Leaking Omnipods

Hi everyone, I apologise if I do anything wrong here, this is my first forum post on here.

So I’ve been using the omnipod for about a year and I’ve been having omnipod leaks that start and stop at random times.

Is there anyone else who has these at all? I have a couple of questions for you guys if you have if you wouldn’t mind me asking.

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Welcome @Fox, we use a Tandem pump, so I don’t have enough experience with the Omnipods to answer. Someone with more experience will be along shortly. Really glad you started posting, and yes, by all means ask your questions and share your experiences. That is how we all learn.

If you would like, you can share more info about yourself here as well.

Thanks for joining!

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Welcome!

Could you please elaborate on the specific issue you are having and what is leading to you believe there is leak occurring?

We’ve been using the pods for over 2.5 years for our son and we haven’t ever experienced a true leak. I’m interested in your scenario so that we can talk/walk through the possibilities and learn together!

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I have experienced insulin leaking out around the cannula.

This is basically caused by cannula movement in the skin which allows insulin to leak out.

In my experiences this is either caused by my bad insertion techniques, hitting the pod or putting an unusual amount of pressure on the pod - (usually on a doorway or maybe by carrying one of my kids, or doing sports), or sometimes because the batch of pods I have as poor adhesive.

Large boluses (like 10 units for me) can also cause this problem so I tend to avoid large boluses.

Leaks like this are basically eliminated for me by making sure the pod sticks to the skin very well and does not get hit.

So my technique for applying:

  1. Wash the site and because I am a man shave any stray hairs off.
  2. Clean thoroughly with alcohol swabs
  3. Wait for the alcohol to dry
  4. Apply pod to skid and make sure you get a good stick
  5. When you are ready to hit the “start button” - pinch up on the skin around where the cannula will insert with two fingers and press down on the end of the pod with the cannula.

The pressing down, makes sure all the energy from the auto-inserter goes into sticking the cannula in the skin. I find where I have tough skin that if I do not press down on the pod I get kick-back and the cannula does not insert well, which eventually turns into a leak at the site.

If you are pitching a baseball or bowling a cricket ball, my tip is to just avoid the pitching/bowling arm as the forces on he pod will cause cannula.

And one more thing, I have encountered a couple batches of pods that just did not have great adhesive. Omnipod took them back quite happily and replaced them all. This is very rare, but it is a possibility to explore if you find that all the problems start with a new pod of pods.

If you still have adhesion problems, SkinTac is another good option. I use this only when I know I will be sweating a lot when I am wearing a pod. It helps keep the pod on the skin and stops the cannula from moving.

Anyways - that was a blast of ideas based on my assumptions about your problem

Maybe you could let us know a little more about your problem.
Where is it leaking?
Does this happen right away or on day 2 or 3 of pod wear?

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Hi @fox! Welcome!

We’ve had this problem in the past, but seem to have overcome it with suggestions from other folks here at FUD. In addition to the comments above by @Aaron, there are a few threads you might enjoy reading (@Beacher and @Aaron and @Eric have had great tips in the last year).

Here are a few of my favorites (not just because I started some of them! :rofl:):

Some nuts and bolts about the OmniPod that might be of use to you:

And a few things that we love about the OmniPod (so it’s not all doom and gloom! :smile:):

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Thank you so much for your suggestions!

I’m pretty sure I also get these leaks when i apply a large bolus, but for my it can happen if i bolus anything more than around 4/5 units, it’s very sensitive. I’ve never had a leak on the first day, always the second or third. I’m 17, turning 18 next month and my skin isn’t too “tough” i think.

This is apparently called tunneling, you can google “omnipod tunneling” and visit the first link to see what I mean. It also says there that it’s more likely to happen to people who are active. To be honest, I am the complete opposite. I barely play sports or run and yet I’m still facing these leaks.

I don’t shave before I apply pods so that may have to become a thing for me. I’m very skinny so I think that may be a factor in this so I’ve started to put on a little weight but it’s quite hard for me. I’ve tried pinching but that didn’t work too well but that was probably because there isn’t much to pinch on.

The solutions I’ve heard of so far are to use an extended bolus or to use skintac. I didn’t know if skintac would help so I didn’t give it much thought but the extended bolus option sounds like it will probably work. I’m just too stubborn to wait that long before eating haha.

Thanks again!

Thank you for the threads!

I’ve actually read most of those threads while researching my problem already haha. So far the only useful advice I’ve seen is to use an extended bolus but I find that very inconvenient to use and I’m just looking for another alternative because these leaks are starting to drive me crazy.

I’ve been trying to gain weight in the hopes that giving the omnipods something to hold onto instead of my current skinny body will help but it hasn’t done much so far.

Thanks again!

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It might help to get your prescription for 2 day pod swaps instead of 3 days, and just change them more often.

