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A pregnancy test functions in a simple way- one line means no, two means yes. But sometimes you can find faint lines on the test making it hard to figure out the exact result. Faint lines on a pregnancy test are not uncommon, and the reason can be as simple as doing the test too early. However, to further delve into the reasons behind the faint lines, it is always good to understand the principles on which a pregnancy test works.
What Causes Faint Lines on the Pregnancy Test
Most pregnancy tests available in the market are very accurate, and some of them can give an indication on the very first day of a missed period itself. The common pregnancy tests analyze the urine of the subject, looking for the presence of the hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This is a hormone that is released when a fertilised egg attaches to the signalling the beginning of a pregnancy. Other than the urine test, the blood test is also another common and reliable method to determine pregnancy.
Also, determine how “faint” is faint. Compare it to the first line, and if there is a drastic difference, then you have a faint indicator line.
Before you jump to conclusions after seeing the faint lines, make sure you remember a few things about pregnancy tests. There are many reasons why a faint line can appear.
- Misreading the instructions: It is natural to miss an instruction or two, especially when you are using the test for the first time. Faint lines can be the result of you not having used the test properly. In such instances, repeating the test is enough.
- Hastiness: Maybe you were in a hurry and did not wait for the prescribed period of time before you threw the test into the bin after seeing faint lines.
- Reading at incorrect time slots: If you are not reading the results within the time slots suggested, the test may show evaporation lines, which appear faintly. Evaporation lines are caused by the urine, and if you are late in reading the tests, these lines may appear.
- Taking the test too early: If you have taken the test too early, the lines may appear faintly. It is advised to wait for a few days and take the test again to confirm. Testing is ideally done 10 days after ovulation or after it has been confirmed that you missed a period.
- Faulty kit: Sometimes the test you are using may not have been stored properly or may have a manufacturing defect, so you may not get a clear reading. Check the expiry date of the test as if it is past that, its efficacy has decreased.
- You may have taken the test at the wrong time of the day: It is advised that urine pregnancy tests should be taken in the morning when the urine is concentrated, and any presence of hCG will typically be high.
- Low hCG levels: A faint line could also mean that your body is creating less than the optimum amounts of the hCG hormones.
- Inaccurate calculations: Faint lines could be the result of using a test after miscalculating the period cycle.
- Lower efficient test kits: Some pregnancy tests are more accurate than the others. There are tests that can detect an hCG amount as small as 20 mIU, while some tests will need to detect at least 100 mIU to show a result. Hence, you may get faint lines because of these different levels of sensitivity to the hormone. Before you buy a pregnancy test kit for the next round of tests, do some research on online forums and pick up the brands which are known for being sensitive. If the next lines are darker, your pregnancy is positive. If they are still faint, you may need to see your doctor.
- Early miscarriage: Faint lines could also appear after an early miscarriage when traces of the hormone are still in your system.
- Medication: Medication like Thorazine and a range of fertility drugs may result in faint lines. The faint lines on the test can appear for those who are undergoing fertility treatments. It is advised that you reach out to your doctor in such a case.
- Presence of a tumour: In very rare cases, some tumours result in the production of hCG, which will be detected in the test and result in the faint lines.
Does a Faint Line on Pregnancy Test Indicate Pregnancy?
A faint line may indicate pregnancy, but it can also point to an early miscarriage as the test picks up only traces of the hCG hormone. The only way for you to determine what is happening is to repeat the test every day. If the lines get darker, then the onset of pregnancy starts to resemble a typical development. If the lines stay faint, then you need to consult a physician immediately.
Does a Light Line on Pregnancy Test Indicate a False Positive?
A faint line may also be the result of something else such as medication or evaporation lines. If you are taking multiple tests over time and the faint lines only appear a few times, it was most likely a false positive. An extremely faint line is not an affirmation of pregnancy, but it should be investigated. The best way is to wait a couple days and take the test again.
The faint line on pregnancy test not getting darker could be an indicator that there is a hormonal imbalance. This is an indicator of a chemical pregnancy, which is used to describe an early miscarriage.
The most important part of dealing with situations where you are uncertain about the test result is to inform yourself from the right sources. Websites and articles help in narrowing down to possibilities but cannot be substituted for professional feedback. Take your time with multiple tests and of course, consult your gynaecologist. Nothing can replace professional feedback.