If you are pregnant, very high levels of
human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can mean a multiple pregnancy (such as twins
or triplets), a
Down syndrome, or that you are further along in an
early pregnancy than estimated by your last menstrual period
In a man or a nonpregnant woman, a high hCG level can mean a
tumor (cancerous or noncancerous) that develops from a sperm or egg cell (germ
cell tumor), such as a tumor of the testicles or ovaries, is present. It may
also mean some types of cancer, such as cancer of the stomach,
pancreas, large intestine, liver, or lung.
If you are pregnant, low levels of hCG can
ectopic pregnancy, death of your baby, or that you are
not as far along in an early pregnancy as estimated by your last menstrual
If you are pregnant, levels of hCG that are
decreasing abnormally can mean a
miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) is very
What Affects the Test
Things that may affect the
results of your test include:
Doing a urine test for human chorionic
gonadotropin (hCG) very early in pregnancy (during the first week after
implantation) or on a urine sample taken in the middle of the day. The test may
not always show an early pregnancy.
Miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) or therapeutic abortion. HCG results may remain high
(positive) for up to 4 weeks after a miscarriage or
Getting an injection of hCG to treat
infertility. This may cause test results to appear high for several days after
Having blood in the urine sample or soap in the
collecting container, which may change the hCG level.
diuretics and promethazine. These
medicines can cause false low hCG levels in urine test results.
Using heparin, a medicine to prevent blood from
Using some medicines. These include hypnotics (such as Ambien),
antipsychotics, and antinausea medicines (such as prochlorperazine and
promethazine ). Be sure to tell your doctor what medicines you take.
What To Think About
Home pregnancy tests that find hCG in urine are
widely available. To learn more, see the topic
Home Pregnancy Tests.
A blood test for hCG
is generally more accurate than a urine test. If pregnancy is suspected even
after urine test results do not show a pregnancy (negative results), a blood
test can be done, or another urine test should be repeated in a
HCG results may remain high (positive) for up to 4 weeks
after a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) or therapeutic abortion.
A normal hCG value
does not rule out the possibility of a tumor in the uterus, ovaries, or
testicles. HCG is only one part of an overall evaluation when a tumor is