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*! Nasal Septum Damage - Help Wanted !*
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*! Nasal Septum Damage - Help Wanted !*

A friend of mine (28) has been insufflating various legal highs once a week via the nasal passages for over a year now. Up until towards the end of last year, this had never really led to many side effects, apart from the occasional nose bleed and a more mucus production. However, my friend then started to notice his front teeth would ache for a few days after using the substances. He also noticed that he would get mucus and blood build up (not dripping) in his nose immediately after using, but would never get nose bleeds at any other time. When blowing his nose, he would often get traces of blood in the mucus. The most worrying development though has been over the past few weeks, when my friend has noticed a small depression/hole appearing half way up his septum on both sides, a few mm back from the tip of the nose. He doesn't think the holes have pierced through the septum, but thinks it is close to doing so.

Coincidentally, my friend has also been taking Roacutane (strong acne treatment) for the past few months. After discussing the side effects of Roacutane with another friend, he revealed that it can weaken the nasal passage walls and cause nose bleeds. My friend now thinks that by taking the Roacutane whilst also continuing to insufflate substances may have caused this accelerated damage of the septum.

So my friend would like some help. Will the septum heal if he stops now, or is it too late? How much of the septum has to be removed before it won't heal and surgery is needed? At what point do you loose the entire septum and only have one nostril? My friend never wants this happen and so is willing to give up for however long it takes for his nose to recover. Does anyone know how long this may take? Are there are treatments that will make the healing more rapid. Thank you in advance to anyone that can help!
14 Comments Post a Comment
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4113881_tn?1401895587
Well, it seems like people are shying away from this topic. I don't blame them as its a bit complicated and not an every day type question you see here. So, I will respond in two parts. The first part will be my personal opinion from personal life experience. The second part will be what I found when I did a little research regarding your question.

Ive snorted meth, coke, heroin, pain pills....you name it. I have the same problem as your friend. My cartilage is almost non existent but you can only tell from the inside. I feel like it is paper thin between nostrils. Having said that, I started snorting drugs when I was oh...12...13 years old. I didn't snort that long but it did its damage. (I graduated to IV drug use) I only bring this up because its been years...many years since Ive snorted something...and my nose doesn't seem to be getting any better. So, in my own personal experience...the damage we do is permanent UNLESS you have surgery.

That is my opinion of course. Once I read your post...I did a little research and read a study that...well says I don't know what I'm talking about...hmm. You can read it for yourself. I will post just the conclusion and the link to the full study. Keep in mind...the study was done on rabbits.

CONCLUSIONS:

"After SMR, rabbit cartilage tissue can regenerate and form matrix within the potential space created by surgery. The surrounding stem cell-rich perichondrium may be the site of origin for these chondrocytes. These findings suggest that after SMR of the human nasal septum, it may be possible for new cartilage tissue to develop provided the mucosa is well approximated. This biologic effect may be enhanced by insertion of cytokine-rich tissue scaffolds that exploit the native ability of septal perichondrium to regenerate and repair cartilage tissue."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17003728
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So, what kind of conclusion can we draw from this....well, I would say if a rabbit develops a drug addiction and blows out his septum...hey, he can grow a new one. Or maybe mine is just to far gone...who knows. My advice would be to stop ALL snorting now and see if it gets better. Even if it doesn't...well, your friend can live with a thin...septum as I have for the last oh...20 years. No biggie. But if your friend continues to abuse his nose and nostrils....well, who knows what will happen. Why chance it?

Take care

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271792_tn?1334983257
What is a legal high? I am fairly certain that I cannot purchase anything from the drug store that says "Snort As Needed" so I am baffled by that. Your "friend" has more problems than just worrying about his nasal passage and any damage but since that is what you are inquiring about...

