In this Article
Last Updated on
A possible pregnancy can evoke excitement or anxiety. Either way, one needs to be sure. Many women rely on at-home pregnancy tests which are a convenient tool to help you find out whether you’re expecting. They are easily available at pharmacies and many other medical stores. Most of these kits include sticks which are designed to detect the presence of the pregnancy hormone — hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in your urine. Even though the tests are claimed to be 97 – 99 % accurate, in rare cases you might observe a false-positive or a negative reading.
What is False Positive Pregnancy Test?
When your pregnancy test indicates a positive result, but you are NOT pregnant, it is referred to as a false-positive.
Causes of False Positive Urine Pregnancy Test Result?
Are you wondering why can a pregnancy test be false positive? Sometimes, although the kit might be doing its job fairly right, the results might be imperfect for many different reasons, such as:
1. Recent Abortion/Delivery
If you have had a recent delivery or an ended pregnancy (miscarriage or abortion) in the previous 8 weeks, your hCG levels can still be relatively high. This can cause a test to detect a positive since the hCG levels in your body drop slowly and gradually after pregnancy ends.
2. Chemical Pregnancy
A chemical pregnancy is when a fertilized egg stops developing after implantation and never becomes an embryo. Technically, though, you might have been pregnant when you took the test, this pregnancy ends in an early miscarriage. Around 25-40 % of pregnancies are estimated to end as undetected miscarriages.
3. Ectopic Pregnancy
This is a phenomenon when a fertilized egg implants itself somewhere other than the uterus. The embryo cannot grow since it there is no place for it to thrive outside of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy is one of the reasons for false positive pregnancy test. But they are medical emergencies. If you suspect an ectopic pregnancy, you must seek medical help.
4. Miscellaneous Medical Problems
Certain medical conditions such as cancers of the ovary, bladder, kidney, lung, breast and stomach; gestational trophoblastic diseases; ovarian cysts ;kidney disease or urinary tract infections; adenomyosis can cause a woman’s hCG to rise and lead to a false-positive test result.
Women who transition to menopause often have high levels of hCG. This can cause a false-positive test result in some older women.
6. Evaporation Lines
If you haven’t followed the manufacturer’s instructions properly, you might possibly get a false-positive. You’ll have to make sure you check the results within the instructed time frame. Letting the test sit longer than the specified time period can have you confuse the urine evaporation lines for a positive test line.
7. Defective Pregnancy Test
An expired, or a defective pregnancy test can yield false results. Always check for a valid test before use.
8. Taking the Test Too Early
Some highly sensitive tests can detect a positive just days after ovulation. Hence, it is recommended that you wait at least a week after a missed period. Testing too early is one of the common reasons for false positive pregnancy test.
9. Contaminated Urine Sample
If the urine sample contains any impurities like soap or blood, you might read an inaccurate result.
Medications that Can Cause a False Positive Pregnancy Test
If you are receiving fertility treatment in the form of shots of hCG or gonadotropins for ovulation, you may get a false-positive test result.
Apart from that, medications like antipsychotics, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, diuretics, Parkinson’s disease medications and drugs like methadone, chlordiazepoxide or promethazine can cause false-positive pregnancy tests.
What is Phantom hCG Test And How is it Related to False Positive Pregnancy Test?
A Phantom hCG is a positive blood pregnancy test with a woman who is not pregnant. Certain chemicals in an individual’s body interfere with the testing kit, causing it to show a false positive.
You may have a reason to check whether you’re getting a Phantom pregnancy positive test if your urine test is negative.
What is the Reason for False Positive Blood Pregnancy Test Result?
If you’ve realized that you have got your U-check pregnancy test false positive, it is advised to have a healthcare professional confirm with a blood pregnancy test. Blood tests can detect hCG at lower levels than urine tests, and therefore are more reliable as they can detect a pregnancy earlier.
But a qualitative hCG blood test can also be false positive or negative due to some reasons. Some of the reasons of how can you get a false positive pregnancy test are common for urine or blood tests.
Specifically, certain medications (as mentioned above), tumors, ovarian cancer, blood or protein in the urine and a multiple pregnancies cause the presence of high hCG levels in a woman. Besides, chemical pregnancy, menopause and fertility treatment are also some of the causes that can lead to chances of getting false positive pregnancy test.
If your at-home pregnancy test has read a positive result, it is recommended that you consult a doctor to confirm the result with a blood test. If to your delight, you find out for sure that you are pregnant, you must see your doctor regularly. It is important to take care of your health and undertake early prenatal care under their supervision towards maintaining a healthy pregnancy.