, the results are not always completely accurate. You very well may still be pregnant if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • morning sickness/nausea and vomiting
  • unusual food cravings and aversions
  • heightened sensitivity to smells
  • swollen and sore breasts
  • fatigue throughout the day

False Positives

Aside from false negative pregnancy tests, there can also be cases of false positives when the person has:

  • a tumor that produces HCG
  • hemolysis, a blood pathology containing lysis and erythrocytes
  • lipidemia, when the blood contains a high amount of lipids
  • a misunderstanding of how to use the test

What To Do Next

If you have gotten mixed results from your home pregnancy tests, make an appointment with your doctor. They are the only ones who can get a completely accurate answer to you about whether or not you are pregnant.

If you took multiple tests are they all came back negative, wait another week and then take another test. If the test still comes back negative but you have yet to get your period, see your doctor. It is possible that you are not getting your period for another reason such as thyroid disorders, problems existing in the ovaries, nutritional issues, excessive exercise, and stress. Your doctor can help you get down to the reason for your missed period and work with you to get things back on track.

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Topics: Health, Fertility

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