I have only one nasal passage after many years of snorting illegal substances. I don't think you can gauge it on time used. It is more of an individual thing. His best bet would be to see his doctor and find out if there is damage and further find out if anything can be done.
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3197167_tn?1348972206
I wasn't really avoiding this post.....just have NEVER snorted "various legal highs" as you posted.  I WAS on acutane back in the 1980's sometime and I can tell you that powerful stuff stripped me of all exterior layers of skin.....no lips for 5 mos., blow torched face, peeling skin on hands and legs....on and on.  It was NOT a great experience while taking it but it WORKED for me.  If that drug can cause our skin and tissues to change that radically, I'd imagine it could have SOMEthing to do with nasal passage, and our noses in general but my nose wasn't affected.  Our bodies automatically produce more mucous to "rid" an irritant or flush out an infection or something foreign to us.
If I had excess mucous, blood, and the beginning of holes in my nose I'd sure see it as a loud WAKE UP CALL.  The acne med may exacerbate it some, but imo, it isn't the CAUSE.  Remove the irritants....healing begins!

P.S.  ActingBrandNew......."hey, if a rabbit develops a drug addiction and blows out his septum....hey--he can grow a new one"  you're a hoot.....even if you nose isn't perfect.....your sense of humor is!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for the replies, all of which are greatly appreciated!

When I say "legal highs" I mean "research chemicals" or this new wave of substances that are analogues of illegal drugs that has been increasing in popularity throughout the world in recent years, i.e. mephedrone (which is now illegal in the UK), MDAI, methoxetamine, 6-APB (Benzo Fury) etc, etc.

Thanks for the rabbit link - I'm not sure how closely related human nasal passages are to rabbits, but the research was helpful and I would think there is a chance of septum recovery if my friend stops now, as you say. However, I imagine it will not be a full recovery.

My friend did say that the current state of his septum didn't bother him too much and it wouldn't be the end of the world if it didn't recover... it was the thought of losing the entire septum that gave him nightmares!

He was intrigued to know at what point of septum damage does the nose collapse, i.e. how much of the septum has to be removed before the front part (the bit you can see that separates your nostrils) breaks down?

He would also like to know if there are any treatments to accelerate the healing process - he has identified a saline and aloe nasal spray that thinks may help - does anyone agree or disagree?

Thanks again.
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4113881_tn?1401895587
"He was intrigued to know at what point of septum damage does the nose collapse, i.e. how much of the septum has to be removed before the front part (the bit you can see that separates your nostrils) breaks down? "

That's a very interesting question. I'm really not sure at what point the nose collapses. I find it hard to believe that anyone can COMPLETELY destroy there entire septum and cartilage from drug use...but hey, drugs make us do some crazy things so who knows...but in my opinion....a strictly guesstimate...no medical prove or knowledge of to support this statement....but Id imagine if a septum was paper thin and there was some blunt force trauma such as a...punch to the nose.....well, I'm thinking that would do it...but that's just an uneducated guesstimate...
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"When I say "legal highs" I mean "research chemicals" or this new wave of substances that are analogues of illegal drugs that has been increasing in popularity throughout the world in recent years, i.e. mephedrone (which is now illegal in the UK), MDAI, methoxetamine, 6-APB (Benzo Fury) etc, etc"

Wowzers! Ive never heard of that stuff...sounds pretty crazy! Research chemicals....sheesh...and I thought huffing glue in the school bathroom was dangerous. I hope your friend stops...that stuff cant be good for him.

Here is an old thread from this site that kinda discusses this topic I thought you may find interesting:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Ear--Nose--Throat/Deviated-Septum-from-occasional-Coke-use/show/265488
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I hope your friend gets this worked out.
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480448_tn?1403547723
Everything I have learned and read indicates that damage to the septum is permanent.  The damage can be slowed down with cessation of the snorting, but it cannot be reversed or "grown back".  Really, as far as I can see, the only option to repair the damage would be through surgical intervention (usually a septoplasty).

I'll tell you this too...these new "legal highs" are extremely dangerous.  There is too little known about them, and about long term damage.  I'm sure you've heard the horror stories about bath salts and K-2 (synthetic MJ)?  It's ALL bad.  There are reports coming in of permanent neurological damage, and even the onset of severe psychiatric disorders.  Nothing can be attributed without a shadow of a doubt, because they're too new...but I would guess that in ten year's time, we're going to see a lot of people with some big problems as a result of abuse of these synthetic drugs.

