What Does Cocaine Do To Your Nose?

What Does Cocaine Do To Your Nose?

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug that’s illegally made and sold on the streets.

While it can be injected, smoked, or snorted, people commonly snort cocaine because this form of it produces a longer-lasting high. But what does cocaine do to your nose if you snort it? Our drug rehab center Gilman is taking a closer look inside the nose of a cocaine user.

Understanding What Cocaine Does To Your Nose

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that’s derived from coca leaves of Erythroxylon coca, a plant native to South America. Before cocaine’s effects on the nose or any other part of the body were understood, it was an active ingredient in many medications and was even in the early formulas of Coca-Cola. Now, the repercussions of long-term cocaine abuse are much better understood and there’s more research advising against any use of this drug.

There are various ways to use cocaine, one of them being snorting or inhaling it through the nose. Despite the symptoms of cocaine use on the nose, many users prefer this method because it produces an immediate high that may also last longer than if they injected it or smoked it. However, as with any other method of use, snorting cocaine can seriously damage the nose.

To understand how cocaine affects the nose, you have to know the basic parts of the nose. The main parts of the nose are:

  • Nasal septum:This is a wall made out of cartilage and bone that runs down the length of your nose and separates the nasal cavity in half (two nostrils)
  • Cartilage: Cartilage is a firm, white-ish, and flexible connective tissue at the tip of the nose that forms the front part of the septum to create the wall of the nose
  • Mucous membrane linings: These are the linings on the inside of the nose. This part of the nose creates mucus, which captures germs, dust, and other small fragments that could irritate the lungs
  • Nasal cavity: This is located behind your nose and connects to the back of the throat. The nasal cavity is separated from the inside of your mouth by the roof of your mouth (palate)

Snorting cocaine can damage the mucous membrane linings and inhibit blood flow to the nose. When this lining is affected, it also leaves the person more susceptible to inhaling irritating particles. While the damage to the membrane linings is a direct result of snorting cocaine, decreased blood flow is caused by the effects of cocaine on the brain, specifically on neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that act as messengers in the CNS and include chemicals epinephrine and norepinephrine. Because they help regulate blood flow in the body, cocaine’s effects on their levels can disrupt this process

Cocaine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug that can affect more than just your nose. Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland offers a cocaine detox that helps people addicted to it safely get through the withdrawal phase of recovery. This is an important step in treating addiction that can make the rest of the process smoother.

The Effects Of Cocaine On The Nose

Experiencing nose bleeds after cocaine use is common because of the direct damage to the membrane lining. However, these short-term effects of cocaine on the nose can lead to long-term problems. The nose absorbs cocaine first through the mucus membrane linings, after which it enters the bloodstream. Any other additional cocaine cutting agents, such as paint thinner or fentanyl, are also absorbed in this process. These chemicals inflame the inner lining of the nose, causing stuffiness and irritation. After that, the drug’s effects cause the blood vessels in the nose to shrivel, which blocks blood flow. As the effects of cocaine wear off, these vessels may burst, which causes nose bleeds. Despite this damage, a user may only be able to quit with cocaine addiction treatment.

Some additional effects of cocaine on the nose include:

  • Deviated septum: Repeated use of cocaine through snorting can irritate the cartilage and mucus lining to the point where the shape of the septum is altered. This can cause difficulties breathing, headaches, facial pain, and sinus infections.
  • Perforated septum: This is the result of irritated membrane linings and blocked blood flow. Long-term use of cocaine can cause the cells in the septum to die, which creates a hole or perforation. If the person continues to snort cocaine, blood flow will continuously be depleted, preventing oxygen from reaching the cells and tissue in the septum. This can result in cell death, meaning the hole will continue to grow if the person continues to use.
  • Hard palate damage: This is common in people who have abused cocaine for a long time. Hard palate damage caused by cocaine refers to holes and other forms of damage in the roof of the mouth. The bone may slowly deteriorate and holes and the roof of the mouth may begin to form over time.
  • “Saddle nose”: A cocaine user’s nose can be identified by its outer appearance. Cocaine’s effects on the inside of the nose often become apparent in the physical appearance of the nose as well. Saddle nose is a condition where the septum is so damaged that it can’t hold up the nostrils, causing it to collapse. This makes the nose look flatter and wider on the outside.

The ugly side of addiction goes beyond nosebleeds and saddle nose. This drug can also cause damage to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and more. Addiction is a cruel disease that should be treated by experts. If you have a cocaine addiction or know someone who does, we can help. Call Banyan Heartland now at 888-280-4763 to speak to a team member about our drug and alcohol treatment in Gilman.

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.