by Ed Barillas, Staff Writer
NOTE: If you are new to steroids, the following should answer your questions about needle injections. For your information, 1cc = 1ml and the smaller the gauge, the thicker the needle. So an 18g is much thicker than a 22g. The basic length for needles used to inject steroids will be around 1.5″ or 1″. Also, keep in mind that you can mix water and oil-based steroids in the same syringe.
The most frequently asked question by novice steroid users pertains to the term – intramuscular injection (IM). IM is basically a technique to deliver a medication directly into muscle tissue for it’s eventual absorption into the systemic circulation. Both oil and water based Steroids are administered this way.
The next most common question is about the term subcutaneous (sub-q) injection, which is a technique to deliver a medication into the soft tissue (fat) precisely underlying the skin. Insulin, HCG, and HGH are normally administered this way.
- What’s does aspirate mean?
To aspirate is to withdraw fluid with a syringe. You want to aspirate the steroid from the vial. You do not want to aspirate blood from your veins so after inserting the needle, pull back on the plunger of the syringe for a few seconds to see if the needle is in a blood vessel. Less often than not, this will be the case and a bit of blood will fill the syringe. If this happens, the needle should be removed, replaced with a new one, and another injection site should be used. And if there is a little blood in your syringe, it is ok to inject it along with your steroid once you have found a different spot. Also, when aspirating, nothing should come back into the syringe if you are in the right spot. Pulling back on the plunger will create a vacuum in your syringe. The oil cannot expand to fill that space, but any air bubbles in your syringe will. You may notice the tiny bubbles getting bigger and bigger as you pull back but they will return to normal size as you release the plunger. Please note that if the air bubbles do not disappear upon releasing the plunger, you probably have an air leak most likely caused by the needle not being screwed onto the syringe tightly enough, although on very rare occasions the syringe or needle itself can be defective. Regardless, be sure to purge the air bubbles out, put a new needle on and try it again.
- Is it really necessary to aspirate?
Those who inject without aspirating are taking unnecessary chances. Sweating, dizziness, anaphylactic shock, severe coughing, nausea, breathing difficulties, coma or death can all result from not aspirating. Many times, steroid users experience dizziness and coughing fits when they inject into a blood vessel so you need to be aware of the dangers of neglecting this simple technique that should take about 3-5 seconds of your time.
- What is an abscess?
Abscesses happen when an area of tissue becomes infected and the body is able to “curtain off” the infection and keep it from spreading. White blood cells migrate through the walls of the blood vessels into the area of the infection and collect within the damaged tissue. This is when pus forms as this is an accumulation of fluid, living and dead white blood cells, dead tissue, and bacteria or other foreign invaders or materials. These can form in almost every part of the body and may be caused by bacteria, parasites, or foreign materials.
- What’s the best way to treat an abscess?
Antibiotics are often given to aid the cure of an abscess but the real cure is generally surgical. A doctor would open the abscess up and allow the pus to drain then the body would take care of the infection.
- Is it recommended to reuse the same needle?
There really is no need to re-use a needle, as this is a sure way to increase your chances of getting an infection. Needles are very easy to find and you’re better off dealing with getting them than dealing with an abscess in your arm that would require a doctor and a scalpel and lots of pain and time away from the gym.
- Is it suggested that I inject with the same needle I draw with?
Sure, but it is better to switch the needle out with a new one as the needle dulls significantly when pushed into the rubber stopper of your vial or scraped along the bottom of your amp. You may not notice the difference if you inject into your glute, but if you try to inject into an area that has more nerve endings such as a delt or bicep you will notice it immediately.
- Does it matter if I push the needle in fast or slow?
It’s better to do it nice and slowly. Many people will tell you to jab the needle in quickly but that practice usually ends after the first time they hit a nerve going in at full speed. By going in slowly, you’ll have more time to react if you hit a nerve.