image bio

Giving Tuesday: For every order, we'll donate a box of pregnancy tests to our local YWCA chapter. Plus, last day to save 25% sitewide w/code BFCM22 (exclusions apply). Shop now ➔

Home > Learn > Ovulation Tests > >Does a Faint Line on an Ovulation Test Mean Ovulation is Coming?

Does a Faint Line on an Ovulation Test Mean Ovulation is Coming?

Apr 08, 21 4 min
Does a Faint Line on an Ovulation Test Mean Ovulation is Coming? - Natalist

Dr. Gleaton breaks down the difference between the faint line on pregnancy tests versus ovulation tests.

By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Double lines on a pregnancy test may indicate a positive result, but ovulation tests are a little different. Let’s discuss what that faint line means, and how to tell when you’re really ovulating.

Why to use an ovulation test

 

Natalist shop ovulation kit banner

 

If you’re trying to get pregnant, ovulation tests are helpful for identifying when your ovaries are going to release an egg so you can make sure it gets a welcoming (or fertilizing) committee. Eggs can only live for up to a day after they’re released, so it’s extremely important you have sex before and during ovulation to optimize your chances of getting pregnant. Using ovulation tests ensures you don’t miss this window.

What does a faint line mean?

If you have experience with analog pregnancy tests, you probably know that double lines, no matter how faint, mean a positive result. Ovulation tests can be a little more complicated to read—but as long as you follow the instructions carefully, you’ll get the hang of testing in no time. 

The hormone that ovulation tests are looking for, luteinizing hormone (LH), peaks right before ovulation, but is present throughout your cycle. So a faint test line means a little LH was detected, but not enough to indicate an LH surge which happens right before ovulation. If you get a faint test line, you should wait and test again tomorrow. 

Negative ovulation test lines instructions

As you approach ovulation, the line usually gets darker until a positive result appears, like this:

 

A row of pregnancy test results showing that the line gets darker

 

LH levels throughout your cycle

In addition to helping identify your fertile window, ovulation tests can be helpful to uncover patterns that may make it difficult to get pregnant. 

High LH levels (when you aren’t ovulating anytime soon) could indicate:

  • Perimenopause or menopause: If you’re over 40 and have consistently high LH levels, it’s possible you aren’t ovulating at all due to menopause. Read more about signs of perimenopause.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a common hormone disorder affecting childbearing women and a leading cause of female infertility. Women with PCOS often have high levels of LH, and often don’t ovulate. 

Low LH levels (when you should be ovulating) may indicate:

  • Problems with your pituitary gland
  • Disordered eating or malnutrition
  • High stress

You should absolutely talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your LH tests. Your doctor can run additional tests (including a blood LH test) to determine what, if anything, is going on. 

What does a line as dark or darker than the control line mean?

When your test line is as dark or darker than the control line, the test is positive, and you’ll likely ovulate within 24-48 hours! If you want to get pregnant this month, now is the time to have sex.

Darker line result in pregnancy test result

What if I never see a positive line?

Feel like you’ve been testing forever with no signs of a positive in sight? It’s possible that you have ovulated early or late in your cycle and missed your window. Try starting earlier in your cycle next month, and keep testing until you get a positive. If you keep seeing negative results, talk to your OBGYN or  consider seeing a fertility specialist

Things to keep in mind when taking ovulation tests

To ensure accurate results, make sure you:

  • Haven’t urinated for at least two hours.
  • Haven’t overhydrated; consuming too much liquid can dilute your urine and cause a false-negative result.

Some things to consider:

  • If you have PCOS, primary ovarian insufficiency, or another hormonal medical condition: Your ovulation test results could be skewed.
  • If you have irregular periods: It’s possible that you might not ovulate each cycle, so you might not see a positive result when you expect to.  

If you have questions about our at-home ovulation test results, you can always reach out to us.  If you’re concerned about your results, talk to your doctor. 

Take-aways

  • Ovulation tests help you predict your fertile window, so that you can time sex for pregnancy.
  • If you have a fairly regular cycle, you should see higher LH levels right before ovulation and lower levels during the rest of your cycle
  • You want to base your test line off of the control line. A test line that is as dark or darker than the control line indicates that ovulation will occur within the next 24-48 hours 
Shop Products From This Article
sticker favorite
Natalist Ovulation Test Kit

Ovulation Test Kit

As low as $0.56 per strip

$21

Subscribe & Save $5.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal Daily Packets

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60 $55

Shop Products

Subscribe & Save $3.00 sticker bestseller
Magnesium Plus

Magnesium Plus

Pregnancy-safe drink mix to support relaxation‡

$35 $32

Subscribe & Save $5.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal Daily Packets

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60 $55

Subscribe & Save $3.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal gummy vitamins

Prenatal Gummies

Doctor-formulated & delicious prenatal gummies

$29 $26

sticker bestseller
Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy Tests

As low as $3.20 per test

$16

Subscribe & Save $4.00 sticker new
postnatal multivitamin supplement

Postnatal Vitamin

Nutritional & energy boost for breastfeeding‡

$40 $36

Subscribe & Save $8.00 sticker save
Prenatal Vitamin and Magnesium Pregnancy-Safe Bundle

Magnesium & Multi Pack

Bundle & save on top sellers

$85 $77

Subscribe & Save $15.00 sticker save
Trimester Pack: Prenatal Daily Packets

Trimester Pack: Prenatal Daily Packets

A full trimester worth of prenatals at a great price

$165 $150

Subscribe & Save $5.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal Daily Packets

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60 $55

sticker favorite
Women's Fertility Test Bundle

Women's Fertility Test Bundle

Bundle & save $26

$201 $185

sticker bestseller
Legacy At-home Sperm Analysis

Legacy At-home Sperm Analysis

Fertility analysis for him

$295

sticker save
The Test Strip Pack

The Test Strip Pack

Bundle & save with our earth-friendlier test strips

$35

sticker save
TTC Essentials Bundle

TTC Essentials Bundle

TTC just got more affordable

$72 $65

Reach Out, We're Here

Have questions about your order or products? For the speediest answer, check out our FAQ section. Need something else? Come find us below.

Customer Support
support@natalist.com

Press Inquiries
media@everlyhealth.com

Business & Partnerships
team@natalist.com

Affiliates + Influencers
team@natalist.com

Job Openings
Careers Page