August 15, 2003
Blood Tests and Insulin Injections
Question from Florence, Kentucky, USA:
I am six months pregnant and have gestational diabetes. I started using an insulin pen about two weeks ago, and four days ago, I noticed that twice when I did injections there was a rather large drop of blood when I withdrew the needle. That night, I had a lot of pain and bruising, and I still have a bruise that is tender. I have had to sleep with an ice pack on my arm just to be able to sleep since I really can’t take anything for pain.
I called my nurse practitioner who told me to keep an eye on it but did not tell me what to look for. Since this has happened, I have also had a lot of pain in my wrist and noticed that the veins are a lot more prominent in that arm and hand. Any suggestions?
Any time you give an injection under the skin, there is the possibility that the needle will nick a vein and cause bleeding under the skin. This is not usually a problem as any bruise is usually absorbed by the body. The blood collection can enlarge or get infected and cause symptoms that way. Again, this is not usually a problem. The prominent veins are not likely to be related to the hematoma in the skin at the injection site.
[Editor’s comment: This sort of problem cannot be accurately diagnosed over the Internet, and we certainly cannot advise you about what to do or what to watch for. You should have a physician or other qualified health care provider examine this as soon as possible and give you advice. If your doctor or nurse are not available, go to an Emergency Room.