Trouble with insulin absorption at pump site?

Hi. My name's Madeline. I'm 17 and I've had diabetes since I was nine years old. I've been on insulin pump therapy (with an Animas "ping" pump) for several years now. For about a month now, I've been having unusual trouble with insulin absorption at all of my pump sites. I used to only put my pump around my stomach area, but over the past 2 or 3 years I've branched out to my thighs, back, and hips, as well as other regions on my abdomen.

 A month ago, when my pump site was on my hip, I gave myself insulin for a meal. It didn't work, and my blood sugar skyrocketted and wouldn't come back down for hours. I gave myself a shot (after waiting to see if the insulin was taking longer to absorb for some reason) and moved my pump site and everything was fine for a few days.

The same thing happened a couple of days later... I had to change my pump site twice in one day. Usually, moving the site would fix the problem right away. This has happened about 5 or 6 times in the past few weeks, no matter where I moved my pump site. It isn't confined to a particular region; all of them work sometimes, and the same ones won't work the next time. There doesn't seem to be any reason why one day a site would work and the next it wouldn't at all. Today, after the same thing happened to me, I moved my pump site to an area that has very little scar tissue (since I thought that may be the problem). This time, even the new pump site was malfunctioning.

I don't think it's the pump itself or the insulin since moving the pump site seems to have an effect on the rate of absorption. I'm worried it may be the type of insertion sets I'm using (I have the kind that you insert at an angle) or there may be a bigger problem with my body that I'm not aware of.

I'm starting to get scared... This is really strange and I've never had something like this happen to me so many times in a row.

Has this sort of thing happened to anyone else? If it has, what did you do about it?

Edit: Just a sidenote: I'm not very skinny. I have a good amount of body fat where my pump sites go.


Thanks to anyone who has something similar to share..

Yes - This has happened to me.  These are things I ended up learning because of it:


1 - my body doesn't like when my sites are in my leg, so I don't put them there anymore. I did some research and found that I was using 30% more insulin on days where my sites were in my legs, and my blood sugar was still running high.  I will try putting them in my leg at some point, but I figure it's best to avoid it for now.

2 - i needed to change my sites.  I went from the kind you have to minimed quiksets.  I don't have a lot of body fat and the kind you're on would give me infections and cause bleeding because they would go into muscle. 


Everyone's different.  I would say to talk to your doctor about it and see what they recommend.  Good luck!

I don't know if you are thin or not, but if you are not too skinny, why not try a steeper angle? That worked for me.

I had to go off my pump because of this.  I tried different insertion sets, but none worked.  I hope that you can get things figured out and not have to go off the pump.  I am pretty bitter about it!  I actually tried the pump twice and it happened both times.  Good Luck!

[quote user="Barbara S"]

I don't know if you are thin or not, but if you are not too skinny, why not try a steeper angle? That worked for me.


I'm VERY skinny and the 90º angle sites work better for me, too.  So don't let that sway you from trying them :o)


Hello fellow pumpers,


I have had lots and lots of problems with absorption.  I have tried everykind of infusion set out there (with minimed that is).  I don't get good absorption after I change my sets.  It usually takes a few hours until it aborbs making infusion set changing days hard.  I actually have the opposite problem you all have.  I get better results with an angle infusion set than with a 90 degree set.  I am relatively skinny with little % body fat so I have to use the shoter cannulas.  I have come to the conclusion that this is really the problem.  I use two different sets that I transition between depending on the area of insertion.  I get better results with the 45 degree sets because they are longer even though the 90 degree sets supposedly go in farther. 

I say your best bet is to try longer cannulas.  If they bleed too much or are unconfortable then go to smaller ones.  It really is experimental all the time with the pump; every day.  Good luck!  Also, you are not in this alone.  I think most people on the pump have absorption issues.  It is a matter of finding what works with as little struggle as possible.

Best to all!


This happened to me once as well. I kept changing sites and they wouldn't work. The site seemed to be fine and when I took it out, nothing was bent or out of the ordinary.  I have a minimed pump and called them. It turned out that they had sent me the 6mm deep infusion sets which are for really thin people, instead of the 9mm. Once I got switched to 9mm everything went back to normal.

Good luck.


Yes I have had this problem to. It makes me not want to use my pump anymore and go back to shots.

I notice the same problem when I put my infusion set in the areas that I seem to go directly to when changing.  I have to remember to switch around.

I started pumping with my MM 522 and Quick sets. I had several dislodgements and decided to try the Sure-T sets. They were highly recommended by several friends. I have been using Sure-T's for 2 1/2 years and I am perfectly happy with them. They have a straight-in needle 6mm long. You can also get an 8mm needle. The tubing comes in 23 or 32 inch lengths. I like the way it is constructed. The needle pulling out of your body is highly unlikely. Minimed will send yoy Sure-T sets work well with the Minimed pump. There is a set made just like the Sure-T that works with the Animas pump.  I get my supplies from Liberty. All I had to do was call them and ask that I get Sure-T's instead of Quick sets. No problem.


Wow, great advice!  I have never tried those infusion sets.  Can you get them through Minimed?





A friend said he got them from Minimed. Maybe they are abailable at the Minimed Store online too. If your insurance covers them then your supplier (Liberty in my case) should be notified.

Have you ever tried a combo bolus? Spreading your bolus out can help insulin absorb better.