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Scoping Out the Side-Butt

Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered a new part of the human body — and I’ve christened it “the side-butt.”

My journey of side-butt discovery began about a year and a half ago, when I first received my Minimed CGM. I went to the training sessions, I read all the manuals, I looked online — and every official Minimed source* gave the same recommendation for sensor placement: the abdomen. At the same time, however, the Minimed website includes this nugget of wisdom:

For best glucose sensor performance, avoid:

  • Sites where clothing may rub or constrict (for example your beltline)
  • Sites where your body naturally bends a great deal
  • Sites that are scarred or have hardened tissue or stretch marks

And of course, all of the above apply to my abdomen. I used my tummy skin for my first several sensors, but I was getting wildly inaccurate CGM readings, the adhesive I use was sticking and unsticking, and I was forever trying to dress around two sensitive bumps on my midsection.

Minimed's recommendation for sensor placement.

So, I ventured out. First to the back of my arms, which offer (a little too much) skin that doesn’t bend, just enough fat, and enough discretion to keep the sensor bump hidden on most days. But six to seven days of sensor (and tape) wear tends to give me welty upper arms, so I sought an alternative — another place to include in the rotation.

Enter the side-butt. As I tried to explain to Megan via Twitter last week, the side-butt is the area on, well, the side of your butt. For sensor placement purposes, the side-butt is bordered to the north by the waistband of one’s Hanes Her Way bikini underwear, and to the south by the elastic of the leg hole. Desperate to communicate the ideal side-butt placement of a CGM sensor, I sketched a quick stick figure and Tweeted it to Megan. Here it is:

My recommendation for sensor placement. (Butt not drawn to scale.)

Even though it’s not officially endorsed by the manufacturer, I find side-butt sensor placement to be darn near perfect. Placed here, sensors are absolutely invisible under pants, impossible to catch with bra or purse straps, and since I’ve always got my pump hooked on a pocket, there’s a short distance for the magic radio waves of blood glucose information to travel. And the side-butt is far less sensitive and prone to excessive bleeding than the abdomen, in my experience. That’s what living with diabetes is all about, right? Using the tools we’re given in the ways that work best for each of us.

I try not to worry about what new body parts I’ll have to discover when my back-arms and side-butts start to wear out. Maybe the lower backfat or rear thigh. God help me if I have to move to the middle forehead.

*Of course, Minimed recommends the abdomen because that’s where patients placed the sensors during clinical tests. Those poor guinea pig patients must have had to wear sweatpants for months.

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