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Tips on reducing injection discomfort

For most women undergoing fertility treatments, medication injections are a necessary evil. While you may be grateful that fertility-boosting injections exist, you may not love the idea of you or your partner inserting a needle into your skin on daily basis for weeks or even months.

The good news? There are a few things you can do before, during and after an injection to help reduce discomfort.

Read our top 10 tips:

1. Use a mirror for easier viewing.

If you plan to self-inject your fertility medications, it’s helpful to use a mirror, preferably a full-length one, to see the area you’re injecting and to guide the needle more accurately. This is especially important for injections into the muscle.

2. Make sure medication is at room temp.

Cold medication is uncomfortable to inject. So if your medication is stored in the refrigerator or any other cool place, be sure to allow between 30 minutes to one hour for it to warm to room temperature. You can also place the syringe (without the needle inserted), inside your bra or under your arm to warm it up even more. Never use a microwave or stove to warm up your medication.

3. Numb the area before injection.

You may find it helps to numb the injection area by applying ice or a frozen bag of veggies for about 15 minutes and/or applying lidocaine numbing cream to your skin about 30 minutes beforehand. Just be sure to sterilize the area before you inject the medication.

4. Let the alcohol dry.

Using alcohol to disinfect your skin before an injection is an important step in preventing infections caused by bacteria. After you apply the alcohol, allow it to dry to reduce the chance of stinging when you insert the needle into the skin.

5. Follow the instructions.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to carefully follow the medication and injection instructions provided by your fertility pharmacist or doctor. You may also find it helpful to refer to our full library of how-to injection videos

6. Use a heating pad afterwards.

Immediately following an injection, you may find it comforting to apply a warm heating pad to the area for up to 20 minutes. Avoid placing the heating pad directly on your skin; instead, place the heating pad on top of a thin cloth that covers your skin.

7. Choose the spot with a little extra.

Fertility injections given under the skin are usually done in the lower abdomen, upper thigh or sometimes the back of the upper arm. You might find it more comfortable to select the spot that has a little extra fat. Just be sure to always follow your fertility pharmacist or doctor’s instructions to ensure you’re injecting into the correct area.

8. Alternate injection sites.

If you’re injecting medication into your skin or muscle on a daily basis, alternate the site each day. Use a small notebook to keep track and write down which location or side you inject.

9. Don’t inject into any area that looks or feels unusual.

Avoid injecting your medication into any area that’s tender, red, bruised or hard. If you have any concerns, call your fertility pharmacist to discuss your options.

10. Add a little flair.

Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time, going through a fertility treatment can be understandably stressful. So come up with a few ideas to make the experience a little easier:  Play your favorite tunes, light a scented candle or even use fun, colorful adhesive bandages.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about your medical condition, and prior to starting any new treatment. CVS Health® and/or its affiliates assumes no liability whatsoever for the information provided or for any diagnosis or treatment made as a result, nor is it responsible for the reliability of the content.

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