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Whether you are really hoping to be pregnant, really hoping not to be pregnant, or simply noticing symptoms you are sure point to pregnancy, getting a negative pregnancy test when you had a pretty strong hunch that you were expecting a baby can be a strange experience. That strange experience is only amplified if your pregnancy symptoms don't go away shortly after your negative pregnancy test. 

What can cause a negative pregnancy test with persistent pregnancy symptoms?

You Took The Test Too Early

Modern home pregnancy tests are extremely sensitive and very accurate. Some even claim to be able to deliver an accurate result in the days preceding your missed period! If you simply can't wait to find out whether you are pregnant or not, taking a test a little early can be rather tempting.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin,, hCG, the hormone which pregnancy tests detect, arise from the forming placenta. During the early days of pregnancy, your hCG levels will rise rapidly, even doubting every few days. Because you may not be exactly sure when you ovulated, it can be hard to know when you can get an accurate test result — that is, when, if you are indeed pregnant, your hCG levels will be high enough to detect. 

If you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms but had a negative test result, one possibility is that you simply tested too early. Repeat the test in a few days. 

You Have 'Baby Brain'

Women who are really eager to conceive sometimes interpret unrelated symptoms, even symptoms that they experience on a monthly basis, as being pregnancy symptoms because they are really hoping they hit the baby jackpot this month. Tender breasts, cramps, acne, mood swings and constipation are all good examples of events that many women frequently experience but that could also be pregnancy symptoms. 

Women on the other end of the spectrum, those who are worried that they are pregnant but really hoping not to be, may experience mood swings, pay more attention to the normal symptoms of their monthly cycle that can also point to pregnancy, and even experience delayed menstruation because of stress. 

Other Medical Conditions

Ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, and untreated sexually transmitted diseases that have gone on to cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can all mimic pregnancy symptoms. Though ectopic pregnancies also lead to the production of hCG and thus normally show up on pregnancy tests, there are circumstances under which this doesn't happen. Therefore, an ectopic pregnancy can't be ruled out either, until an ultrasound scan is performed. In the case of nausea, you may be getting ill, and in the case of urinary urgency, you may have a urinary tract infection.

Then, there is pseudocyesis, the fascinating phenomenon of false pregnancy. In pseudocyesis, a woman experiences the full wack of pregnancy symptoms, including, believe it or not, abdominal growth! In very rare events, pseudocyesis can even strike men. 

I mention these conditions because they, too, are possible explanations for persistent pregnancy symptoms in the absence of a pregnancy. Anyone who believed they were pregnant, took multiple pregnancy tests that had negative results, and women who missed a period even though their pregnancy tests were negative, should seek medical attention to rule these conditions out. However, in most cases, life will return to normal and your pregnancy symptoms will subside. 

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