OmniPod: Where to put it? Can you see it? Does it hurt?

Three of the most common questions I see from people considering OmniPod are:

  1. Where do/can you put it?
  2. Can you see it through clothes?
  3. Does insertion hurt?

So I figured I would share my experiences to these questions. For the record, I’ve been using OmniPod since December of 2011, three months after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I went from multiple daily injections to the OmniPod, so I have no experience with any other kind of insulin pump.

Where do/can you put it?

From my OmniPod start kit

According to OmniPod’s FAQs Section:

The Pod’s automated cannula insertion enables you to wear it many places. We recommend that you begin on your abdomen since it is easy to access and see what you’re doing. Once you have mastered using the Pod, however, you can wear it on your leg, upper thigh, lower back or the back of your upper arm — in fact, anywhere you would give yourself a shot. Of course, you want to avoid wearing the Pod within 2″ of your navel, and in other areas where belts, waistbands, or tight clothing may rub against, disturb or dislodge it.

For me, I made myself a rotation so that I don’t overuse a site. I start on my right side and wear it on my upper, outer thigh, then move to my stomach, then my lower back and finally on the back of my arm. Then I switch to the left side of my body.

Many podders will try alternate locations including the backs of their shoulders and their calves. I haven’t tried these spots and doubt that I will. You can also wear it on your butt (anywhere you can take an injection!) but I choose not to for two reasons: 1. My Dexcom sensors work best there, 2. It limits my clothing options in that location.

Can you see it through clothes?

The answer to that really depends on what clothing you’re choosing to wear. Short sleeves and arm pods mean the pod will be visible, same with shorts and thigh pods (most of the time). But the core of that question is more likely, can you see a pod when wearing a tight shirt or pants?

Although as an OmniPod user, I can see my pod through my clothes, pretty much everyone else won’t notice it.

For example:

There’s a pod under my sweater (and a Peel!)

Stomach pod

Also stomach (and I blinked)

Lower back pod

When I first started with the pods, a relative used to make it a game to figure out where I had mine. One time she said to me, “I give up. Where’s your pod?” It was on my stomach, and even though I could see the shape of it through my sweater, it was imperceptible to the person who was actually looking for it.

Does insertion hurt?

The answer to this is, yes sometimes. The bottom line is that the pod is shooting a reasonably large needle into you and leaving behind a small tube (cannula). In general, it’s fast and the pain subsides quickly. The click sometimes makes me say, “Ow” and then I realize it didn’t actually hurt, I’ve just been conditioned to say, “Ow” at the sound. Sometimes, placement isn’t always great and you bruise, sometimes you hit a vein with it and end up with a bloody mess (that happened once in 3 years). Pinching up for insertion makes it hurt less for me, a tip I wish someone had given me when I first started.

Once it’s in, it doesn’t usually hurt. Sometimes a bigger bolus will hurt though. Usually it’s a feeling like too much pressure on the area as the larger amount of insulin tries to infuse.

Shortly after I started using OmniPod, I wrote a post with answers to other questions I’ve been asked, you can read that here.

Don’t forget to Spare a Rose for Valentine’s Day and instead give a child in need a month of insulin. Or give a whole bouquet’s worth that will cover a year!

5 thoughts on “OmniPod: Where to put it? Can you see it? Does it hurt?

  1. I was diagnosed on August 33, and I’m really grateful for this blog, you answered a lot of my questions about the omnipod, thank you!

  2. I’ve tried shots, pens, pumps, and pod. The omnipod literally saved my life! It’s convenient and easy to use. Just remember to test 1.5 hours after inserting a new pod. Insulin dries as fast as alcohol so if you have a leak you will not know until it is too late if you don’t test. I do have a problem with the arms and thighs-it tends to create an abscess-but that could be do to extra skin.

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