Methods of monitoring menstrual function in field studies: efficacy of methods

Reprod Toxicol. 1992;6(5):385-400. doi: 10.1016/0890-6238(92)90002-b.


Efficacy of methods for monitoring female reproductive potential under field study conditions was evaluated. Women (n = 10) were recruited to participate for two menstrual cycles on the bases, in part, of not seeking fertility assistance, working full-time but not in the medical field, and having less than one year of college education. Luteinizing hormone (LH), estrone-3-glucuronide, and pregnanediol-3-glucuronide were measured in daily morning urine and normalized to creatinine concentrations. These urinary measures were parallel to serum LH, estradiol, and progesterone profiles. Based on these urinary measures, 6 of 19 cycles were judged to be atypical. Transvaginal ultrasonography provided insights into ovarian activity during the atypical cycles. Of 13 LH surges detected by radioimmunoassay, 7 were not detected by a semiquantitative dipstick (OvuSTICK), perhaps due to that method's sensitivity to loss of LH immunoactivity caused by sample freezing. While intervals from salivary and vaginal mucous electrical resistance signals to the LH surge during typical cycles were similar to those reported previously, they were not predictive of ovulatory status during atypical cycles. Fifty-three percent of the cycles were misclassified on the basis of the basal body temperature rise. Cervical mucous color, amount, and consistency were not predictive of ovulation under these study conditions. The results from these 19 menstrual cycles provide information about the efficacy of various methods for characterizing menstrual function under field study conditions. In this regard, urinary endocrine measures are the most informative or practical.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estradiol / urine
  • Estrone / analogs & derivatives
  • Estrone / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / urine
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology
  • Menstruation / physiology*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Ovulation Detection / methods
  • Pregnanediol / analogs & derivatives
  • Pregnanediol / urine
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Progesterone / urine
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Saliva / chemistry


  • pregnanediol-3 alpha-glucuronide
  • estrone-3-glucuronide
  • Estrone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Pregnanediol