What Could Cause a False Positive on a Pregnancy Test?

by Anthony Carter on April 15, 2011


pregnancy testA pregnancy test is never 100% accurate. This is why it is important to not rely on this totally for deciding if you are pregnant. There are a number of things which could cause a false positive reading. If you just take the results of a pregnancy test at face value it could lead to disappointment later on or a lot of worry now. It is true to say though, that a false positive is fairly rare and most of the time when a pregnancy test indicates that you are pregnant it means that you are.

How Does a Home Pregnancy Test Work?

In order to understand what can cause a false positive on a pregnancy test it will probably be useful to understand a bit about how the home test works. Most of these work by measuring the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in urine; this is why it may also be referred to as the HCG test. This hormone is produced as the placenta grows and so it will appear in higher amounts when body fluid is tested. This hormone won’t increase right away after conception and this is why you need to wait until after you’ve missed your period before taking the test.

So What Could Cause a False Positive on a Pregnancy Test?

There are a number of possible reasons why you might get a false positive on a pregnancy test including:

  • If you are getting medical assistance to get pregnant then this could lead to a false positive on the test. This is due to the fact that a common treatment for infertility is HCG injections. The fact that the home pregnancy test uses high levels of HCG as an indicator for a positive will lead to a false reading in this situation.
  • If you don’t get the urine cleanly onto the test paper then you could easily cause a false reading. There are different soaps and creams that have been shown to interfere with the test.
  • In rare cases a tumor can be the cause of the false positive reading. Some tumors can cause the symptoms of pregnancy including high HCG results. The good news is that be discovering them due to the test they can usually be removed without any further problems.
  • There are a number of different medications that have been shown to lead to false positive readings on the HCG test. If you are on any medication you will want to make sure that it isn’t going to interfere with the test. Examples of the type of medicines that can interfere with the home pregnancy test includes; anti-epileptic medication, tranquilizers, and medications used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Confirming a Pregnancy

Although a false positive is fairly uncommon you will still want your pregnancy confirmed by a doctor. This can be an anxious time as you wait for conformation, but it is always recommended that you get things confirmed officially as soon as you can.

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