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Testosterone shots?

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by matt4907, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. matt4907

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    *trigger warning for really detailed info about injections*

    So I've been on T for almost 9 months and I'm still not totally sure if I'm doing my shot correctly? I asked my doctor about it at both my 3 month and 6 month check-in but she wasn't very helpful, she just said that if I'm experiencing changes then I must be doing it correctly. I am getting all the changes from T (not to the extent that I want but I know these things take time) but my shot can sometimes be very painful.

    When I first started T, I got some papers & diagrams on how to do the shot but the top of the papers said it was for a subcutaneous injection but the actual vial of T says very clearly "for intramuscular use only". I've been doing my shots subcutaneously because that's what my doctor showed me to do.

    The way I do my shot currently is I pinch the fat on my thigh (which is getting increasingly more difficult because with T I've been losing fat and gaining muscle) and I inject at a 90 degree angle. After I push the plunger down and all the T is injected, I let go of the skin and then pull the needle out. Every stage of this process is painful - it hurts when I initially inject into my thigh (which is kind of to be expected but it didn't use to hurt this much) and then when I take the needle out, it stings really bad for a few seconds. Other than that initial pain for a few seconds it doesn't hurt at all and there's no soreness.

    I'm unsure if I've been hitting the muscle or still just injecting into the fat, is there a way to tell? Should I be doing it one way over the other? If I am doing my shot correctly, is there a way to reduce the pain? I really appreciate any advice you can give!
     
    #1 matt4907, Jul 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  2. denouement

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    If you're having issues or pain with your shot, go to your doctor and ask for their help. You could even call and see if you can come in for your next shot and have them show you how to do it. That said:

    All of my testosterone vials say "for intramuscular use" as well... because that is the traditional/standard way to take testosterone. I've never heard of a vial that says "for subcutaneous use", and I talk to a number of other trans guys IRL and on other online communities. They all say "intramuscular". If your doctor prescribes subcutaneous injections, you'll typically use the exact same vial as someone who was prescribed intramuscular. When I switched to subq I was halfway through the vial I had been prescribed for IM, and just kept using it.


    There are tons of videos and webpages out there showing how other trans guys do their shots; if you look into it you can see there's a wide variety of methods. When I did IM I used a needle almost twice the length of the one I use for subq; as it goes into the thigh there is a point where you can feel a slight resistance as it goes into the muscle. Even if you are going past the fat into the muscle, all you're doing is an IM injection instead of subq. I decided to switch to subq because I don't like needles and have an easier time dealing with the smaller needle. I stayed on the same dose for both methods and my doctor said there shouldn't be a siginificant difference in how the T is absorbed or anything. The main difference is the way I inject and the length of the needle. For IM, I was told to inject at a 90 degree angle into the thigh or butt area. For subq, I was told I could use my thigh, stomach, or butt, since there's typically a good amount of fat in those areas so it's easy to find a place to inject. For both methods I was told I could either pinch the skin, like you are, or use "z track" method of pulling the skin taut before injecting. For IM I was also told to keep my thigh very relaxed... you don't want to tense the muscle while there's a needle in it, because it hurts. Whereas for subq, you can't tense fat so it doesn't matter.

    For pain, I sometimes ice the area for a few minutes prior to injecting; if it's numb you can't feel the initial poke. If I feel any further pain after the inital poke, it's sometimes just because I picked a bad spot, so I would just pull out, change needles, and try a different spot.
     
  3. RogerM

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    Testosterone should be injected intramuscular.
     
  4. AshDee

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    Do you pull back on the plunger once it's in your leg? I was told to pull back the tiniest bit to make sure I didn't hit a blood vessel, as that would be extremely painful.
    Also, you push all the air out of the syringe before you inject it in your leg, yes? Because having a little bit of air in there is fine, but it will hurt like hell.
    Make sure you're disinfecting the shot site properly and perhaps try to alternate which leg you do the shot on each dose? Like go right, left, right, left, right, left, right...
    Sorry I can't help more.
     
  5. DecentOne

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    Hey, if your Dr. says subcutaneous, then go ahead. It does not matter, it is in your body whether under the skin or in a muscle. With subcutaneous, as mentioned above that could mean smaller needles, and I understand it is more often recommended if you do frequent injections (multiple times per week). Check with your Dr. about what other injection sites to use, if that would be helpful to you.

    (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, that is why I say listen/discuss with your doctor. I read a lot online and have opinions. Those opinions are free, and sometimes worth as much as was paid for them).