Have you ever given yourself an injection?
Until recently, I was squeamish when it came to needles. Perhaps necessity is the mother of injection! I now give myself B12 shots weekly — and I would never have guessed how easy and pain-free they are.
Why would anyone need Vitamin B12, or want to give themselves B12 shots? Read this article. You'll need to see a doctor to assess your need and to get a prescription for your pharmacy. For me, heading into the cooler months of fall and winter, I benefit from the increased energy levels that B12 provides!
I have also been freed from mild dizzy spells, tingling in my extremities, brain fog, and the minor hair loss associated with an under-functioning thyroid. I am also hoping, long-term, to see improvement in the areas of digestion, insomnia, and SIBO.
A Few Notes On Giving Yourself Vitamin B12 Shots
Once your doctor prescribes B12, I recommend asking for insulin-size needles. This small needle size makes the process less painful, or even pain-free. It may take a bit of leg work, but be your own best advocate!
Once the pharmacy fills your prescription, you'll know more about how your particular pharmacy handles dosage and application.
For example, some B12 comes in powder form — you'll need to add water before injecting.
Some pharmacies fill the syringe for you, so all you'll need to do is inject it.
A few B12 bottles or vials (such as my own) come pre-measured as 1 dose per bottle.
Other pharmacies provide one larger bottle of B12 and tell you how much B12 you'll need per injection. You'll then have to fill your syringe with the appropriate milligrams.
The stomach has fewer blood vessels and nerve endings, making it the perfect location for injection — less painful, easy to reach, and less likely to poke a blood vessel. It also has a layer of muscle close to the surface which promotes absorption of B12.
How To Give Yourself Vitamin B12 Shots
You will need:
- B12 liquid
- sterile syringe
- sterile alcohol prep pads (or rubbing alcohol and clean swab/cotton balls)
- sharps container for disposing of the syringe
Use a sterile pad to clean the area of your belly where you plan to do the injection. (Choose the fattier or rounder part of your belly about 2 inches over from your belly button, and down about 1 inch — see video below.)
Using a separate sterile pad or swab, remove the outer cap from your B12 bottle, and also sterilize the bottle's rubber stopper. Remove the needle cap (lid) from your sterile syringe. Pull the plunger all the way back, pulling air into the syringe until its barrel is full.
Tip the B12 bottle upside down, and insert the needle into the very center of the bottle, through the rubber stopper. Press the syringe plunger in, inserting all of the air into the B12 bottle. Pull back on the syringe plunger, allowing the B12 liquid to fill the syringe barrel. Push any air back into the bottle by briefly compressing the plunger.
Remove needle from bottle. Push on syringe plunger to release 2 to 3 drops of B12, ensuring that there is no more air in the barrel.
Use your dominant hand to hold the syringe. With other hand, pinch your flesh between thumb and middle finger, creating a bulge of muscle and tissue into which to inject. Use a “hard and fast” approach when pushing the needle (bevel and shaft) into the skin, going in at a 90 degree angle (see video below).
Once the needle shaft is in your belly, pull it back slightly to see if there is any blood at the point of insertion. If there is, this indicates that you’ve hit a blood vessel — very unlikely when injecting into the stomach — but this step is a recommended precaution. (You’ll need to re-inject at a different point if you hit a blood vessel.)
Assuming no blood vessel has been hit, begin to slowly compress the plunger top, injecting the B12. When the syringe barrel is empty, remove the shaft, and safely restore its lid.
Do not rub the point of insertion, as this can cause bruising. You may gently wipe the area, if desired, with a sterile alcohol pad. Finally, properly dispose of your needle (you can request a syringe disposal box from your pharmacist).
Watch the video below to see my very first B12 injection! I thought it would be fun and helpful to walk you through what it’s like the first time, answering questions like “What's it like to give yourself an injection? Does it hurt?” Here’s my honest experience!
Have you given yourself Vitamin B12 injections? Any tips for fellow readers? Are you considering giving yourself B12 injections?
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