False Positive Pregnancy Test

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A false positive pregnancy test is one of the worst things for a woman trying to coneive. After the euphoria of the positive pregnancy test result, your hopes come crashing down when you realize that it’s a false positive pregnancy test.

It can make some women feel depressed and worry that they made a mistake which caused a miscarriage. Unless you get positive pregnancy test but now arebleeding nothing requires worrying.  

A false positive pregnancy test is rare but equally risky as a false negative pregnancy test. If you get a false positive pregnancy test and take an over the counter abortion pill, it will jeopardize your health. It might even be a risk for fertility in women.

False Positive Pregnancy Test
False Positive Pregnancy Test

What is a false positive pregnancy test?

A false positive pregnancy test is more complicated than it seems. If you have a pregnancy test that is 99% accurate, it means that out of hundred pregnant women taking the test only one can get a false pregnancy test.

It can also be that if you take that pregnancy test ten times, then you may get one incorrect result. After getting a positive pregnancy test, there is 99% chance that you are  pregnant.

There exists a 1% chance that it is a false positive test. A lot of mathematics and probability, indeed!

In simple terms, a false positive pregnancy test is when you get a positive pregnancy test, and you are actually not pregnant. A false pregnancy test doesn’t consider whether you have a tubal pregnancy.

The hCG hormone from any source is enough for the pregnancy test to detect pregnancy. It is a qualitative pregnancy test and only detects the pregnancy hormone in urine.

A false positive pregnancy test is very rare. When you take a pregnancy test after IVF treatment, you are likely to get a false positive test result. It is because your doctor gave you those fertility drugs that elevate hCG levels. The hCG levels remain elevated for days after IVF treatment.

Similarly, other medications like antidepressants and birth control can cause a false positive pregnancy test.

You can mistake an evaporation line for a false positive pregnancy test. An evaporation line is the mark left by urine after it evaporates completely from the test.

Pregnancy test results require reading within 10 minutes. If you get positive test result after 10 minutes then it is invalid.

False positive pregnancy test before missed period

Confirmation of false positive pregnancy test is after you come to know that you are not pregnant. You doubt the results when you get a positive pregnancy test then a negative result. False positive test result before missed period is a sign that you may be having an Ectopic pregnancy. During an Ectopic pregnancy, your body produces hCG, but the pregnancy terminates shortly.

Pregnancy test false positive in this case is because it is a qualitative test. The best possible step after false positive pregnancy test before missed period is to wait for period.

It could be that your period is late and you have cysts that cause hCG production. You can get a false positive pregnancy test if you have ovarian cysts.

The pregnancy test false positive before a missed period could be because of a defective pregnancy test.

False positive pregnancy test during period

If you get your period and continue to get a false positive test result, then you need to tell your Obgyn about it.

It may be that you have a chemical pregnancy. In such a case pregnancy proceeds normally and later starts bleeding. A chemical pregnancy is a miscarriage.

False positive pregnancy test during period can also be implantation bleeding. It could be that what you are considering a period is implantation bleeding.

Implantation is the process of attachment of the embryo to the uterus wall. Implantation bleeding occurs near the day of missed period and can overlap. You can miscalculate the date of the due period. In that case what you are taking as a false positive result is actually positive.

But mostly a false positive test result is due to fertility drugs. If you are taking any fertility drug, then you will get a false positive pregnancy test.

Similarly, if you think that leaving a pregnancy test for long will give you correct results, you are wrong.

Some women might think that leaving a pregnancy test for long will show permanent results. But the pregnancy test results are temporary.

Pregnancy test results need you to read them within 10 minutes. If you leave the pregnancy test for long after results reading time, then you can get a false positive result.It is an evaporation line which is a mark of urine left after evaporation.

Indent lines are marks of the hCG antibodies on the pregnancy test. They may also appear to make you interpret it as a false positive result.

What can cause a false positive pregnancy test?

A false positive pregnancy test can occur due to many reasons:

  1. IVF treatment
  2. Evaporation lines
  3. Eating urine coloring food like rhubarb, carrots, saffron or food color
  4. Indent lines
  5. Leaving the test for long
  6. Ectopic pregnancy
  7. Chemical pregnancy
  8. Taking the test after a miscarriage due to remaining hCG levels
  9. Ovarian cysts
  10. Urine disorders

Can you get a false positive pregnancy test?

Yes, you can get a false positive pregnancy test. Albeit it is a rare occurrence, but it does happen.

The reasons for getting a false positive pregnancy test are above.

The line saying 99% accurate from the day of missed period is a warning for it. It is possible to get a false positive and negative pregnancy test. Both are the reasons why you should prefer to take a hospital pregnancy test after taking a home pregnancy test. A hospital pregnancy test is a pregnancy blood test.

What are the chances of a false positive pregnancy test

The chances of a false positive pregnancy test are very slim. Many times a woman cannot distinguish between an evaporation line and positive line. So it is a human error that gives a false positive pregnancy test.  

What medications can cause a false positive pregnancy test?

Some drugs can cause false positive test result. Fertility drugs given during infertility therapies raise hCG levels. Antidepressants also cause false positive pregnancy test. Anti-inflammatory drugs for Pelvic inflammatory disease or any inflammation can also cause pregnancy test false positive. Antibiotics and other antiepileptic drugs for seizures cause false positive.

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