8 Common Detox Side Effects

When you detox your body systems, you will suffer from certain withdrawal symptoms and side effects in the initial period of detoxification. Although the detox side effects (or detox symptoms) can be unpleasant, they are just temporary signs that the cleansing is working and toxins are being removed from the body.

In terms of side effects, it depends on which detox diet approach you take. For example, the consumption of organic foods is an easy way to detox your body. When you stop putting unnatural foods into your body, it can start to expel the toxins already built-up.

On the other hand, there is water and juice fasting. These two approaches involve consuming nothing but water and juice respectively. Since the human body relies on the consumption of solid foods, you will experience more side effects. Here are 8 common side effects of a body detox.

1. Fatigue, Weakness, and Lethargy

These three symptoms usually occur simultaneously, particularly during intensive cleansing (anything longer than 10 days). The body is naturally programmed to crave nourishment from solid food, thus the feeling of weakness and fatigue even in the absence of physical exertion.

In addition, your muscles also suffer from lethargy due to the absence of protein in your diet.

  • The best way to deal with these symptoms is to avoid all types of physical labor and exercise. Any attempt to workout or engage in extraneous activities can result to serious complications like dizziness, sudden collapse or loss of consciousness.

2. Headaches

Headaches are common, but they can be a painful and frustrating side effect of detox. There are various different reasons for this side effect, but withdrawal is the most common reason.

Even if you do not consume drugs or alcohol or smoke cigarettes, you may still notice withdrawal symptoms. This is common with caffeine.

  • Even if you only drink two cups of coffee or two cans of soda, your body may have become dependent on caffeine. During a body detox, you need to eliminate these drinks from your diet. The end result could be a mild to severe headache. The good news is that after your cleanse you may finally be free of caffeine, no longer needing it to go about your day.
  • Dealing with headaches caused by detoxing can be addressed in a variety of ways, one of which is through massage therapy. The blood flow in the brain has to be improved in order to ease the pain and tension. It’s important that you keep yourself hydrated.
  • Ice is also a good remedy as the ice cuts pain by reducing swollen vessels that are pressing on the nerves, by overriding pain messages to the brain, which reduces muscle contraction. Cover the ice or cold object with a paper towel or a thin layer of cloth to protect your skin. Then place the ice on the painful area for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Increased Bowel Movements and Frequent Urination

Whether you consume organic foods, fruits and vegetables only, or if you opt for a water fast or a juice fast, a lot of liquids will be put into your body. These liquids are important, as they help to flush your body of toxins. Unfortunately, more liquids equal more trips to the bathroom.

In addition to making more trips to the bathroom to urinate, you may also notice an increase in bowel movements. At first, this may come in the form of diarrhea. As embarrassing as this may be, it is good for your body. Why? Because it is naturally expelling toxins. In fact, the more you go to the bathroom, the better your body detox or cleanse is working.

  • Many individuals wonder if they need to adjust their schedules while on a body cleanse or detox. Not always. With that said, if you opt for a colon cleanse, as opposed to a whole body detox, small adjustments should be made. Colon cleanses with the use of salt water flushes or pills tend to have quicker and more effective results.
  • Be sure to properly hydrate in order to replace all the electrolytes lost. While consuming solid foods is not permitted during a cleanse, drinking copious amounts of water is highly recommended in addition to the cleansing formula.

4. Bad Breath and Coated Tongue

A healthy tongue should be pink. The concentration of acid in the digestive tract can contribute to the onset of bad breath during cleansing. In addition, this can also leave a persistent bad taste on the tongue, which can be quite unpleasant and embarrassing. This also leads to a build up of bacteria and will cause very bad breath.

  • The best way to remove a coated tongue is to perform tongue scraping or tongue brushing. You can pick up a tongue scraper from a chemist or drug store.

5. Persistent Flatulence

Passing gas is a very common side effect of detoxing, since the body attempts to get rid of all toxic substances in any and all forms. This can be particularly embarrassing so it is best to steer clear of crowded places when detoxing.

  • Applying chamomile oil on the stomach can minimize flatulence and prevent the foul odor that comes with it.

6. Nausea

Nausea is another common side effect of a body detox or cleanse. Many people experience this side effect, but the causes for it vary. If you are addicted to something, such as alcohol, caffeine, or cigarettes, you may experience withdrawal symptoms on a cleanse. A common symptom of withdrawal is nausea and vomiting.

  • The Mater Cleanse, water fasting, and juice fasting, all call for the elimination of solid foods. During the first one to three days of your detox, you will experience intense hunger. Although the hunger will pass, you may experience nausea.

7. Intense Hunger Pangs and Cravings

Hunger is the most difficult side effect to handle because it can cause other symptoms as well. Hunger pangs and intense cravings can be expected within the first few days of cleansing as the body struggles to adjust to the absence of solid food, or reduced food consumption.

  • The feeling of hunger will eventually abate after a few days as the body successfully acclimates.

8. Sleep Changes

Many people who are doing a body cleanse experiences changes in sleep patterns. These changes can include nightmares, irritability and mild insomnia. As with other side effects, sleep changes are a direct result of the toxins releasing into the blood stream.


The above mentioned detox side effects are just a few of the many you may experience while on a body detox or cleanse. It is important to remember that the human body and detox plans vary; therefore, you may be side effect free or experience additional complications.