Cocaine Effects on Nose
Cocaine has many possible negative effects on the nose. Almost all of these effects are due to the decreased circulation that cocaine causes in the membranes of the nose, as well as the damage caused by decreased circulation.
Cocaine Nose Bleed (Epistaxis)
Cocaine can increase your risk of nosebleeds. Since cocaine decreases circulation, it may not initially seem to make sense why the drug makes your nose bleed. This effect occurs because nose membranes become more fragile with prolonged decreases in circulation. The damage makes it easier for the lining of the nose to tear and bleed, especially if foreign objects are put up the nose repeatedly to snort cocaine.
Cocaine Nose Collapse
As cocaine leads to decreased circulation in the nose, it can begin to affect more than just the lining of the nose. The decreased blood flow to the nose can actually affect the structure of the nose, causing the nose to collapse. Nose collapse typically involves a nostril collapsing, making it difficult or impossible to breathe through the nostril. If the collapse is more involved, it can lead to a noticeable deformity.
Cocaine Nose Hole
Cocaine can cause a hole to develop in the cartilage that separates your nostrils. This is also called nasal septal perforation. While this is typically not dangerous on its own, it can disrupt normal airflow through the nose as well as increase the risk of infections and deformities. Fixing a hole in the nose caused by coke typically requires plastic surgery once cocaine use has been stopped.
Deviated Septum From Cocaine
Cocaine can cause a deviated septum, which is when the middle part of the nose collapses to one side, blocking the nostril on the side it deviates to. A deviated septum can make it more difficult to breathe, as only one nostril can be used. It may also cause a noticeable defect, and it typically indicates that further damage to the nose is likely to occur if cocaine use is not stopped.
Nose Sores From Cocaine
Cocaine often leads to nose sores and scabs. Because cocaine decreases circulation to the lining of the nose, it becomes more easily damaged and sores occur more frequently. The low amount of blood flow makes it difficult for these sores to heal like they typically would, making them last for much longer than normal and expand in size with very little irritation or damage.
Cocaine Stuffy/Runny Nose
One of the most common early nose symptoms that someone using cocaine will typically experience is a stuffy or runny nose. Snorting cocaine coats the lining of the nose with powder. The nose is designed to get rid of irritating substances by making the nose run and forming mucus. This leads to a runny and stuffy nose whenever cocaine is used.
Saddle nose occurs when the bridge of the nose collapses. This is a more noticeable deformity that only occurs when decreased circulation seriously affects the nose’s structure. A saddle nose deformity requires plastic surgery to restore the nose to its normal condition and appearance.
Cocaine Sinus Infections
Sinus infections are a serious complication of cocaine use. There are many different aspects of cocaine that can cause sinus infections. Cocaine suppresses circulation that the immune system uses to get rid of infections. The drug also introduces bacteria into the nose and sinuses. Additionally, cocaine can cause damage to the sinuses themselves, making it easier for infection to take hold. Sinus infections caused by cocaine use are hard to treat and can ultimately lead to dangerous systemic infections.