You asked…what’s the best place to inject insulin?

By Kurt Wood
20th November 2015
In Depth
 
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“So I’ve read online that the tummy is a popular spot to inject. However, I find that for me it’s not the most comfortable spot. It hurts my stomach and sometimes leaves little bubbles or redness on my tummy and makes it itchy.”

So, where is the best place to inject insulin?

There’s a big four of insulin injection sites: abdomen, upper arms, upper buttocks and outer thigh. These four have a layer of fat which can quickly absorb the insulin. They also have few nerve endings, which makes injecting less painful.

Of these four, insulin is absorbed most quickly into the abdomen. But many people find it uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that. It might just be that the abdomen is not the spot for you. Speak to your healthcare team. With their support, try other injection sites, and measure your blood glucose levels to get an idea of how the insulin is working.

Wherever you prefer to inject, rotation is important. Don’t inject in the same spot for too long. Working out a good routine takes a bit of trial and error. You’ll have to speak with your healthcare team to get it right. The routine that works will probably be a bit unique to you – where to inject, when you should rotate them, where you should rotate to. Some people use different sites depending on the type of insulin they’re using. It can get quite complicated. That’s why you need to consult your healthcare team. Don’t try to work it out completely on your own.

Injecting into the same site over and over again can do funny things to your skin – such as itchiness, redness, or lumpiness (which we call lipohypertrophy). It’s likely that tummy redness is caused by injecting into the same site over and over again – the tummy may absorb insulin the quickest, but it’s still important to rotate. Note that the skin problems are a side effect of the insulin injection, not the insulin itself.

So, to sum up, here’s a rough guide to injecting insulin. Start with a particular site – the abdomen is a good one, it’s true – and inject into different bits of that area. Then, once every week or two, switch to a different area, such as the upper arm, and inject into different parts of that area. Bear in mind that the effect of insulin on your blood glucose levels will change depending on where you inject. Ideally, you should inject for 10 seconds. That’s the general advice, but the specifics will change from person to person.

Learning exactly how to inject takes time. It’s impossible to say exactly what you should and how you should do it, because you will have your own routine and reactions. We’ve given you the general rules – the rest is up to you and your healthcare team. Good luck.

Original forum  thread: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/best-place-for-injection.87913/

 

 

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