Get Clean – Call us today!

What Is Coke Bloat

You knew you wanted to be a nurse when you graduated high school, and four years after attending the University of Tampa, your dreams were realized. You loved everything about your job from caring for patients to joking around with your coworkers. Life was going well for you, and nothing was going to get in your way of accomplishing more.

what is coke bloat

As you began getting older, you found it was getting more difficult to handle the 12-hour shifts, but you didn’t want to leave your hospital as all your friends were there. You see your coworker who is pushing 40 always bouncing around from room to room, able to keep up with the heavy demand of patients. She seems to get everything done without breaking a sweat, while you struggle with fatigue every day.

You ask her what her secret is, but she gives you an unsure look, her eyes darting around the room. She pulls you into an empty patient room, and in a whisper, she says “cocaine.” Your eyes go wide as she presses her finger to her lips, and dances out of the room. This explains the puffiness in her cheeks and the nosebleeds, and you decide to anonymously report her to your supervisor.

In 2022, over 30 non-fatal cocaine overdose emergency department visits were stimulant-involved in Manatee County. Clean Recovery Centers has been educating on topics surrounding substance use disorders and working within our communities to provide resources. We have treatment options for all, including IPN/PRN programming for medical professionals that adheres to all of the state guidelines. Today, we are looking into coke bloat and how to recognize it in a loved one.

Coke Bloat – What Is It?

When we think of bloating, we often think of the stomach region feeling full, distended, and puffy. However, bloating can occur throughout the body as it is a build-up of fluid or gas. Areas that can be affected include the face, neck, hands, and feet. Coke bloat is the swelling of the face after using cocaine, and is a common condition.

Normal Bloating vs. Coke Bloat

Bloating can occur throughout each day and happens for a variety of reasons. Eating certain foods, high salt intake, drinking carbonated beverages, and inadequate sleep can all cause bloating in the face and stomach. Women may also experience bloating right before or during menstruation. Stress and irregular eating times can also lead to normal cases of bloating.

In the case of coke bloat, the skin becomes puffy after use. It is typically localized to the cheeks and chin, but can also occur in the abdomen. Coke bloat does vary day to day, but will not completely clear up until cocaine use has stopped.

How & Why Cocaine Causes Coke Bloat

get-rid-of-coke-bloatCocaine causes constriction of blood vessels throughout the body, which leads to fluid retention. Fluid cannot travel throughout the tissues normally, causing build-up under the skin. It is most common in the cheeks and chin but can also affect the hands and feet.

Another cause of coke bloat is that snorting cocaine irritates the nasal passageways. The lining within the nasal cavity becomes inflamed, causing swelling underneath the skin. This puffs the cheeks out so they look bloated. However, as the nasal cavity decays with long-term cocaine use, the cheeks can sink in as the tissues die off.

While not as common, cocaine can cause bloating in the abdomen region. The constriction of the blood vessels not only affects the face but the gastrointestinal tract as well. When the intestines do not receive adequate blood flow, areas within the bowel can die. This can cause bowel obstructions with a symptom being bloating in the abdomen.

Lastly, cocaine is often mixed with other substances, one of the most popular being levamisole. Levamisole is an antiparasitic used in cattle, but in humans, it can cause joint pain, skin necrosis, and blood vessel blockages. Blockages can cause glands to become swollen, especially the glands located in the jaw area.

Negative Health Effects of Experiencing Coke Bloat

While coke bloat itself is not necessarily life-threatening, it can indicate there are further problems within the body. Fluid retention causes harm to the kidneys, and over time they can become damaged or not function properly. Abdominal bloating may mean there is an issue within the intestines, including blockages, tissue death, and perforation, which are medical emergencies. In rare cases, cocaine-induced vasculitis has been seen when the cocaine has been mixed with levamisole, which also requires medical attention.

Experiencing coke bloat in the extremities is a sheer sign that something is wrong. While understudied, it has been reported that cocaine use can lead to venous thromboembolism. This condition is characterized by blood clots in the legs, lungs, or both. If you notice coke bloat in your legs or are having trouble breathing, seek medical help immediately. Blood clots can break apart and lead to strokes.

Can I Get Rid Of Coke Bloat?

The best way to get rid of coke bloat is to stop using cocaine, and it will take a few days for the body to re-regulate the system and reduce the swelling. There are some methods you can use to try to reduce the swelling right away, but none are a guarantee. These include applying cold compresses, massaging the face to encourage fluid drainage, and using an anti-inflammatory cream. Also make sure you are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and reducing the amount of salt you are eating. Avoid alcohol and add exercise to your routine.

While the face may recover from coke bloat soon after use has stopped, bloating can occur in the abdomen, and weight gain may be noticed. A recent study showed the body composition and diets of males dependent on cocaine compared to healthy males. Cocaine changes the way the metabolic system functions, which is why cocaine users are often seen as rather skinny. While cocaine doesn’t necessarily suppress hunger, it disrupts eating patterns and energy regulation. On top of that, the study showed that the cocaine dependent males had a much higher fat and carbohydrate-filled diet than the healthy males. This concluded that cocaine caused an imbalance of fat intake and storage.

However, what happens after cocaine use is stopped? Another study showed that because those using cocaine were used to a certain diet, they continued with high fat and carbohydrate meals in recovery. This led to bloating and weight gain, leading some to return to use. The key is to implement healthy diet changes in the very first days of recovery to prevent weight gain and a return to use.

Getting Treatment for Cocaine Use Disorder in Manatee County, FL

Cocaine can cause a plethora of unwanted side effects like coke bloat, but the good news is they don’t have to last forever. Finding quality cocaine addiction treatment is the first step to beginning a life in recovery. Individual therapy will help you discover the root causes of your addiction, while group therapy will give you insight and hope from fellow peers. Coping skill development is a huge part of recovery to help you manage stress and continue on the right path. Healing is not a linear path, but everyone starts the same – taking the leap to a better life without cocaine.

If you or someone you love is managing a cocaine use disorder, help is not far away. Clean Recovery Centers offers a full-spectrum program that addresses all aspects of addiction: spiritual, social, mental, and physical. Cocaine use can lead to unhealthy habits even in recovery, which is why we offer wellness components including nutritional counseling, therapeutic exercise, massage therapy, and more. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

Recent Posts

Meth Face

Will the face you fell in love with still exist in another five years? When your loved one is living with a meth use disorder, this isn’t just a question – it can be a very real fear. Research finds that nearly one in four people who take methamphetamine regularly...

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...

Cocaine and Seizures

You hear about the negative side effects of illicit substances all the time. “Cocaine causes seizures,” “Cocaine causes blood clots,” and so on. But you have never experienced these effects, you must be immune to them, right? Truth be told, there is no guarantee that...

Cocaine Tools

Would you question seeing a smear of white film on the back of a CD you let your son borrow? What about seeing your daughter wearing a miniature spoon-shaped necklace you have never seen before – do you ask about it? Knowing about cocaine tools can help parents and...

Signs of Meth Addiction

In 2021, 2.5 million people reported taking meth in the last 12 months in the United States. It’s easy to think this number doesn’t affect you, or that meth has no way to enter your life. Until your son starts acting differently, always paranoid that people are...