9 reasons why your home pregnancy test may be lying to you

What is the first thing any sane woman does after she misses a period - Yup, we all take a pregnancy test. But, did you know that your super reliable at home pregnancy test could actually be wrong?

They are usually on point, like for example, if you get a positive result you can almost certainly assume you are pregnant and should visit your doctor to confirm the news.

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But on some very rare occasions, your test might display a false result. This could either be in the form of a 'false positive' - a test that says you're pregnant when you don't actually have a viable pregnancy, or it could be in the form of a 'false negative' - a negative result when you are, in fact, pregnant.

Let's a take a look at the 9 reasons why this happens:

1. Expired pregnancy test

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If you have stashed your pregnancy kit for too long, it may give you a wrong result. Heat or moisture can cause damage to the test window on a pregnancy test and this can also result in inaccurate results. So, always buy a fresh kit and from a reputed pharmacist.

2. Fertility medication

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If you're on fertility medication like on pills like IVF that either contain or mimic symptoms of HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), then it could give you a false positive. HCG is a hormone released by the placenta after the embryo has been implanted into the womb. It is the one that helps detect pregnancy through your pee.

3. Miscarriage

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A miscarriage can also result in a false positive. How you ask, well, if you have had a recent miscarriage, the HCG level can stay in your bloodstream for a number of days. This can result in a false positive test result.

4. Medication

Some meds for anxiety, antihistamines, and diuretic meds can get you wrong pregnancy results. These include benzodiazepines taken for anxiety (diazepam, alprazolam), diuretics are taken for excess water retention (furosemide) and even antihistamines such as promethazine. 

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"These medications could theoretically lead to a false positive result if a woman has experienced either a chemical pregnancy (more on that below) or a miscarriage, both of which would leave a small, undetectable level of HCG in the woman's bloodstream. The medication could increase this level slightly, bringing it into a detectable range, hence the possibility of a false positive result emerging from the test," says Dr. Preethi Daniel, Medical Director at London Doctors Clinic.

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5. Chemical pregnancy

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This happens when a fertilized egg stops developing, after implantation, because of an abnormality or some other reason. The fertilized egg never becomes an embryo, but you may have enough hCG to test positive. Due to the super sensitive pregnancy tests available, women can detect pregnancy in the very, very early stages.

6.Ectopic pregnancy

This one does mean you are pregnant, but in the wrong place, unfortunately. This type of pregnancy is dangerous. The fetus is most likely in one of your fallopian tubes. This situation is a medical emergency.

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If you get a positive test result at home but have abdominal pain, bleeding or are just feeling unwell, you must visit a doctor. It could be very damaging.

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7.You've left the test sitting too long before looking

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This one can be quite common. If you have peed on the stick and let it stay there in the well for too long, it may sometimes create a second line that may be confused with a positive. As the urine evaporates, it leaves a line. So to get the most accurate result, leave it for not more than 10 minutes or as mentioned in the package.

8. Ovarian cysts

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Not all kinds of ovarian cysts do this, but this one does. Corpus luteum cysts on the ovaries can cause false positives on pregnancy tests. The corpus luteum remains on the ovary after the egg is released. If the corpus luteum fills with blood or fluid, it becomes a cyst and remains in the ovary. The corpus luteum produces HCG, and can, therefore, interfere with the accuracy of a pregnancy test.

9. UTIs

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Urinary tract infection or kidney disease may result in contaminated pee. Often, along with red or white blood cells. The pregnancy test, being super sensitive to any kind of change in the composition of the urine, gets tricked into thinking it is positive.

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Priyam Chhetri


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