What is Coke Bloat?

What is Coke Bloat

Cocaine, also known as “coke,” is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug that can increase energy and focus. However, it can also have some adverse side effects, too. People who abuse and get addicted to cocaine may notice physical, mental, and emotional changes that reduce their overall quality of life.

One common side effect of cocaine abuse is puffiness or bloating in the face. This side effect is so common that it has its own nickname: coke bloat.

What is Coke Bloat and What Causes it?

Coke bloat is a term used to describe facial puffiness or bloating that may occur after using cocaine. The bloating is most apparent under the chin or in the cheeks. While the media often portray cocaine users as skinny or thin because cocaine reduces appetite, it can actually make it seem as though a person has gained weight because of the bloating.

Regular bloating is caused by reasons such as overeating, menstruation, poor sleep, high-sodium diets, allergies, and more. Coke bloat, however, is caused by the use of cocaine. Cocaine constricts blood vessels, causing lymphatic fluid to build up and contribute to swelling or bloating. Bloating from cocaine use can also be the result of hormonal and fluid retention issues.

While cocaine bloat is usually seen in the face, it can also be observed in the abdomen. This is because narrowed blood vessels can cause peritonitis, a condition in which the abdomen’s interior lining becomes inflamed, resulting in symptoms of bloat.

Another potential cause of coke bloat is attributed to what cocaine is cut with. Cocaine is often cut with other substances to increase profits, and up to 70% of cocaine in the U.S. is cut with deworming medications like Levamisole. Levamisole can cause a range of side effects, with one being swollen glands. When the affected glands swell, people may exhibit a bloated or puffy appearance.

Is Coke Bloat Dangerous?

Bloating typically occurs in people who have been using cocaine heavily and those who are addicted to it, so if you are experiencing coke bloat, you may be addicted to cocaine. Cocaine addiction can affect the way you think, feel, and behave, ultimately impacting your relationships and overall well-being.

Not only that, but bloating can make you feel self-conscious, uncomfortable, and even depressed–taking a serious toll on your mental health. So while bloating from cocaine use isn’t inherently dangerous, the surrounding circumstances related to drug use, mental health, and addiction certainly can be.

Why Do People Continue to Use Cocaine if it Causes Bloating?

Most people who experience cocaine-induced bloating do so because they have been using cocaine heavily and are addicted to it. As a result, bloating is often the least of worries for someone who is addicted to cocaine. People who are struggling with addiction may continue to use cocaine despite the consequences due to impaired judgment, compulsive drug use, and the fear of going into withdrawal.

How to Get Rid of Coke Bloat

Coke bloat isn’t physically painful, but you may find yourself eager to get rid of the puffiness in your face. There are a few strategies you can try to reduce facial bloating:

  • Massage puffy areas of your face by moving your hands in gentle circles for a few minutes each day
  • Apply a cooling mask to help reduce any inflammation
  • Apply a cold compress or take a cold shower
  • Try using hydrocortisone cream to reduce swelling
  • Massage your face with a derma roller

These solutions may reduce bloating, but puffiness may return if you use cocaine again. Remember, bloating from cocaine use usually indicates a bigger problem–such as addiction. As a result, if you experience facial bloating or puffiness as a result of your cocaine use, it may be time to get help from a local drug rehab center.

How Detox and Rehab Can Help You Eliminate Coke Bloat

The best way to get rid of cocaine bloating is to stop using the drug altogether. However, if you are addicted, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal and intense cravings. As a result, the best way to start your recovery is to seek help from a detox center.

A cocaine detox program can provide you with the support and supervision you need to detox safely and comfortably. While there are no medications approved to treat cocaine withdrawal, symptom-specific medications can be prescribed to alleviate your symptoms. Detox centers will also make sure you are eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated, both of which can reduce bloating. Bloating is temporary, so symptoms of coke bloat will start to go away as soon as cocaine leaves your system.

Detox usually lasts less than a week, then, you’ll need to transition to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. The goal of treatment is to address the root causes of your cocaine use and help you embrace healthy coping skills that support your recovery. By seeking treatment, you can stay sober, avoid cocaine, and prevent yourself from experiencing coke bloat ever again.

Find Help for Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

At Moving Mountains Recovery, we understand the seriousness of cocaine addiction. Our goal is to help clients recover in a safe and comfortable environment. We have therapies available to guide clients through recovery while uncovering passion in their life without drugs or alcohol. Our staff is equipped and ready to help with any questions or concerns. Please contact us today to learn more about our cocaine rehab programs!


  1. National Library of Medicine: Life-threatening abdominal complications following cocaine abuse, Retrieved August 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360478/
  2. National Library of Medicine: Vascular disease in cocaine addiction, Retrieved August 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5757372/
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