Bleeding at the Injection Site
It's normal for a small amount of blood to occasionally appear when you inject insulin. This bleeding, which is usually caused when the syringe punctures a tiny blood vessel, can be stopped by putting pressure on the injection site with your finger or a cotton ball.
Also, be sure that you:
If you frequently bleed when you inject, you're probably injecting incorrectly, or you may have a medical problem. Consult your healthcare professional if you find that you're bleeding frequently.
Getting a Comfortable Injection
Most insulin injections don't hurt. However, if you frequently experience pain while injecting, try the following:
Insulin Dripping from Pen Needle after Injection, or Insulin Leakage at Injection Site
If insulin leaks from the pen or from your skin after you remove the needle from the injection site, you may not be leaving the needle under the skin long enough. It is a good practice to count slowly to 10 before withdrawing the needle. Even after counting to 10, you might still see a very small acount of leakage at times. Research has shown that there may be a very small amount of leakage after withdrawing a needle. However, the amount is minimal and does not appear to affect blood sugar control.*
You may also not be pinching up the skin correctly. Make sure that you release the pinch before you remove the needle from the skin.
Also, never carry a pen with the needle attached - this causes air to enter the cartridge, slowing the time it will take for you to get your insulin dose.
Read about insulin pen precautions >
Clogging of the Insulin Pen
If your insulin pen is clogged or it's hard to press the button or plunger down, it could be due to the following:
Skin Problems at Injection Sites
Skin irregularities can sometimes occur at injection sites due to changes in the subcutaneous fat, of which there are three types.
Fat hypertrophy (also known as "lipohypertrophy" or "insulin hypertrophy") appears as soft, often "grape-like" lumps under the skin at the injection sites. This unusual condition may be caused in some people by the natural effects of insulin (one of which is to cause fat to grow) or by reuse of needles. To prevent the further development of hypertrophy, rotate injection sites and don't reuse needles.
Fat atrophy (also known as "lipoatrophy") is a loss of fat under the skin's surface. This rare condition appears as a dip in the skin and has a firm texture. It occurs much more commonly with impure insulins.
Scarring of the fat (also known as "lipodystrophy") is caused when you inject too many times into the same site or when you reuse a needle. To prevent lipodystrophy:
Some people find that it's less painful to inject into their lumps (often referred to as "lipos") than it does to inject into healthy tissue. Even though it's tempting, you should never inject into lipos because insulin doesn't absorb well there.
Lipos are often easier to feel than to see, so check your injection sites with your fingers frequently. If any unusual growths, textures, bumps, or indentations have formed, switch to another site and let your healthcare professional know about them.
Injecting for the Visually Impaired
If you have a vision disorder, it may be a challenge to draw up a correct insulin dose.
The following suggestions can help to ensure an accurate dose.
Remembering Your Insulin Injections
It is not unusual for people who inject daily to forget whether they took one of their injections. Forgetting whether or not you took a scheduled injection can affect your glucose levels and your overall health. To help you remember, you can record your insulin injections in a blood glucose diary.
You can choose to merely note that you injected, or if you change your dose from time to time, you can record the time of your insulin injections; the dosage amount; the insulin type; and notes about your injection that might be important. You can design the diary yourself or print a BD blood glucose diary.
* Hirsch LJ, Gibney MA, Albanese J, et al. Comparative glycemic control, safety and patient ratings for a new 4 mm x 32G insulin pen needle in adults with diabetes. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010; 26 (6): 1531–1541.