Cocaine is a stimulant drug the many people abuse recreationally. Unfortunately, cocaine is also addictive.
Once people become dependent on this drug they usually need the assistance of a cocaine detox treatment to stop for good even when they start to experience the negative consequences.
While it has some valid medical purposes, cocaine abuse can cause devastating effects on the human body. From heart attacks to lung damage, cocaine use, especially prolonged abuse, can lead to serious and lasting problems. There is even evidence to suggest that cocaine affects your menstrual cycle.
The Menstrual Cycle & Cocaine Abuse
Not every woman’s menstrual cycle is easy to predict or even regular. Your period can be affected by everything from hormone changes to your body weight. Even stress could impact your menstrual cycle. While every woman is different, cocaine can affect your menstrual cycle and reproductive health.
The Effects of Cocaine on the Menstrual Cycle
Research suggests that cocaine can affect your period as well as various aspects of a woman’s menstrual cycle. One study using rhesus monkeys found that nearly half of the monkeys who were administered cocaine regularly had an abnormal menstrual cycle duration with several episodes of amenorrhea, or the absence of a period for at least 2 months. A third of these monkeys also had lower levels of progesterone, a female sex hormone.1
While this study applied specifically to monkeys, similar results have been found with humans. Although more research needs to be done on exactly how cocaine affects your menstrual cycle, in an article for Vice, doctors explained that cocaine use can stop ovulation and disrupt the menstrual cycle. In particular, cocaine use has been associated with higher levels of the hormone prolactin, which may be the cause of these changes.2
The effects of cocaine on the menstrual cycle are worth noting because it may interfere with a woman’s fertility. Abnormal hormone levels, irregular menstrual cycles, and the disruption of ovulation makes it much harder for a woman to try and conceive a child. Prolonged cocaine use can also cause damage to the fallopian tubes.2
These abnormalities are believed to continue during withdrawal,3
but some of the effects of cocaine on the menstrual cycle can be reversed if cocaine use stops and other appropriate treatment begins. Going to a rehab treatment center
to get help to quit cocaine could be the first step to fixing your menstrual cycle.
Other Connections Between Cocaine & the Menstrual Cycle
The relationship between your period and cocaine may be a two-way street as well. One study on rats found that cocaine cravings during times of abstinence may differ depending on the point of the menstrual cycle. During ovulation, cocaine cravings appear to be strongest and led to the greatest instances of relapse.3
If these results extend to humans, it could mean that women are more vulnerable to relapse at certain times of the month.
Other research has found that the relationship between cocaine and the menstrual cycle could hold valuable insight into the creation of a drug that could help treat a cocaine addiction. Higher levels of estrogen may help protect the brain from normal damage caused by cocaine use.4
Research on the topic still needs to be done, but some scientists believe an estrogen-like drug could be a promising development.
At Banyan Treatment Centers, we want to help people overcome their addiction and help them heal physically and mentally from substance abuse. Our residential and outpatient programs
across the country are designed to help addicts and their loved ones with every step of the addiction recovery journey.
If you are ready to take that first step to sobriety or just want to learn more about what we do, call us today at 888-280-4763.
- NCBI - The effects of chronic cocaine self-administration on the menstrual cycle in rhesus monkeys.
- Vice - How Do Illegal Drugs Affect Women’s Fertility?
- Science Direct - Menstrual cycle phase influences cocaine craving
- The Harvard Gazette - Women’s menstrual cycle holds clue to cocaine response