Because Kami asked, and because these are things I wish I knew BEFORE doing my first PIO shots, here is a list of things I found helpful.

According to me (and I’m no authority on PIO), PIO shots are just like real estate: location, location, location! From my experience, nothing plays more of a factor in whether your shot will hurt like the worst pulled muscle of your life or not than location. After the debacle that was my very first PIO shot, I decided to ask some experienced women for advice on what I was doing wrong, and here’s the info they gave me.

“The point of reference I always use for my hubby to shoot me up is basically behind the hip bone. That is the place where the diagram shows in my pictures from my RE. So I always put my hand on my hipbone and then he matches the area on my behind.”

“Two ways that help me visualize where the area is (which is more on the back of the hip than the butt, even though we call them “butt shots”) are: 1) Draw a vertical line up from the center of your butt cheek and draw a horizontal line across from the top of your crack. Take where they intersect and then move UP about two inches. Or 2) Have your DH line up the outside (pinky) of his hand with your hip bone (where you rest your hands when you put your hands on your hips), with his thumb extended (so his hand makes an “L”). The area that’s framed by the the “L” is where you give the injection. I can find the area that way using my own hand (I give myself the injections), but it’s harder to explain b/c I twist my hand all around.”

I personally use the “L” strategy and that seems to work the best for me. I line up the pinky of my right hand on my left hip bone with my thumb extended out towards my crack. That gives me the right spot to inject horizontally. Then I use the two inches above the crack rule to figure out where to line it up vertically. As I’m sitting here though, feeling that pokey part of my hip bone that juts out in the front of your body is almost EXACTLY where I do the shot, only on my backside, so the advice from the first woman seems spot on too.

The thing about finding the right spot that was really challenging to me was to realize that the shot is not a butt shot at all. I think I thought that since women always talk about their “butt shots” and how their butts are so sore that the shot needed to be much lower than it really should be. Plus I felt like the higher up I went, the less “padding” there would be and it would hurt more. I couldn’t be more wrong. I’m sure there’s an upper limit to where the shot can be done, but I certainly haven’t hit it yet, and to me it is definitely more of a hip shot than a butt shot.

So once you’ve got the location mastered, here are some other tips that I’ve stolen from other people to make things go smoothly.

  • Opposite of a lupron or stim shot, you want to flatten or stretch out the area as much as you can before doing the shot. The more taut, the better. This makes it easier for the needle to go in.
  • Same as a lupron or stim shot, the faster you get that needle in, the better. Though the needle is long and scary, it really DOES NOT HURT GOING IN, but get it in there quickly.
  • Warm your PIO before you inject it. There is one of two ways to do this. After drawing up your PIO, let it heat up inside of a heating pad or warm washcloth for a bit. The other way to do this, and I’m not sure if this is technically recommended (you should probably check with your nurse first to make sure this doesn’t deteriorate the chemical makeup of the PIO or anything) is to run warm water over the vial. I set mine in the stopper of the sink and let warm water run over it while I get my needles set up. By the time I’m done setting everything up, the oil is warm and ready to go. The theory behind warming the PIO is that warmer oil is thinner and therefore easier to inject and disperses easier inside you. However, please BE CAREFUL! Do NOT let your oil get hot or you can burn yourself. I’ve never done this, though I’m guessing it hurts like crazy.
  • Injecting into a tense muscle can cause more pain. To make sure that your muscle isn’t tense, make sure that you wiggle the toes on the foot of the side you are injecting into. This can be done while lying on the bed, leaning over a counter top, or if you’re self-injecting like I do, balancing on your other foot (it’s not difficult, I promise).
  • And finally, don’t forget to change your needle after you draw up the PIO!!! You do not want to inject with that huge needle they give you to pull up the PIO with! Never done this one either, but I can’t imagine it would be fun.

    Does anyone else have any fun PIO tips they’d like to share?

    Edited to add that Stephanie’s comment on yesterday’s post includes a GREAT description of where to give the shot, and a picture to boot!! Be sure to check it out and while you’re at it, head over to her blog and wish her some luck today with her beta!