Cocaine may make some people have bowel movements. However, it may not necessarily be the drug, cocaine hydrochloride, that affects the digestive system. It may be due to other ingredients.

Street dealers lace cocaine with other additives and drugs that can make a person need to go to the bathroom. People ingesting cocaine by mouth may have digestive system side effects.

Nausea, vomiting, and constipation are other digestive effects of cocaine. Side effects can be short or long term. Long-term digestive effects of cocaine, such as perforation or bleeding, can be dangerous and potentially life threatening.

Keep reading to learn why cocaine can affect the digestive system.

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Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. The addictive substance is an alkaloid called cocaine hydrochloride. Cocaine hydrochloride causes many different effects on the body.

In the short term, cocaine does not affect bowel movements. However, some people may have nausea. The long-term effects of using cocaine depend on how a person takes the drug. For example, using cocaine by mouth can cause severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow to the intestines. However, people do not usually have diarrhea with bowel decay.

People may use cocaine, not knowing exactly what is in it. Street dealers may lace pure cocaine powder with fillers. This allows them to stretch their drug supply and increase profits.

These fillers may cause undesirable side effects or interfere with cocaine’s effects. It is unclear if cocaine or other substances in the drug make people need to use the bathroom.

Some people claim that having a bowel movement after snorting cocaine may be a psychological effect from feeling nervous and excited. However, medical research does not back these reports.

Many factors contribute to how cocaine affects the body. The method of use and contaminants in cocaine can influence these.

People usually snort cocaine in a powder form or rub it on their gums. Others may inject it directly into a vein or smoke it. The effects of the drug can last 15–60 minutes. However, the duration depends on how a person takes cocaine and how much they use.

Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the levels of the chemical messenger dopamine. Dopamine is closely related to the brain’s reward system.

Eventually, the brain’s reward system will adapt and become less sensitive to the effects of the drug. The person will need to take higher doses of cocaine to experience the same “high.”

Cocaine also causes an intense feeling of happiness and energy. It can also cause other effects, such as:

The long-term effects of using cocaine depend on how a person uses the drug. For example, people who snort cocaine may develop long lasting loss of smell and frequent nosebleeds.

People who smoke it may develop asthma and have a higher risk of lung infections.

Effects on the digestive system can occur in people who use cocaine by mouth. People may experience immediate digestive effects due to the contaminants and additives in cocaine.

People typically only experience the digestive effects of cocaine if they ingest it by mouth. Pure cocaine does not immediately affect the digestive system, but extended use can cause severe bowel decay.

Severe bowel decay involves the death of the cells lining the wall of the intestine due to restricted blow flow.

Symptoms of bowel decay may include:

Cocaine misuse can also cause the following symptoms, which require immediate medical attention:

Some drug dealers lace the cocaine fillers and cutting agents to extend their supply and make greater profits.

Cocaine may contain substances such as laxatives and caffeine, making some people need to go to the bathroom.

Some additives, such as fentanyl, can also cause constipation. Dealers may use additives such as:

  • laundry detergent
  • baking soda
  • kerosene
  • gasoline
  • cement
  • creatine
  • cornstarch
  • talcum powder
  • flour

People may also unknowingly ingest other drugs when using cocaine, such as amphetamines.

Differing purities and different mixtures with additives can result in unique effects. While some people may poop after using cocaine, it may not occur every time.

Cocaine increases the oxygen demand on the heart muscle cells and restricts blood flow by constricting blood vessels.

In addition, cocaine can also affect platelets, which are cells involved in blood clotting. Cocaine can cause platelet aggregation, which leads to blood clots.

These effects can strain the heart muscle and may cause serious complications such as a heart attack.

Over time, cocaine can also accelerate the thickening of the blood vessel walls or atherosclerosis. People can also develop an irregular heartbeat from using cocaine.

Other serious health complications of cocaine include:

People needing help for cocaine misuse may consider talking with a doctor.

While there are no treatments for cocaine misuse that have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, some treatment options include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • motivational incentives for not using drugs
  • therapeutic communities, such as residential buildings with zero-tolerance drug policies
  • community-based recovery groups

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) can help people locate treatment facilities confidentially and anonymously.

People may need to use the bathroom after using cocaine, but the drug may not have the same effect on everyone.

Cocaine often contains additives and other drugs that can cause side effects, such as needing to have a bowel movement.

Anecdotally, some people report needing to go to the bathroom after taking cocaine, as it causes heightened emotions.