Cocaine can cause major
stomach problems: surgeon
LONDON (Reuters) - Cocaine can cause
serious abdominal problems as well as chest pain and
breathing difficulties, a leading surgeon said on Friday.
"Abdominal complications from cocaine
abuse are life-threatening and require emergency surgery,"
said Luke Meleagros, of North Middlesex University Hospital,
in Britain's Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
With an estimated 344,000 people using
cocaine and 17,000 taking crack cocaine each month in
Britain, Meleagros and his colleagues fear health problems
in drug users will increase, particularly in London where
drug abuse is more common.
"As the number of cocaine abusers rises,
we expect the accompanying health problems to spread across
the country," Meleagros said in a statement.
Cocaine is an addictive stimulate drug.
Crack is a form of cocaine that comes in a rock crystal. The
name derives from the crackling sound it produces when
The drug can increase heart rate and blood
pressure, as well as constrict blood vessels. Many
cocaine-related deaths result from cardiac arrest or
"Abdominal complications are more common
with users of crack cocaine and in poor, inner city areas,"
"However, we suspect that there is an
under-reporting or misrecognition of the problem in other
areas, particularly affluent areas, as these complications
occur in cocaine users as well."
Symptoms of abdominal problems, which can
occur within an hour of taking the drug, include pain,
tenderness, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.