Numbing cream

I use metal sets, and sometimes they hurt a lot when I insert them. Today I wasted one set and ended up trying to re-insert about four times before I got a spot that didn’t hurt. One spot ended up bleeding, so I know that sometimes the pain is a sign that the specific location isn’t a good spot, but it’s frustrating when I poke around and literally every spot I try is painful. Sometimes I feel like my skin or nerves are just hyper-sensitive that day (as other days I have no problems). So I wondered if a numbing cream would help. I looked on Diabetes Express, and they have about five different creams to choose from. Does anyone here use numbing cream for pump and/or sensor insertions, and if so, which one seems best?

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Would Benzocaine work?

( This sounds like a good question for @docslotnick )

The choices Diabetes Express has are:

EMLA cream
Zensa cream

They all basically seem to do the same thing (numb the area for an infusion set or sensor to be inserted) and are all somewhat expensive, so I don’t want to just guess. If I were to just guess, I’d go with EMLA because that’s one I’ve at least heard of people recommending before. I was just wondering if anyone here had used these sorts of products (maybe especially the parents of toddlers?).

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We use EMLA cream for my son when he has bloodwork taken from his arm. Given that he can’t quite get a full sentance out he can’t give a review but I expect it does work as he dosen’t scream when the needle goes in (he does cry in anticipation but when the needle goes in he stops).


I think (unscientificly) that this is possibly related to the point at which you are in your cycle. I have heard from aestheticians that women shouldn’t get their eyebrows done certain times of the month because their skin is more sensitive.

I think someone mentioned that they use ice and lidocaine and something else when they’re going to put either a sensor or a pod onto their kid, although I can’t remember who it was. I was thinking ice might help, but I don’t know.

Good luck with the numbing!

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Do you know what point in the cycle that would be? That is really interesting! It seems like it would be a good explanation for what I’m experiencing.

All of the creams I’ve been looking at are lidocaine (and EMLA cream also has something else in it). I’ve heard of people using ice, but I don’t usually have any in my fridge. I should make some and give that a try before buying expensive creams.

Jen, We had used ice for some time for the Dexcom insertions but it seemed that quite frequently we had significant bleeding issues which occasionally were enough to cause us to pull the sensor and discard it.
Since stopping the ice we have had no bleeding of significant.
Likely that is different person to person as well as across different infusion sets or sensors but just figured something to mention.

Sorry to be AWOL yesterday, but you guys seem to have figured it out pretty well.

EMLA ( lidocaine cream) is pretty much a standard for topical numbing. The trick is to apply it and leave it on for about 30-60 minutes before doing your procedure.

Benzocaine really only works on mucous membrane surfaces, not skin. That’s the stuff we use for topical anesthesia before intraoral injections.

I can tell you from personal experience that icing the site for about two minutes will pretty much eliminate bleeders

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finally, someone who shares my pain ! i dread having to put in a new set just because of the pain. and, just like you, it can take a while of poking around just to find a spot that doesn’t bleed or kill me.

i have found that on the days that i swim, if that happens to be a set changer day, i am fine; the pool kind of freezes my skin and it is easy to do the change. once i tried using iced cubes on my tummy to numb it enough but it didn’t work very effectively.

so, that being said, when someone does come along on this thread with a solution, i want to be included in the conversation !!!

please keep me posted :smile:

Ongoing to buy the EMLA cream
and see how it goes.

please keep me posted. i am very curious and desperate for a solution. not that i am happy for your situation, but i am happy to know that i am not alone. BTW, are you on the thin side? i am thin and do not have much extra skin to pinch to put in the introducer needle. i think if i had a little more meat on my torso i wouldn’t have this problem. not certain though.

Nope, not thin at all. Which is partly why I find it so perplexing! I do use metal sets. I’m allergic to the plastic cannula (and somewhat to the metal, too), but I don’t find the plastic ones to hurt as much, especially the Insets with the insertion device.

when i started out using my pump (17 years ago ) i was on the metal cannulas; and i was on the long ones, too. it wasn’t until by complete chance that i met another D and she showed me hers and it was the plastic; i changed mine right away. now, not only am i still using the plastic, but i am using the shortest one they make ( i am very thin and have endless problems finding good sites to insert it)

today was one of the days of complete dread: changing my set. ugh. i found a new place around my love handle area (even though i do not have love handles) and it went in like a charm; so pain free, in fact, that i was double checking it to make certain that it was actually in properly :wink: all is well now and i can be worry free for the next 3 days :sunny:

PS: i have never used the insertion device. (although when i was on the sensor, i did; i hated it )

I’m pretty sure pain sensitivity is generally higher in the pre-menstrual and menstrual phases, lower in the follicular/ovulation phases. Varies by person though the extent of the effect, and I’m sure for some people it works differently. I know for me, pain increases with increased progesterone (think the week before period starts), because that screws with my joints, which already tend to be bad, and my pain tolerance in general tends to go down as that happens.

I spent some time attempting to find the answer to the menstrual cycle/skin pain thing on a website that wasn’t junk. And I kind of couldn’t find any peer-reviewed research about it – I’m so sorry. But I did find a lot of first person anecdotes from women who have serious skin sensitivity directly before their period, and even a few questions from men who noticed that their girlfriends were very touch sensitive in a bad way right before their period. Sounds like @cardamom has some good information about it! And her conclusions are close to what my guess would have been. Right before, and maybe just during the beginning.

I also think that the ice note was well covered in this thread.

And I hope that something works for you to ease the pain. You’ll have to keep us posted!

I get alot of infusion sets in blood. An unusually high blood glucose is the first sign. I was wondering if I were to ice the skin before site change if that would minimize the blood in the area?