Cocaine addiction can cause significant long-term health effects that can cause problems to a recovering addict for many years to come. The nose can become damaged when cocaine is snorted by the nose.
The blood vessels in the nose are located close to the surface and allow the drug to rapidly be absorbed, causing a quick high. Unfortunately, because the blood vessels are located close to the surface, they can easily be damaged. A perforated septum can also occur. This happens when a hole is formed in the septum. This can cause nosebleeds, foul odors, infections and even a nasal collapse.
What damage can cocaine cause to the nose?
Many people do not realize that the nose is a complicated organ. When it is exposed to cocaine, a number of issues can arise, including:
* Nosebleeds (epistaxis)
* Infections of the sinus cavities and nasal passages
* A Perforated Septum
* Loss of the Sense of Smell
* A Collapse of the Nasal Passages
* A Nose Hole Caused by Cocaine Usage
Why Does Cocaine Cause These Issues?
The nose contains delicate tissues that are lined with blood vessels. These blood vessels are located very closely to the inner surfaces of the nose. One area that is particularly prone to these injuries is the septum. Cocaine causes the blood vessels in the nose to constrict. When this occurs, the blood flow to the area does not provide the nasal passages with enough oxygen. When these passages do not receive enough oxygen, the lining begins to die. When this occurs, the lining cannot support the cartilage. With continued use, cocaine can even cause the cartilage in the nose to die, resulting in a hole in the septum, known as a septal perforation. Once the septum becomes perforated, it can no longer support the nose structure and can cause a nasal collapse.
When the nasal passages do not receive enough oxygen, it can also be damaged and more prone to nosebleeds and infections. These infections can further damage the nasal tissues, resulting in an increased risk of a septal perforation.
Can It Be Treated?
The first step in treating these injuries is to stop using cocaine. This will help the blood vessels to recover, which will supply more oxygenated blood to the nasal lining. When blood flow is increased, the lining can begin healing itself. However, if you experience a septal perforation, quitting cocaine will not be enough.
A perforated septum is at an increased risk of infection. Additionally, the perforation will increase over time. If the perforation is not corrected, the appearance of the nose can change. When this occurs, your voice may be affected and you may be able to hear a whistle as air passes through the perforation.
Perforations of the septum that are crusted, have dried blood or are large, will need a perforated septum repair by a cosmetic surgeon. Once the repair is completed, the perforated septal defect will be almost invisible.
Septal perforation repair helps to restore airflow to through the sinus passages.
Before the perforation becomes large enough to cause a saddle nose, you should seek out treatment. This treatment is complex and should only be handled by a surgeon that has extensive nasal reconstruction experience.