The number one concern when doing a detox cleanse is, “Will I experience side effects”? It is important to know that there are 5 normal ‘side effect’ symptoms. Knowing these are a normal part of detoxification will help to alleviate worry. Anything outside of these 5 symptoms may be a sign that a different reaction is happening in response to the ingredients or dose used. Often, detox symptoms are heightened during a cleanse because most people also choose to eat better and eliminate some bad habits like drinking alcohol at the same time.
5 Signs You Are Detoxing
Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine Mark Hyman, MD shares that anytime you detoxify and take toxic foods/drinks out of your diet, “…you may initially have uncomfortable reactions like feeling achy, flu-like feelings, irritability, nausea, headaches, brain fog, constipation, hunger, itchy skin, fatigue and sleep difficulties.” Below I explain why these symptoms can happen while detoxifying.
1. Fatigue & Disrupted Sleep Patterns
Stimulating the body to purge toxins requires a larger internal workload than the body is used to. This creates fatigue and sometimes disrupted sleep. Expect to feel more tired and respond to the feeling by resting more than you normally do. Take naps when you can and get to bed at the very latest by 10pm. Go to bed with a plan to get a full 8 hours of sleep a night. When you are sleeping, your body is able to work efficiently at repairing and cleansing itself. Scheduling more rest that you are used to will help ensure you are getting enough down time, so that if sleep is disturbed you are still getting in enough rest.
Adding any additional tasks may cause the fatigue to be worse. Stick to a moderate exercise routine, don’t overdo it. Increasing your workload is not beneficial to the workload required of your body during detoxification. Stress in any form, whether physical, emotional or mental, is counterproductive.
A dull, prolonged headache is one of the most common detoxification side effects. Headaches during detox are most common in the afternoon and evening, as the body has been active all day. One reason this happens is because you have altered your normal daily routine and most likely ditched some bad habits such as drinking alcohol, caffeine, smoking or cutting out sugars or processed foods, etc. This creates a situation of withdrawal, which can cause a headache, as your body is no longer receiving these.
Second, you will find you will need to urinate more frequently and may perhaps experience loose stools, both of which can be dehydrating to the body. It is commonly understood that dehydration causes headache, and that liver cleansing can cause dehydration. Researchers from the University of Connecticut published findings in The Journal Of Nutrition stating that “degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty, lower concentration, and headache symptoms resulted from 1.36% dehydration in females… especially during and after moderate exercise.” This study’s finding prove the importance of hydration, given the necessity of daily moderate exercise and periodic healthy detoxification on your fertility journey. It is imperative to drink a lot of water, that being a minimum of 8-10 full glasses of filtered water daily, so as to prevent even mild dehydration.
3. Frequent urination, Loose stools & Digestive upset
As discussed under number 2, urination and loose stools are some ways the body eliminates toxins. Some of the herbs in a cleanse may be slightly diuretic, which stimulate the body to urinate and have a bowel movement.
It can be a shock to the digestive system to introduce herbs, nutrients, more fresh, whole foods, while eliminating processed foods and bad habits. The stimulation of purging toxins and excess hormones also stimulate more frequent digestion and the body works hard to get rid of the bad stuff.
This is why hydration and eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet is so important, while including a whole food multivitamin. These will help ensure you are replenishing nutrients. A great way to support your digestion while doing a cleanse is to drink fresh vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies.
The change in diet and lifestyle, along with the introduction of herbs and nutrients, may cause some slight nausea.
The best ways to avoid nausea are through hydration, dietary choices, resting more, and taking capsules with a little food and water. This should pass in a few days. If it advances to vomiting, something else may be going on. See signs and symptoms you may be detoxing too quickly below for more information about this.
When choosing to do a cleanse, it is important to eliminate poor dietary and lifestyle habits such as drinking alcohol, caffeine, processed sugary foods, and smoking. Eliminating stress is also an important part of cleansing. Changing diet and lifestyle practices can create a situation of temporary withdrawal. This will most definitely trigger cravings associated with those areas you have changed and eliminated. For example, if you drank coffee every morning, it makes sense that your body, being used to that, will desire it once again.
Signs and Symptoms You May be Detoxing Too Quickly
Sometimes the body tries to expel toxins faster than they can be properly eliminated. When this happens, more serious symptoms may appear. These are a warning of caution by your body to slow down and change what you are currently doing. These symptoms include rash, flu-like symptoms and, very rarely, vomiting. Any of these symptoms may also be a sign of a reaction to one of the ingredients in the cleanse and it may need to be discontinued.
- Barton-Schuster, D., CH, Doula. (n.d.). Support Full Detoxification During The Fertility Cleanse. Retrieved from: https://natural-fertility-info.com/support-full-detoxification-during-the-fertility-cleanse.html
- Hyman, M. (2016). 8 Tips to Ease Detox Discomfort. Retrieved from https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/05/12/8-tips-to-ease-detox-discomfort/
- Khalil, S. I. (n.d.). Body Detoxification – Some Common Detox Side Effects. Retrieved from: https://hubpages.com/health/Body-Detoxification-Some-Common-Detox-Side-Effects
- Armstrong, L.E., Gain, M.S., Casa, D.J., Lee, E.C., McDermott, B.P. et al.(2011, December 21). Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/142/2/382/4743487