My first testosterone self-injection

Last Friday, I finally got to do my first testosterone self-injection. Most guys I know are taught from day 1 to do their own shots, but my doctors were surprised by this and so I’ve been going into their office every two weeks for my shot since my first one in April.

From the start, I knew I wanted to eventually self-inject, but I didn’t feel a need to rush into it, especially since I have appreciated being able to see the doctors regularly for post-op check-ups and to discuss the effects of testosterone thus far. However, about a month ago I went in for my shot as usual and the doctor had been called out on an emergency. If he didn’t return within the hour, I would have had to re-schedule my appointment and go without my T for a few days. That prospect put me into a full sweat! After that, I was determined to take the matter into my own hands.

At my next appointment, I asked to be taught to self-inject. My doctor seemed hesitant for some unexplained reason. Instead, he suggested that I consider going off injections and getting T gel or the patch instead. I had discussed testosterone delivery methods at length with the endocrinologist and she told me that in her experience injection was the best way to go. I’ve also heard numerous stories about guys having lost significant T levels after going from injections to gel or the patch. I told my doctor about all this and he said nonchalantly, “What would be so bad about losing some of the effects? You might be one of those people for whom the gel or patch works well, and if not, you could just go back to injections. Plus, all these appointments cost money.” I thought to myself, “This is easy for you to say, you already have a beard!” I also didn’t appreciate the subtle guilt trip about the cost of doctor’s appointments. I would pay for my appointments if I could, but as a required medical service that’s illegal in BC (I’ve looked into it.) I have a right to receive medical services.

As a sidenote, I’d like to dispel the notion that medical services are free in Canada. Depending on my annual income, I typically pay $50-$100/month to British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). There were several years that I paid this monthly bill and never went to a doctor or received any other medical services.

Anyway, two appointments ago my doctor gave me Part 1 in Self-Injection Technique: Drawing Up. He was a little rushed so he gave me my shot and said we’d do Part 2: Injection at my next appointment. And so for shot #12 last Friday, I did the whole enchilada myself:

Drawing Up

  1. Lay out supplies: 3 ml syringe, needles, vial of T, alcohol swaps
  2. Clean the rubber stopper of T vial with alcohol
  3. Attach 18 gauge needle to syringe
  4. Draw plunger back to 1ml (cc) mark (syringe now contains 1ml of air)
  5. Pierce the center of the stopper of the vial with the needle of the syringe
  6. Turn the vial upside down and inject the 1 ml of air from the syringe into the vial
  7. Keeping the tip of the needle in the diluent, withdraw fluid from vial into the syringe
  8. Remove and discard 18 gauge needle

Injecting

  1. Attach 22 gauge needle
  2. Cleanse the injection site (thigh muscle) using an alcohol prep-pad
  3. Insert the needle into the injection site
  4. Aspirate slightly by attempting to withdraw the plunger of the syringe. If no blood is seen, proceed. If blood is seen, a second site must be used—withdraw!
  5. Depress the plunger slowly to administer the injection
  6. Withdraw the needle and apply pressure to the injection site
  7. Properly dispose of the syringe and needle assembly

It was easy, and the actual moment of injection is fast and doesn’t hurt at all.

We considered the bubble method of injecting but it seems unnecessarily complex.

Once I get the hang of it, I’d like to start injecting into my glutes instead of my thigh because I tend to have muscle pain in my thigh the day after an injection. The pain is not at the injection site specifically; it’s a muscle ache, like I overworked the muscle exercising or something.

Something else I might try is a smaller gauge needle for injecting, perhaps a 25 or 27. The thing with testosterone is that it’s suspended in oil and very thick so it can take a while to inject with a smaller gauge needle. However I was reading on some body building forums that some guys draw up, then leave the syringe sitting on a heating pad for 20 minutes or so, then inject with a small gauge needle. This sounds like something I might eventually try out of interest, particularly when I go up to a higher maintenance dose.

Speaking of higher doses, I’ve now completed the six shots of 100 mg and will be going up to 150 mg for my 13th shot on September 19. Yippee! I will be going into the doctor’s office for that shot but doing it myself, then will be doing all my shots at home after that.

Also, I’m going to try the Z-track method next time since I had a small bubble of T seep out of the injection site after withdrawing the needle (and was horrified at the prospect of potentially not getting my full dose!) With Z-track injection you displace the skin and subcutaneous tissue 1–1.5 inches laterally prior to injection and release immediately after the injection, sealing the medication within the muscle and allowing no exit path back into the subcutaneous tissue and skin.

More resources

There are some good videos about T self-injection on YouTube that are worth checking out if you’re considering or are in the early stages of self-injection (or just get a kick out of watching people shoot T!) Here are a couple (check out the Related Videos in the YouTube sidebar for more):

A DIY Guide to Injecting Testosterone

FTM Testosterone T Injection

These web pages are also of interest:

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