Home pregnancy tests have become commonplace. A woman can find out if she is pregnant within minutes and anytime of the day or night. Some tests boast they can detect a pregnancy the first day of a missed period. But how accurate are these tests? Can you really know if you are pregnant the day you should have gotten your period? Two Types of Pregnancy Tests There are two basic types of pregnancy tests: blood tests and urine tests. Both tests determine pregnancy by detecting the presence of human chonrionic gonadotrophin (hCG), the hormone that is present in a woman only after an embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall. Once this happens, hCG levels rise quickly and continue to rise each day. Blood tests must be completed by a doctor and are typically more accurate than urine tests. Blood tests can normally detect pregnancy as early as six to eight days after ovulation. This is because blood tests can detect a very small amount of hCG. A quantitative blood test will measure th...
Alternative Names Serial beta HCG; Repeat quantitative beta HCG; Human chorionic gonadotrophin blood test - quantitative; Beta-HCG blood test - quantitative; Pregnancy test - blood - quantitative Normal Values HCG levels rise rapidly during the first trimester of pregnancy and then slightly decline. What abnormal results mean Higher-than-normal levels may indicate: Choriocarcinoma of the uterus Hydatidiform mole of the uterus Normal pregnancy More than one fetus -- for example, twins or triplets Ovarian cancer Testicular cancer (in men) Lower-than-normal levels may indicate: Fetal death Incomplete miscarriage Threatened spontaneous abortion Ectopic pregnancy
By far the most frequent question I get about menopause is "WHEN does it start?" Women between the ages of 36 and 55 ask the same thing: "I've missed X number of periods. Is it menopause?"
I can tell you that technically, menopause begins after you have missed periods for 12 months, but of course that technical answer doesn't help much because by the time you've missed 12 periods, you KNOW you're in menopause. What women really want to know is whether they are starting menopause.
Missed periods can be caused by a lot of things, the two most frequent being pregnancy and menopause. To even see those two words together strikes fear in many women's hearts. I have a good friend who started missing her periods and hoped it was because she was pregnant, but alas, it was menopause. Only your hormones know for sure.
So a 47-year-old who is asking me about two missed periods (and even in her email I can sense the panic in her question) could be facing two very differe...
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