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FYI OmniPod support recommeded this also, however my boyfriend wound up with a nasty staph infection on his leg - so new blade and plenty of shaving cream might be in order of shaving happens. He’s not again tried that. :frowning:

But in good news, the leaking has stopped since we followed @Aaron’s advice. :slight_smile:

Glad you’ve poked around FUD!

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Some people use a syringe or pen to give the meal bolus, and only use the pod for smaller, slower dosing like basal, corrections, extended boluses, and small boluses (less than 5u). This technique avoids sending a large amount of insulin through the pod cannula all at once, and this can help avoid leaks.

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Welcome @Fox :slight_smile:

I could be wrong about this, buy my guess is that @Aaron meant scar tissue (please correct me if I’m wrong Aaron!). In your welcome post, you said that you’d had diabetes for about 10 years. There is definitely the chance that scar tissue has accumulated over that time frame. Depends on rotation.

I have lots of scar tissue on my thighs from using a minimed pump. None of it is actually visible, but I notice a difference in effectiveness when I give shots there now whereas I didn’t have that problem before using the pump. I tried to rotate my sites, but I favored my thighs more than I should’ve.

I remember meeting another boy (maybe 10-12) at diabetic camp when I was young who refused to do shots anywhere but his belly. He had these huge hard spots on either side of his belly button. The experience definitely motivated me to move my shots around!! It was honestly a bit frightening. :grimacing:

I used to have frequent leaks until I found out about tunneling. My solution is to limit the amount of a bolus given at one time. I’ve found a max of 4U works for me, but experiment to find your own limit. E.g., if a bolus is 6U, I deliver 4 now and extend the remainder over half an hour.

When a bolus is large, or I want more than 4U up front, I simply inject with a pen and use the pod just for the decimal amount of the bolus. Injecting is also useful to bypass the nuisance of doing an extended bolus to prevent tunneling within an extended bolus for food like pizza.

Since I started doing this, I’ve had only one leak – and that was when I forgot to do this!

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Which part of Aaron’s advice did you follow? Did you follow the whole lot including not using large boluses + the 5 steps when applying + skintac or only some of those?

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Oh if Aaron was talking about scar tissue then that probably does apply to me too. I have been a diabetic for just under 10 years now, I only just moved to omnipod last august but you’re probably right about the skin bit.

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Thanks for the advice!
I’ve been applying all of the bolus straight up and I’ve found that I have to wait about 10 mins before I can eat the food I’ve applied insulin for, if I use an extended bolus will I have to also extend the 10 minutes too and end up having to wait longer before eating?

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I also read that on another diabetic forum I was lurking around, that sounds like it might work. I just think it’s a bit of a hassle having to use both omnipods and injections to keep healthy and I don’t know if I’d want to follow that to be honest. Thanks again for the help!

It is a hassle, though a minor one. It’s certainly less of a hassle than (a) leaking and then not knowing how much insulin you actually have in you, or (b) having to frequently change out your pods early because of leaking.

I don’t. With a half-hour extended bolus, once you factor in all the other variables (makeup of meal, pace of eating, activity beforehand, etc.), it pretty much works out for me, with the insulin starting to work roughly when the food is starting to raise the BG. An exception might be if I were going to eat something I knew would rapidly spike me, then the same 30-minute extended but start much earlier. Or just bolus as usual and prepare to correct later.

Oh okay. I’ll probably try to use the extended bolus then and see how that works out for me. Do you use an extended bolus on all 3 days or do you just use it on the 2nd and 3rd?

My son uses a pump and syringe in these two instances:

1 - He needs more than 10 units. His pump sites are only able to handle about 8 units at a time reliably.
2 - He is high and needs to come down fast.

Keeping one syringe and a reusable insulin pen cartridge in your meter case will allow you to do this without feeling like you are carrying a massive amount of stuff with you.

The insulin will be fine at room temp for months, and when you need it, you have that syringe with you. Works for him.

I was talking about scar tissue and places where there is not a lot of skin and fat where you are near muscle.

I tend to eat lower carb so that keeps my boluses down.

My emergency back-up for pod failure is an insulin pen that I carry with my BG meter when I am out and about.

I then fill my pods directly from the pen.

So for me it is not a big deal for big boluses because I always have a pen with me.

Ok - so I actually fill pods from a novolog insulin pen that has 1u increments in my bathroom drawer. It is a reusable pen that uses penfills. So when that pen is empty, i grab the penfill in my bg meter kit and then replace the one in the bg meter kit with a fresh penfill from the fridge.

The pen in my bg meter kit has 1/2 unit increments.

Filling the pods with the 1u pen - there are zero issues with bubbles and I dill the pod to 180u so that is really just 3 time I have to inject the pod from the pen that has a max dose of 60u.