I would strongly suggest that your "friend" seeks help.  Also, just throwing this out there...but if YOU happen to be the friend, it's okay.  You can talk to us here, you will not be judged.  

Hope something happens soon to end this destructive cycle!
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4113881_tn?1401895587
Here's another long thread with some good info on your topic...sorta

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Addiction-Substance-Abuse/Cocaine-Septum-Damage/show/43325
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4113881_tn?1401895587
This is from a doctor...its about Cocaine use but in reference to septum damage. Dr. Robert L. Woods says:

"Cocaine users often snort powdered cocaine up their nostrils so that the drug can be quickly absorbed by fine capillaries which line the nasal passages. Cocaine is toxic to the tissue, but it also acts as an anesthetic agent so the user does not feel the tissue damage. Chronic use can destroy the mucosa as well as erode the nasal septum. The mucosa can regenerate but not the nasal cartilage. "

https://www.healthtap.com/#topics/nose-septum-damage
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again for the replies, this is all very helpful. I started out by reading thread 43325, but thought I'd start my own as my friend's situation is a bit different, e.g. with insufflating 'legal highs' rather than cocaine and taking Roacutance over the past few months.

From all the stuff I am reading, I get the feeling that the septum can make an attempt to recover, but even if it does, it would not be a full recovery. I also think it depends who you are, as everyone is different.

It also seems that the septum is made up of tissue (mucosa) on top of cartilage - is this correct? Once the tissue has been removed, does the cartilage break down just as easily? Or is it more resilient then the tissue (I should imagine)? Obviously that last post suggests the tissue may regenerate, but the cartilage won't.

My friend orders his stuff from this website, which has a myriad of wierd and wonderful products... http://www.benzo-fury.me.uk/. It's kind of a big craze here in the UK as they are a lot cheaper than illegal drugs and don't carry the criminal penalities. But nursegirl6572 has a very good point - they are all synthetic and untested. I don't believe Bath Salts are easily avaliable in the UK, but my friend would probably never try them due to the man in Miami who ate someone's face!

My friend is not an addict and only uses the stimulating/euphoric type substances once a week - just like people have a drink at the weekend, my friend has a drink and a few toots (around 6 lines, 3 per nostril) to make a Friday or Saturday night more interesting. He never does it during the week. It is by no means ruining his life, i.e. he hasn't had a sick day off from work in over a year, he goes to the gym 4 times a week, he's currently studying to get a diploma in Financial Invesment Management... it's just ruining his nose!

It is unfortunate that the Roacutane has accelerated the damage of his septum, but it was probably only a matter of time before it happened anyway. Obviously the best outcome is that he stops now, so he will try to stay clean this weekend and take it from there.

As before, thanks very much for your inputs.
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480448_tn?1403547723
"From all the stuff I am reading, I get the feeling that the septum can make an attempt to recover, but even if it does, it would not be a full recovery. I also think it depends who you are, as everyone is different. "

I wouldn't count on the septum to recover at all, if anything, it will likely just get worse.


It is unfortunate that the Roacutane has accelerated the damage of his septum, but it was probably only a matter of time before it happened anyway.

It is unfortunate, but it's important to keep in mind that he wouldn't have the damage without the snorting,  The Accutane isn't the "cause".  The snorting of these toxic chemicals is.

Obviously the best outcome is that he stops now, so he will try to stay clean this weekend and take it from there.

I think that's a good thing...I think that's the ONLY logical solution.  If something is causing harm, it goes without saying, it should be discontinued.

As for the addiction argument, there are many different ways a person can find themselves addicted.  While I would agree that his usage once a week seems more recreational at this point,  my concern would be his unwillingness to quit, even with the damage he KNOWS it is causing his body...that in itself is a sign of addiction, where a person continues to use a substance with no regard for their health or safety.

Sorry to say, but I think your friend has a problem, and if he already isn't using more than once a week (which it sure sounds like with that kind of damage)...he probably will be eventually.

