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What a Pain in the Ass!: 6 Tips for Surviving PIO (Progesterone-in-Oil) Shots


Ah progesterone in oil, or "PIO" as many lovingly call it. There are so many evil injections involved in fertility treatment, yet PIO maintains a special place for many women and couples. Perhaps it's the extra long needle, perhaps it's the thick, viscous oil which is hard to draw up into a syringe, and often excruciatingly slow to inject. Perhaps it's the location this shot is given, which proper medical information usually calls "the upper outer quadrant of the hip, but which anyone who has taken or given one knows is really just: the upper butt.


As the IVF Dad of course, I've never had to endure receiving a PIO shot (thank goodness--have I mentioned that my wife is an amazing saint for going through all this?), but I've administered many over the years. Through trial and error, talking to other folks in the infertility community, and perusing podcasts and blogs, we've devised a few simple tips and tricks that help make this not-so-fun shots, well...at least somewhat more bearable. So here they are--6 Tips for Surviving PIO!

  • Tip 1 💉 Ask your clinic if using a shorter needle is an option! Now this tip won't necessary work for everyone--and it's important to follow your doctor's instructions exactly. But a real gamechanger for us was asking about using a shorter needle. The clinic OK'ed using a needle that was a half-inch shorter--a big difference when getting a shot in your butt!

  • Tip 2 💉 Warm the PIO before injecting. After filling the syringe, run the PIO under warm water, hold it in the warmth of your palm, etc. This can thin the oil slightly and make the injection a bit quicker.

  • Tip 3 💉 Try laying down, or different positions for administering the shot. The first time we did a PIO shot, Olivia was standing up, braced against the sink. The angle for PIO was just not ideal, and it seemed to really make the injection and soreness worse. Since then, we've done PIO shots with Olivia laying on her stomach on the bed. This seems to make things easier.

  • Tip 4 💉 Do some "test pressure" to find a less sore spot to inject. Especially after a few weeks of PIO, the old upper butt region can be very sore, especially where you've done recent injections. Apply some pressure before selecting a shot location to try to find an area that is less sore.

  • Tip 5 💉 Massage the injection spot for 1-2 minutes after the shot. After the shot, apply light pressure and massage for a couple minutes.

  • Tip 6 💉 Take a warm shower after the shot if time allows. This can help generally relax and keep the shot area warm, which might help alleviate discomfort a bit.

Hopefully these help! If you have any other great tips, please share in the comments.


And for more support on giving shots, download my free 10 Step Shot Giving Checklist!


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