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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18 comments on “Scoping Out the Side-Butt

  1. FatCatAnna says:

    Hey Jacquie – I have a CDE friend who wears same pump / CGMS as you do – and where she keeps her CGMS is on her thigh since she values her stomach for infusion sets most of the time (don’t we all). She’s very active in cycling (she goes on yearly cycle trips to exotic place – e.g. Costa Rica last year) – and says it works fine for her. Another diabetic athlete that I met last month at a skating party for children with diabetes – Chris Jarvis – diabetic Olympian athlete supreme – has taken to wearing his CGMS … don’t go ugh at this like I did … on his calf (once he showed me his sexy leg – then I understood it better – and how he’d experimented with getting it perfected)! Yuppers, nice bit of flesh there and he says it works fine for him. You can find him on Facebook or at this website – http://www.ichallengediabetes.org/I_Challenge/Welcome.html – if you want to connect up with him and ask him questions – tell him FatCatAnna from Montreal sent ya to him!

    • Barbara says:

      OK, maybe a stupid question. I use side butt and upper thigh side all the time for infusion sets. Dexcom is pretty adamant about placing the transmitter sideways on your abdomen for some reason unknown to me. Which way do you place it on your side butt or upper butt?

  2. Lorraine says:

    Your diagram is just so darn pretty! Caleb uses the side butt for his sensors! He also uses the inner butt when the side butt and arms are healing. 🙂

  3. Fiona says:

    I am going to try the side-butt for my next sensor. Do you find one cheek works better than the other? And, no, I’m not joking, I’ve found my left backfat produces more reliable sensor readings than my right backfat! 🙂

  4. Trev says:

    I always have a huge grin when I read your posts. Great illustration.
    Cheers.

  5. Side-butt: Nicely played! I’ve yet to venture there, but have to put in a new CGM sensor anytime now so that’s where I’m going for the sensor site! No matter what those annoying FDA-company agreements recommend… Great summary, Jacquie!

  6. Nici says:

    Laughed out loud at the sketch. I use the side-butt for my pump sites. I’m also a fan of the upper-back-butt.

  7. Karen says:

    Don’t ever change, J.

    I tried side-butt for sets a couple times. Aside from almost rupturing my obliques, I also got crappy absorption. YAY D! I’m totally doing a sensor next time…I will thwart the SB!

  8. Bethany says:

    lower back fat is my favorite area to use lol! thanks for sharing.

  9. Alison says:

    I’m so glad someone has finally come up with a name for those places I struggle to describe. I like side butt for infusion sets and upper back butt/lower back fat for sensors. I find I get much better reading there than in my stomach.

  10. Kim says:

    I am a fan of the side-butt for both CGM placement and infusion sets. I’m also a fan of it, because it’s a cute body part with a cute name.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Love the illustration! 🙂

    I’ve been using the side butt (and hip and lower back fat) because I know I’ll have less real estate on my stomach as it gets bigger… The fat will kind of stretch out along with the skin and muscle. Just trying to get used to putting my infusion site elsewhere. (The CGM sensor will stay on my abdomen for as long as I can manage though, since that’s where it’s “supposed to go.”)

  12. StaceyT says:

    Long time reader first time comment-er…

    First I must admit I’m a dexcom gal myself, nonetheless, I am ALL about the thighs for CGM placement. Keeps everything totally out of the way from everything with the pump. Honestly, I’d put my pump site there if I got any absorption.

    I only have one problem with my CGM in my thigh – My 7 month old who has just noticed it and is now constantly trying to rip it out. Fun!

  13. Renata says:

    I agree…I love coming to your blog, you always crack me up. Whether it’s one liners “butt not drawn to scale” or stories of vomit or the one I absolutely shared with everyone…the yoga adventure. Holy crap I laughed about that one for days. DAYS I tell ya!

  14. Karen says:

    Oh yes, I rock the side-butt CGM all the time. It’s great, because my side-butt is a such a large chunk of real estate. 😛

  15. Jen says:

    YES! I’m rocking the side butt for the first time this week for my CGM and lovin it! Thanks for the illustration. 😉

  16. Olivejooice says:

    After reading this post, I am using side butt for my infusion set and sensor (on each sidebutt)

    Its working wonderfully so far! Didnt hurt a bit. Thanks for the tip!!

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