If you want to be a good friend, I would encourage him to consider stopping all together, as anything that eats a hole through the nasal septum surely can't be a "wonderful" thing.  Like I said before, there is just not enough known about the extent of the risks involved with these new substances, and the info coming in hasn't been good.

If he's not addicted, he should be able to stop using fairly easily.  It's in his best interest to do so...wish your "friend" lots of luck...hope he smartens up before he causes more damage.

I very much think we're talking about you.  We've seen these kinds of posts so many times, where a person has a tough time admitting that it's them with the issue.  Again, please understand that you are among people who care and who will NOT judge you.  No one knows who you are in real life....this is a safe place.   If indeed there is no "friend", I think you would be doing yourself a real favor by just being honest with us about that.  

If there really is a "friend"..then I would encourage him to post for himself...while it's nice to help him...HE needs to seek the information to help himself, not expect someone else to be the middle man.

Best of luck!!
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1235186_tn?1339127464
First step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. It is called addiction. You seem intimately invoked with every detail of your " friends" problem. Just saying...
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4626633_tn?1382600722
These "legal highs" are anything but safe. And if it's doing this much damage to your friends septum with a once a week habit, imagine just how corrosive this stuff really is.

A friend of mine works in a adolescent inpatient center for teens with mental health issues.

She has a patient, about 16 years old, who, for three months now, just sits and rocks, mumbles only a few words, bees, stinging and head.

There is no predicted outcome, as it hasn't been studied enough. They bathe her, and try to get nourishment in her. But that's all they can do, or know to do. But it's a very real possibility she rocks and is uncommunituve for the rest of her life.
She obviously isnt an isolated incident. Her outcome, yes, but problems with the synthetic stuff no.
You brought up the Miami guy. I thought I read he was clean after all, but the point is, if your friend thought something like that could be a side affect, chewing off a mans face, why or why would he risk it?
There are hundreds of stories of a person becoming violent while taking these, even stabbing and killing people. And these people were sane first!
So, your friend may not think he's an addict, it's under control etc, but the fact he thinks he's invincible, and nothing like this can happen to him, is pretty scary.
Tell him septum damage may be the least of his worries. These companies are out to make a dollar. They are constantly changing the ingredients, to stay above the law. Who knows what's in the package.
Also, most alarming, the teen mentioned above, through the health dept interviewing friends and family found that she had done multiple times in the past, and that night, her friends shared the same product. So, it wasn't a bad batch. It was a reaction that has probably ruined her life. It can happen at any time!
Please, please talk some sense into your friend, before it's to late.
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4626633_tn?1382600722
Sorry I didn't clarify:  The mumbling and rocking started during a high, and three months later, is still in the same state.
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Avatar_m_tn
As always, thank you for your replies. My friend stayed clean at the weekend and his nose feels a lot better for it, however, he did drink a lot more so this may still indicate a problem!?

He's still missing some answers though...

"It also seems that the septum is made up of tissue (mucosa) on top of cartilage - is this correct? Once the tissue has been removed, does the cartilage break down just as easily? Or is it more resilient then the tissue (I should imagine)?"

And...

"He would also like to know if there are any treatments to accelerate the healing process - he has identified a saline and aloe nasal spray that thinks may help - does anyone agree or disagree?"

BarbRTR's post about the 16 year old is very scary. I think there is an extremely large variation in the effect of one "legal high" to another - my friend has tried many different ones and can vouch for this. I'm not saying any are safe, but just like a home-made burger cooked on your BBQ is completely different to a McDonald's burger in terms of what it does to your insides, I think if you're to do a "legal high", there are ones you should do and there ones you should avoid at all costs.

I may sound like I'm trying to defend what my friend is doing, but I like to consider every point of view, regardless of a subject matter, so I can be fully aware of those that are good and those that are bad (if that makes sense?).

However, I feel this post is now starting to go off on a tangent. My friend knows stopping completely is the best outcome and he is working towards this, but that wasn't the initial intention of the post...
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