Common Reasons for a Missed Period and Negative Pregnancy Test Result
Negative Pregnancy Test but Still No Period?
Feeling sure that you're pregnant, but have ended up with one or more negative pregnancy test results and still your period hasn't arrived? You're not alone -- getting a negative test with a missed period is more common than you might think.
While home pregnancy tests have improved over the years, (and they are an extremely accurate predictor of pregnancy) there have still been many instances of a test giving a false positive or a false negative result. A woman may get a positive result on her pregnancy test, only to find out later that it's really a negative, after a trip to the doctor. There are those who keep getting a negative test but still have no period.
So, why does this happen? Here we will look at the six most common reasons for a negative test result.
Home pregnancy testing is one of the fastest, most convenient ways a woman can tell if she is pregnant or not. These tests work by testing a small sample of urine for hCG -- human chorionic gonadotrophin. hCG is the pregnancy hormone, and is produced by the developing embryo and later, by part of the placenta. Measuring the hCG via home pregnancy tests is qualitative, which explains why the results are a plain ‘yes’/‘no’ or ‘negative’/‘positive’.
1. Taking a Pregnancy Test Too Early
If you are pretty sure you are pregnant because you've been experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms but have a negative test result, one of the most common reasons is that you have taken the pregnancy test too early. Many people think they can test for pregnancy right away but, like all other things, it takes time. hCG can be detected in the urine only at a minimum of 2 weeks after conception occurs.
So, to get a reliable test result, you'll need to wait until at least the day your period is due to take it. If you can wait a week or two after your period is missed, all the better. By this time, your body will be creating plenty of hCG and your home pregnancy test will be far more accurate.
2. Not Following the Pregnancy Test Instructions
Read the instructions on your home pregnancy test’s package carefully so that you can administer the test properly -- the test is only as good as your ability to follow the instructions! Since the tests are qualitative, this makes them sensitive to the process of testing. Most home pregnancy tests ask you to hold a test trip in urine and pee on it while on the toilet. Some make you dip the test strip in a clean cup where you have collected the urine (my preferred method for an accurate pregnancy test result).
It’s always good advice to get the first urine in the morning -- most pregnancy test kits will already instruct you to do that. The first pee of the day is the best urine to use to ensure accuracy, because it's so much more concentrated from having collected in the bladder overnight. Then, depending on the brand, the result will be in the form of a coloured line, a plus or minus sign, etc.
Results may also be affected by medications you are taking. They can mask the presence of hCG or affect their sensitivity. If in doubt, consult your pharmacist or doctor.
3. Irregular Periods and Late Ovulation
If you have irregular periods, then having a negative test but no period might mean that your ovulation was simply late this month. This will ultimately delay the implantation date, which might have caused you to miscount the number of days when you can finally take the test. This is why it's advisable to test a week or two after the day you were expecting your period. If you conceived late in the month, your hCG levels could very well be lower than any pregnancy test can detect, therefore resulting in a false negative.
A negative test and no period could just mean that your period is late. Women with irregular periods have a longer window for ovulation and thus are particularly prone to miscounting and even having skipped periods. If you keep getting a negative test but still have no period, then you should consult with your doctor. Major changes in your cycle can be symptoms of other conditions, including but not limited to pregnancy.
4. HCG Levels Aren't the Same for Everyone
A slow rate of hCG production is another good explanation for a negative test and no period. Not everybody is built the same -- levels of hCG produced vary from woman to woman. If you tested too early or your body is not making enough hCG for the test to pick up, then you'll get a false negative.
As previously stated, home pregnancy tests are usually very accurate. However, there are of course times when they are less so, and this is one instance where that could happen. While these tests have become better over the years, it’s always best to get your test result confirmed. The confirmatory tests are usually diagnostic procedures done by your doctor. This may involve a verification of the gestational sac and fetal parts using ultrasound, the detection of a fetal heartbeat and the detection of fetal movements by a trained examiner.
5. You are Not Pregnant
Unfortunately, not being pregnant is one of the most common reasons. You may have simply just skipped a period, which happens from time to time. Or your cycle may have become longer. This is of course disappointing for those trying to get pregnant. But, try not to get too disheartened -- there is always next month. :)
6. Other Medical Conditions
There are several other medical conditions that can result in a negative pregnancy test and no period, which is why it's always wise to see your doctor if this occurs. One of the most common medical conditions that causes this is an ectopic pregnancy which is very dangerous and must be diagnosed early to prevent life threatening consequences for the woman.
Other conditions which may cause your periods to stop unexpectedly are ovarian cysts, hyperthyroidism, polycystic ovarian disease, menopause, anorexia, obesity and adrenal cancer.
Remember, don’t just rely on home pregnancy testing because stressing over a negative test with no period isn’t worth it, especially when there is the possibility of having another life to take care of. Read up on what a woman experiences during early pregnancy -- the symptoms you can expect to experience, and listen to your body as well. If you firmly suspect that you are pregnant or your period still hasn't arrived after a few weeks, set an appointment with your doctor without delay to find out for sure.