Stimulant drug use, cocaine and crack cocaine use included, is known to have strong effects on a person’s bowel movements.
One of the short-term physical side effects of cocaine is that it can cause a person to have a bowel movement shortly after using it.
In terms of long-term effects on the bowels, cocaine abuse can cause malnutrition, changes in metabolism, and uncomfortable digestive issues.
In addition to increased frequency of bowel movements, cocaine also has other dangerous side effects, such as constricted blood vessels, cardiovascular problems, and mental health disorders.
Why Does Cocaine Make You Poop?
People use cocaine because it has stimulating effects, like increased heart rate.
However, the use of cocaine also causes the brain to release dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, neurotransmitters that control mood, energy, pleasure, and wakefulness.
Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter that is crucial to the functions of a person’s digestive system and which is also involved in certain physiological processes such as vomiting and pooping.
When serotonin levels increase, as is the case with cocaine use and stimulant use in general, bowel movements are spurred, and sometimes within mere minutes of using cocaine.
These short-term effects can occur regardless of the route of administration, whether a person is snorting or injecting cocaine or smoking crack cocaine.
Factors That Influence Cocaine’s Effect On Bowels
While it is clear that cocaine affects a person’s bowels, the reasons why this occurs is actually based on multiple factors.
The Purity Of Cocaine
It is generally believed that the more pure the cocaine is, the faster it will make a person have to poop. Some people report having to poop as soon as within five minutes after using cocaine.
Some people have even reported that it is possible to tell the purity level of cocaine simply by how fast it makes a person go poop after ingesting it.
Other Substances In Cocaine
Cocaine found on the streets is very rarely pure cocaine, and it is possible that certain cutting agents are also responsible for increased bowel movements.
For instance, some cutting agents have laxative properties, and others, like caffeine, cause contractions in a person’s colon and intestines.
Cutting agents found in cocaine also lend to a number of other effects of cocaine, such as risk of heart attack and stroke and oral health issues, such as perforation of the oral palate.
How Cocaine Abuse Affects Fat Storage
One of the effects of cocaine abuse is a loss of appetite and severe weight loss over time. For this reason, malnutrition tends to be a common problem among people who use cocaine heavily.
Research has shown that cocaine abuse also suppresses the body’s ability to store new fat. Because of this, people tend to gain weight quickly once they are able to stop using cocaine.
Effect Of Cocaine On Metabolism And Digestion
As a stimulant, cocaine speeds up many of the body’s processes, such as heart rate and blood pressure, along with metabolism and digestion.
This speeding up, along with malnutrition, can result in abdominal pain, high blood pressure, intestinal ulcers, and more.
In addition, cocaine can reduce blood flow to your heart.
Proper blood flow is necessary to have healthy bowel movements, which may be one reason why using cocaine can induce bowel movements.
Can Cocaine Cause Constipation?
Cocaine does not typically cause constipation, and is much more well-known for having the opposite effect.
Other illicit drugs, however, and most specifically opioids, are known for causing constipation in those who abuse them.
Other Dangers Of Long-Term Cocaine Use On The Bowels
While rare, cocaine use over the long term can lead to long-term damage of the systems involved in digestive processes and metabolism, and some of these effects can be dangerous
For example, cocaine can lead to ischemic colitis, a condition which reduces blood flow to the large intestine.
Most of the time, this condition resolves after a few days. In some cases, however, damage can occur, including tissue death.
Chronic cocaine use can also lead to thrombosis (hemorrhoids).
How To Treat Cocaine-Related Bowel Issues
In addition to stopping cocaine use, there are a few different things that people can do to treat their cocaine-induced bowel issues.
Such treatments can include taking supplements such as plant-based digestive enzymes, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium.
It is also incredibly important to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
Treatment Programs For Cocaine Abuse
Treatment programs for cocaine addiction will always begin with a period of medical detox, as withdrawal can often be the biggest obstacle for many people entering recovery.
After successful completion of detox, a person then has a choice of entering inpatient or outpatient treatment for continued therapy and support.
Cocaine addiction treatment often includes the use of dual diagnosis treatment, which serves to address both a person’s addiction and any co-occurring disorders they are experiencing.
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There is no shame in asking for help with a substance use disorder, and recovery is truly just a phone call away.Article Sources
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed.gov
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)