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Cocaine and Nausea

“Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down. Sometimes it made me paranoid and impotent, but mostly it just made me withdrawn.” – Robin Williams

Cocaine use doesn’t begin for no reason. Mental health, life stresses, and the surrounding environment all can play a role leading up to use. As Robin Williams said, it can numb these feelings – even if only for a minute.

But what happens when the negative side effects of nausea and possibly overdosing rear their ugly head? What if cocaine causes irreversible damage to your body?

In 2021, over 100 hospitalizations in Pasco County were due to stimulant-related overdoses. Clean Recovery Centers provides education about substances like cocaine and how the effects can cause more than just an overdose. Today, we are looking into the correlation between cocaine and nausea.

cocaine and nausea clean recovery center

why does cocaine cause nauseaWhy Does Cocaine Cause Nausea?

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant native to South America. The coca leaf is used by these cultures to actually treat nausea and other gastrointestinal aches and pains. So, why once the plant is turned to cocaine does it cause nausea? The process of making cocaine involves various chemicals and a four-step process. Chemicals include kerosene, sulfuric acid, acetone, and hydrochloric acid. The end product of cocaine does contain diluted hydrochloric acid, which can cause stomach upset when cocaine is ingested. This is especially true if cocaine is swallowed. Typically, when cocaine is snorted or smoked, it does not cause noticeable stomach upset. However, in those who do not take cocaine regularly, they may notice some nausea.

Cocaine & the Digestive System: The Serious Consequences

One of the main side effects of cocaine is vasoconstriction – the narrowing of the blood vessels throughout the body. When this occurs, blood cannot flow at a normal rate, decreasing the amount that reaches vital organs and systems. The digestive system needs adequate blood flow to function as it is on average 26 feet long in the average person. Without proper blood flow, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are common from cocaine use.

Long-Term Digestive System Damage From Cocaine

When blood does not reach an organ, tissue damage is the result. The digestive system is no different, and if blood is not reaching the gastrointestinal tract or bowels, damage can occur. When tissues die, there is no way to reverse the damage. This is known as necrosis, and if the dead tissue is not removed, it can lead to sepsis and gangrene. Sepsis is a life-threatening infection where the body is overwhelmed with bacteria, fungus, or a virus. Gangrene occurs when blood flow is blocked to a large area of tissue and results in the area having to be removed from the body. If these conditions are not medically treated, they can result in serious complications and even be fatal.

Treating Stomach & Digestive System Complications From Cocaine Use

As we mentioned above, necrosis, gangrene, and sepsis are all serious medical conditions. Only professionals will be able to diagnose and treat these conditions properly. Depending on how far the damage has progressed, antibiotics and surgeries may be the first treatment options. The bowels can be constructed to continue functioning, but in some cases, this can result in a colostomy bag and other medical complications. Tissue death is a serious concern, and putting off treatment will result in further damage.

Cocaine use can also cause complications in the stomach. Cocaine is a weak acid, but it can still interact with the acid within the stomach. This occurs when cocaine is swallowed or rubbed on the gums. When stomach acid is mixed with other acids, ulcers can form. Ulcers are sores that can happen in the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. They are treatable especially when caught early. However, if left untreated they can require more invasive procedures, including cauterizing. This can increase recovery time and affect eating.

Is Nausea a Symptom of Cocaine Overdose?

A cocaine overdose occurs when too much cocaine is in the body and it cannot process it. An overdose can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. But, are there earlier warning signs that a cocaine overdose is happening?

In short, yes, and nausea is one of the symptoms of cocaine overdose. When our bodies ingest toxins, it has a natural response to get rid of the substance. This occurs through sweat and vomiting. A comparison would be to alcohol poisoning. When the body has too much alcohol, it induces sweat and vomiting to try to remove the excess. The same can happen with a cocaine overdose. However, vomiting does not reduce the amount of the substance in the body, and a cocaine overdose is still a life-threatening condition. Medical attention should always be sought if a cocaine overdose is suspected.

How to Stop Cocaine Nausea – Is It Preventable?

To stop cocaine nausea, cocaine use must stop altogether. This can be easier said than done, and if you find you cannot stop taking cocaine now, there are some ways to help with nausea. Eating a balanced meal before use can help ease nausea symptoms. Antacids may be helpful in reducing stomach acid and reflux. However, if you experience abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, and expelling blood in either vomit or stool, seek medical attention immediately. These can be signs of a more serious condition including ulcers or tissue damage. It is always better to err on the side of caution when experiencing these symptoms, even if they only begin with nausea.

Another way to prevent nausea is to stay properly hydrated. When the body does not have enough water and electrolytes, nausea can occur. If you are experiencing vomiting, dehydration is likely and can increase negative side effects. Increasing fluid intake can help alleviate these symptoms.

Getting Help for Cocaine Use in New Port Richey, FL

Cocaine use disorder can take over someone’s life and lead to irreversible damage to the digestive system. But the pleasurable feelings it creates can seem to outweigh these risks, and stopping use may feel impossible. The good news is there is hope, and treatment options are available to help. A cocaine addiction recovery program will arm you with all the tools and skills needed to address the why behind your use and how to face the future cocaine-free. You are a person, full of life and passion – the mask of cocaine cannot take that away. Rediscovering yourself is the first step to healing from within.

If you or someone you love is managing a cocaine use disorder, help is here on the beautiful Suncoast. Clean Recovery Centers has a full-spectrum program that addresses all facets of addiction: physical, mental, spiritual, and social. Our unique, three-phase approach provides therapies, skill-building classes, and wellness components that help you build healthy habits you can utilize in your recovery. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

FAQs About Nausea and Cocaine

Does the method of use change how likely you are to feel nauseous from cocaine?

Method of use does affect how nauseous you may feel after cocaine use. Swallowing or rubbing cocaine on the gums is more likely to cause nausea as it enters the stomach directly. Smoking or snorting cocaine goes through the lungs, and though nausea can occur, it is less noticeable.

Is digestive system damage from cocaine reversible?

Depending on how severe the damage to the digestive system is, it may not be reversible. Cocaine can stop blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract and the bowels, leading to tissue death. Tissue death is permanent and will require medical attention to be treated. Cocaine can cause this in any part of the digestive system.

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