Ask Kindara: Can I have eggwhite cervical fluid but not ovulate? Can I ovulate without an LH surge? Can my LH surge be low and undetected by OPK?

By
Lauren Risberg
/
Women's Health
/
January 13, 2016

Dear Kindara,

Is it possible to have egg white cervical fluid and not ovulate? Also, is it possible to ovulate without an LH surge? Or could your LH surge be low and undetected by OPK? Thanks, Lisa

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your question!  

In short, the answers to your questions are:

1. Yes, it's possible to have eggwhite cervical fluid without ovulation2. No, it's not possible to ovulate without an LH surge, and3. Yes, it's possible that your LH surge might not be picked up by an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) but still trigger ovulation.

To understand the answers to these questions, we need to understand how ovulation is triggered and how OPKs work.  Once menstruation is over, your body begins to produce estrogen, which results in the production of cervical fluid.  As more estrogen is produced, your cervical fluid becomes wetter and slipperier, peaking in fluid that's similar to raw eggwhites when you're most fertile.  When your estrogen levels raise high enough above a certain threshold, ovulation is triggered and your body produces a surge of the luteinizing hormone, also known as 'LH.'

Ovulation predictor kits detect levels of LH in your urine.  So if you get a positive OPK, that means that the levels of LH in your urine are very high and your body is either already ovulating or will ovulate very soon (or, in some cases, your body has already ovulated recently - OPK results can be up to 48 hours early or late according to some sources).

However, sometimes your estrogen levels peak high enough to result in eggwhite cervical fluid production or LH surge, but they don't peak quite high enough to actually trigger ovulation.  This is known as a 'false peak' and explains why women sometimes see fertile cervical fluid without actually ovulating.  The only way to know definitively whether you ovulated or not is to track your basal body temperature.

Other reasons your OPK may not show a positive result even if you did ovulate is that the LH surge can last only 8-12 hours, so it's possible you may simply miss the surge depending on when you test.  Your LH peak may also be slightly too low to be detected by the OPK.  We generally recommend relying on cervical fluid observations more than OPKs for getting pregnant, since cervical fluid tends to be more accurate.  Or use both if you want even more information about when you're fertile!

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