How to Safely Self-Inject Your Hormones
Congratulations on self-injecting your own hormones! These instructions will provide a step-by step guide for intramuscular injection. Be sure to see your doctor for an in person training on how to inject your hormones safely. If you don’t have a doctor, or if you are interested in primary care, or gender affirming hormone care, or just want an in person tutorial on how to inject yourself safely, please call or make an appointment with us!
Become familiar with all of your injection equipment, and the type of injection you will give yourself.
Before you inject, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I give myself a subcutaneous injection (in the fat) or intramuscular injection (in the muscle)?
- What size and length needles will I use?
- 21 or 23 gauge, 0.5 inches or 1 inch long is the most common for intramuscular injection
- 25 gauge, 3/8 to 5/8 inches long is the most common for subcutaneous injection
- What is the volume of my syringe – 1ml or 3ml syringe is most commonly used for both types of injections
- Do I have the following supplies? If not, contact us for information on how to obtain these supplies.
- Alcohol pads
- Extra needles
Needle/Syringe parts for reference:
- Wash hands with soap and water; dry thoroughly.
- Put on gloves.
- To disinfect the top of the hormone bottle, vigorously rub the top of the hormone bottle with an alcohol pad. Repeat.
- Attach syringe to the needle in the way shown by your provider. Avoid touching the area where the barrel and needle meet. Push plunger of syringe forward to ensure no air is present in the syringe.
- Insert needle into hormone bottle. Draw up hormone in the syringe. Draw up only the prescribed volume. Remove needle from hormone bottle. Push up the needle protector to shield the needle.
- If you choose to, you can change your needle here. If you do not want to change your needle, proceed to step 7. Remove the needle, and attach a new needle to the syringe in the way shown by provider. Remove bubbles by gently tapping the barrel while pointing the needle up. Slowly push plunger forward to get rid of air bubbles.
- Cleanse desired location of injection on your skin with an alcohol pad in an outward spiral fashion. Repeat with a new alcohol pad.
- FOR INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTIONS: The most common locations for muscle injections are the front of the thigh and the upper outer portion of the buttocks. Cleanse desired location of injection on your skin with an alcohol pad in an outward spiral fashion, as shown to you by your doctor. Repeat with a new alcohol pad. Remove the needle cap. Grasp 4-5 inches of the muscle between your thumb and first finger. Inject the hormone by inserting the needle at a 90 degree angle, and pushing the plunger.
FOR SUBCUTANEOUS INJECTIONS: The most common locations for injections in the fat is the stomach and the outer thigh. Cleanse desired location of injection on your skin with an alcohol pad in an outward spiral fashion, as shown to you by your doctor. Repeat with a new alcohol pad. Remove needle cap. Grasp 2-3 inches of the fat between your thumb and first finger. Inject the hormone by inserting the needle at a 45 degree angle, and pushing the plunger.
- Remove needle from skin. Push up the needle protector to cover the needle.
- Apply pressure with gauze to injection site, and gently massage.
- Apply Band-Aid if needed.
- Dispose of needles and syringes in a sharps container ONLY.
- Contact us at Harlem United if you have questions or want an in person tutorial on injection safety.
- Contact us if you need injection supplies
- Alert the doctor if you develop signs or symptoms of a skin infection which include: fevers, chills, nausea, red or painful skin at the injection site that is hot to touch, or that is draining puss (white milking fluid)
- Please remember to never share your hormone bottle or your needles/ syringes with anyone else.
- Never throw needles in a garbage can or other container.
- Always use clean needles and dispose of needles properly
Alisha Liggett, MD, is Harlem United’s Director of Pediatric and Family Care Services