Difficulties Having Blood Taken

For as long as I can remember, it’s never been easy to take my blood. It can take as many as ten attempts, and I’m left sore and bruised afterwards.

My veins seem to hide away, and even when I spent three weeks in hospital a few years ago when very ill, and had to have blood taken and drips and tubes in me 24/7, it didn’t get any easier. I remember screaming out in pain when they started taking it from the back of my hand.

It’s not uncommon for me to leave a blood test with a cotton bud on both arms and a lot of bruising. And it’s not nice, obviously! Sometimes the nurse will go and fetch another nurse to have a go because the struggle to obtain my blood is so tricky, and so I’m left sore and bruised afterwards, while other people think I’m just a wuss, because they get it taken much easier. They don’t know the struggle!

I’ve been told that the nurse shouldn’t persist past three attempts, but as it’s not unusual to take five attempts before we get a little dribble of blood, I put up with it so I can at least have the blood tested. I’ve also been told that once the needle is in, it shouldn’t be moved around, but this happens. You’re meant to take it out and start again if necessary.

I wondered if there was a link between thyroid problems, poor circulation, adrenal problems etc. and issues having blood taken, so I asked in my Facebook group, and many replied saying they have the same issue. So I did some researching online.

I only had to google ‘problem having blood taken’ and links for thyroid sites came up. But nothing was conclusive. There doesn’t seem to be any known direct link.

I drink plenty of water, so it’s not dehydration. I walk to the doctors so I’m very warm on arrival and have blood pumping well. So it’s not that either! I’m not sure what else I can try.

It’s just such a pain. I won’t let it be taken from my hand again though, I know that much.

Do you experience the same struggle?


Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, and is a qualified Diet and Nutritional Advisor, also currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.

3 thoughts on “Difficulties Having Blood Taken

  1. yes I have the same problem. They usually take mine from the back of my hand. A couple of tricks is to drink lots of water the day before and at least two to three hours before the blood draw. Also if you are feeling chilled that makes the veins shrink back into your arm – keep warm. Make sure they use a fine needle. The clinic I used to go had the best people they could draw blood from my the arm the first time but my new clinic won’t even try my arm they go for my hand. If you vessels on your hand are plumped up the draw does not hurt. What I do is slap my hand a few times that usually helps plump them up then there’s no pain

    1. Thank you for your response 🙂 unfortunately I have tried all these and to no avail. Drinking lots of water doesn’t work for me (I already drink 2.5 litres a day), nor does keeping warm or a brisk walk – I walk 20 minutes to the doctors and am always hot on arrival. Butterfly needle doesn’t work/help also.

      I refuse my hand to be used as when I had to have it done in hospital I was screaming in pain. I guess I could try it again but it really was so traumatic that I’d rather they just bruise my arm up! It takes many attempts to get the blood from my arm, but it doesn’t hurt as they do it. It’s about half an hour later that it swells and bruises like in the photo above, and I prefer this to the horrific pain I had when they used my hand and wrist before.

      I just wish it was as simple as ‘normal’ people!

  2. I have also always had issues, my dad as well and be are both hypothyroid. I have found that drinking quite a lot of coconut water the day before along with regular water has helped. I also do jumping jacks or something to get the blood moving right before, I always lie down and usually take in a blanket to cover with do I stay warm during the draw (since the table is usually cold). When I start a year and a half ago with my functional doc and was getting major blood draws every 3 months and often one small draw in between, it was almost always a struggle and if they were able to get a vein it would often stop running and not provide enough blood for all the tests. The odd thing is now that my thyroid numbers have stabilized for the first time as well as most of my other lab work, as log as I hydrate, exercise and stay warm the draws have been much better! I remember when I had my wisdom teeth pulled in college I was supposed to be put to sleep but they couldn’t get a vein at all so I had to be awake for the procedure 😫 and then I had to have surgery a few years later and they couldn’t get an IV in for anything and had to numb my wrist (yeah it didn’t really numb much) and punch through cartilage in my wrist to get it in… Not fun! Of course in both those instances I couldn’t have any liquids prior which makes it absolutely awful. I’d love to know if there is a scientific link because most of the people I know with thyroid issues also have trouble with blood draws.

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