Restarting a Dexcom G6 Sensor

I’ve worn a continuous glucose monitor (cgm) more or less since 2006. I discovered early on, when they were invented and became available that a cgm was super valuable. After all, back in the days when I was getting into endurance sports, testing my blood sugar 20 to 30 times in a 24 hour period wasn’t very fun, not to mention expensive. All those test strips aren’t cheap. I did finger sticks so many times because I wanted to see how my blood sugars were trending, up, down or flat. 

CGM interacts with insulin pump

In recent years, finally the cgm interacts with the insulin pump I wear. That is practically a miracle. I wear a Tandem t:slim X2 insulin pump that has Control-IQ technology. Which means that the pump “talks” to the cgm, making insulin dosage decisions based on what my glucose is doing which it knows based on the cgm data. 

Accurate data for life or death

As you can imagine, the data from the cgm needs to be as accurate as possible. The cgm I wear is a Dexcom G6. I’m a big fan of Dexcom cgm’s, and most of the cgms I’ve worn have been made by Dexcom. Each time Dexcom upgrades, they change the name accordingly. The Dexcom G6 is allowed to be worn for 10 days. That was the case for the Dexcom G5 too. The G5 was the previous Dex iteration. 

Get more time by “tricking” the Dexcom system

It was quite easy to trick the device into getting more days of wear out of it. I often could get close to 22 days of good wear out of the Dexcom G5. You see, Dexcom sensors and transmitters are not inexpensive. Truth be known, there is NOTHING about having insulin-dependent diabetes that is low-cost. 

Thus, getting more days out of a sensor was really good on the wallet. In the case of the Dexcom G5, the wearer did have to calibrate it by doing a blood sugar finger stick test every 12 hours at minimum. 

No calibration is good on the fingertips

The Dexcom G6 does not have to be calibrated. My fingertips have healed up as a result! Pretty fantastic. That said, about once a week or so I do a finger stick just to be sure everything is matching up. Thankfully, the difference is almost always less than 10 mg/dl. Perfection!

One thing I learned quickly is that the Dexcom G6 is much harder to trick. As a result, I have no extra sensors on hand. I put a reminder in my calendar to be sure to order more sensors before I run out. The insurance will only allow them to be shipped to me every three months. I have zero extra sensors just sitting around. I confess, that’s a bit nerve wracking at times.

Turns out you CAN trick/restart the G6

A diabetes expert I’ve been talking to, she mentioned that there IS a way to trick/restart the Dexcom G6. She sent me this video that explains how to do it. 

Please note, this is not something you want to do all the time, but it is a way to get a few more days out of each sensor. I’ve done it a few times and during the second set of days, I make sure to do a finger stick blood sugar test every day to make sure the cgm is still accurate. After all, my pump is making insulin decisions based on that number. 

A few more days

For the two sessions I’ve done this, I’ve gotten 6-7 more days out of the sensor. I’m working my way to having an extra sensor for those “just in case” moments.

For those who watch the video, you don’t have to use a credit card/gift card to get the transmitter out of the sensor. I used an old test strip, which worked really well. 

For those of you who want to give this a try, here’s a great video by Matt Vande Vegt describing how to do it. It is important to stop the session before the first 10 day session ends. Let it “rest” for about 20-30 minutes before you start up the “new” session. Be sure you save the 4-digit code image, as you will need that for the restart. 

Good luck!!

Let me know how it goes!! And please, if you found this post at all helpful or interesting, please leave me a comment. I love comments! They are very affirming! Thank you!

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6 thoughts on “Restarting a Dexcom G6 Sensor”

  1. Thanks for the info. I am glad your G6 is working so well. Mine does too, for the most part, but sometimes is off, way off. I have a photo of my Dexcom saying my BG was 50 and my OneTouch saying it was 314! The 314 was correct. Also good to hear Tandem has their feedback loop working. I use Omnipod, and they are way behind Tandem and Medtronic on getting this going. If Omnipod doesn’t get their act together by this fall, I will probably switch to one that has the feedback loop working. I like the freedom of not having tubes or carrying my PDM everywhere I go, but the time in range that feedback systems facilitate would be worth switching.

    • Cabe, yikes, that is NOT fun that you’ve had such massive disparities between your cgm and your meter. I feel very lucky that I’ve never had that issue. A while back, a CDE told me the science behind why there can be such disparities. In part it has to do with our immune systems. Turns out all of us are different!! Almost everyone I know who wears an Omnipod loves them. If I would ever do a full Ironman, which I won’t, the Omnipod would be ideal for the swim portion, as the fact that it is waterproof is pretty darn cool! With luck they will get on board soon with a closed loop system like Tandem and Medtronic!!

    • Meg,
      I hope this is of use to you!!! I love knowing you are a regular reader of my blog! Plus now that we are track running again, I get to see you!

  2. Hello! I see you have an extra piece of tape on your Dexcom. Someday I will have a Dexcom…
    But, on tho the important stuff. I have had some issues with CGMs sticking. I tried many different tapes, but now I found THE ANSWER! Skin Tac. It is a liquid. I heard about it from Scott Johnson. It works great. I think it will last a long time, this 4 oz bottle. And, it doesn’t rip my skin off when removing either. I have used it now for several months, and haven’t had any issue.

    • Thanks for this reminder about Skin Tac Paul!! I’ve used it in the past, but not in a while. Will have to get some more. Now that I’m wearing the Dex for a few days longer, I’m having a hard time keeping it stuck to my body since I swim twice a week and run three times a week and bike at least twice a week!! Lots of water and sweating makes is harder to get the thing to stick to my body!!

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