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Side Effects of Cocaine on the Digestive System

Cocaine’s Effects on the Digestive System

Many users take cocaine for the initial rush of euphoria it provides, but cocaine is a toxic substance that can cause serious damage to the body. The long-term effects of cocaine especially can lead to problematic and lasting issues that may not always be reversible. Of these problems, there are several side effects of cocaine on the stomach and digestive system you want to avoid. Read on to learn more about the dangers of this infamous stimulant with Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Digestive System?

While cocaine can excite the brain, it can also impact the digestive system. While these cocaine side effects on the stomach and digestive system become more severe with long-term use, there are also some short-term effects that can be unpleasant for users.

Some common short-term effects of cocaine on the digestive system include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea1,2

Cocaine stomach pain and nausea may not seem so bad, so many addicts choose to ignore these problems instead of going to a doctor or going to our Heartland treatment center to quit. Unfortunately, when this behavior becomes routine, these uncomfortable symptoms can develop into signs of much more serious health issues.

In the long term, cocaine’s effects on the digestive system may include:

  • Decreased appetite leading to malnourishment and drastic weight loss
  • Changes to metabolism
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Abdominal bleeding
  • Reduced blood flow to the gastrointestinal system
  • Perforation of the intestines
  • Perforation of the small blood vessel in the abdomen
  • Bowel tissue decay or rupturing 2,3

The risk of these severe damages is even more common in cases of cocaine body packers where the packages have ruptured.2 If you are starting to notice these issues or experience stomach issues that may or may not be related to cocaine use, see a doctor and get cocaine Heartland drug treatment immediately. Ignoring these problems will make them worse and could lead to other serious health issues.

Effects of Cocaine on Other Parts of the Body

Although cocaine has a negative effect on the digestive system, it also has detrimental impacts on other parts of the body. The use of cocaine can have serious effects on a number of different body parts and processes.

Cocaine effects on the body include:

  • Cardiovascular system: The effects of cocaine on the heart and its associated functions are well-known. It causes vasoconstriction, a rise in heart rate, and stimulation of the central nervous system. Long-term cocaine usage puts a great deal of strain on the heart, raising the risk of arrhythmias, heart attacks, and even sudden cardiac death.
  • Respiratory System: Crack cocaine use or cocaine smoke inhalation can irritate the airways, resulting in persistent coughing, wheezing, and even respiratory collapse. Additionally, the reduced oxygenation of the lungs caused by cocaine-induced blood vessel constriction can harm lung tissue.
  • Central nervous system: Cocaine has a significant stimulant effect on the central nervous system, which is where it most affects the body. It increases the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin while decreasing their reuptake. Seizures, strokes, and cognitive deficits are just a few of the neurological issues that can result from this disturbance of normal neurotransmitter function.
  • Kidneys: Cocaine addiction can have a negative impact on kidney performance. By tightening blood arteries inside the kidneys and decreasing blood flow, it might harm the kidneys and possibly cause renal failure. Additionally, kidney issues might be made worse by high blood pressure brought on by cocaine.
  • Liver: Although the liver serves as the main site of cocaine processing, long-term cocaine usage can have unintended side effects on the condition of the organ. Sharing infected needles or partaking in risky drug-related activities raises the possibility of developing infectious diseases like hepatitis, which can seriously harm the liver.
  • Reproductive system: Cocaine usage can have a significant impact on both a woman’s and a man’s reproductive system. It could result in hormonal abnormalities, decreased sperm production, and erectile dysfunction in men. Cocaine usage in females can interfere with regular menstrual cycles, lead to infertility, and put the mother and the fetus in danger during pregnancy.

It is crucial to remember that the symptoms listed above are not all-inclusive, and continued cocaine addiction can have negative effects on a variety of organs and body processes. It is essential to seek expert assistance and treatment to reduce these dangers and address the overall effects of cocaine use on the body.

Treating the Side Effects of Cocaine on the Stomach & Digestive System

Fortunately, some of cocaine’s effects on the digestive system can be reversed when drug abuse stops, and our cocaine Heartland detox program could help you with this process.

Unfortunately, not everything may be reversible by just quitting. For some problems, over-the-counter medications or supplements may be all that is necessary to help them subside. More serious conditions, like perforation of the intestines, may require the attention of specialists who will then be able to develop a proper treatment plan. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary.

Substance abuse of any kind is no joke. While it may provide temporary and short-term rewards, the long-term consequences are not worth it. When you or someone you care about can’t seem to stop, it is time to ask for help. 

At Banyan Heartland, we help people through every step of the recovery process. To begin your journey or to get help for a loved one in need, call us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. NIH – Effects of Cocaine on Brains and Bodies
  2. NCBI – Gastric Perforation in a Cocaine User
  3. NCBI – Gastrointestinal manifestations of cocaine addiction

Related Reading

Why Do People Do Cocaine?

Does Cocaine Make You Aggressive?

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.