Most common mistakes done resulting in a false positive pregnancy test

How many times you’ve heard someone having a positive result on the pregnancy test just to see that there actually is no pregnancy further down the line? This doesn’t happen as often, but when you consider the 99% certainty rate in the precision of these pregnancy tests, it does happen too much. Now, there are many reasons for this to happen, including that 1% error margin, which obviously takes one tiny part of the whole story. With such a simple technology and build of the test itself, there is a much larger margin of error on your part, indicating that improper procedure, storage or usage of the test itself can result in a false positive pregnancy test.

Medications can cause this

Almost all pregnancy tests rely on detecting a single substance called the pregnancy hormone or hCG in the books. This hormone releases itself with active pregnancy, but in some occurrences women might receive a therapy containing this hormone to treat certain depression and other psychological conditions. With this in mind, it is possible for the test to return a positive result due to this excess of hCG hormone in the urine, which isn’t really excreted from you, rather than the medication or therapy you’re receiving.

Faulty pregnancy tests

The 1% error margin applies only to valid and new pregnancy tests. As these do have their expiration date, it is very much possible for these tests to give you false positive results since they are no longer valid. Always buy a new pregnancy test out of a reliable pharmacy to really know that it is valid and in proper working condition before making assumptions about the pregnancy.

Medical conditions

A certain type of medical conditions can cause a rise of hCG concentration in blood, providing a high chance of a false positive test. Cancers are known to do this, mostly related to those of ovaries or breasts, causing an artificial rise of many other hormones other than hCG.

False reading

The test usually has an evaporation line, which is designed in such a way to change its color if it gets in contact with hCG. With urine running across this line, you might think that it changed color, which it did, but not for the right reason. This is why there is the 3 minute mark which you should wait through before making any assumptions as this is the time necessary for the hCG line to do its job, permanently changing color.

Improper testing

Avoiding the directions mentioned in the pregnancy test box can lead to false positive reading as well. There are specific instructions on how to use the test and you should follow these thoroughly, with absolutely no exceptions as these are all crucial for the test to work properly. It’s also recommended that you use a stopwatch to make sure you’re not looking at the results too early and you should never guess how much time has passed before looking at the test results.

About the author

Rani Vyas

Rani Vyas

I'm a Medical Consultant Doctor with a keen interest in Medical bioinformatics and genuinely intriguing way of presenting boring medical knowledge in an enchanting and eye catching way.

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