What Common Symptoms Should You Expect During a Detox?

Updated on March 22, 2018
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I'm drawn to share what I know about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, animals, and spirituality.


What to Expect During Your Detox

It's natural to feel some unpleasantness when you detox your body. Most humans are bombarded with toxins and pollutants on a daily basis. Add in diet, medications, and recreational activities, and it's no wonder you feel gross during your detox. All those toxins need to go somewhere, and your body wants them OUT!

Here are the most common detox symptoms, which are temporary and generally clear up once the toxins are expelled from your body. You may have all, a few, or none of these symptoms. They may appear random, combined, or with a pattern. When I detox, I always have headaches, fatigue, mood swings, stomach issues and sweating. Occasionally, I have some of the other symptoms listed below. Once you really get in tune with your body, you'll be able to spot the symptoms you typically experience and can treat yourself accordingly to speed up recovery.


Always consult your doctor before detoxing. While the described symptoms may occur during a healthy detox, always err on the side of caution and seek medical attention if you experience any severe or persisting symptoms.

Most Common Detox Symptoms

  • Migraines or headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Boils
  • Dry or oily skin
  • Body odor
  • Muscle soreness and pain
  • Excessive mucus and sinus issues
  • Dry mouth and a feeling of the tongue being coated
  • Cold and flu-like symptoms
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Strange cravings
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas and bloating
  • Acne
  • Excessive sweating
  • Bad breath

What Toxins May You be Detoxing From?

excess salt
white sugar
heavy metals
red meat
synthetic medications
processed foods
All of these things put stress on our organs, changing the way our entire bodies function.


Headaches are common when detoxing. They  are usually due to withdrawal from caffeine, colas, nicotine, sugar, and fried food.
Headaches are common when detoxing. They are usually due to withdrawal from caffeine, colas, nicotine, sugar, and fried food. | Source

Mucus and Sinus Issues

Mucus and sinus issues are usually due to withdrawal from dairy. You may notice when you quit consuming milk that you are suddenly full of mucus—that's normal. Consuming milk causes mucus buildup, and the resulting detox symptom can last up to two weeks. However, it's a really good sign when your body starts expelling this mucus, which is an internal breeding ground for bacteria and disease.


Weight Loss

Rapid weight loss is not uncommon when detoxing. It's not unheard of to lose 5–15 lbs from releasing fecal matter alone! Your body will also eliminate as much sick and diseased tissue as possible. And, everyone knows as your body regulates salt, you will lose weight in the form of water. If rapid weight loss causes you stress (as it does for me), slow down your detox process!

Avoid OTC Pain Relievers

Do not take over-the-counter medications to deal with unpleasant symptoms during a detox, as doing so will only force your body to work harder. Try managing your symptoms naturally with the tips below.

Tips for Managing Detox Symptoms

It's important to understand that when you detox, your body is working very hard to eliminate toxins. You may actually feel quite sick before you start to feel better. Instead of increasing your body's detox efforts, avoid over-the-counter pain relievers and try to manage your symptoms naturally.

  • Slow Down: If you find that your symptoms come too fast or are too intense, you are most likely detoxing too fast. Try slowing down your pace.
  • For Headaches: Try a warm or cold compress on the head and lay down in a dark, quiet room.
  • Stay Hydrated: You must drink plenty of water during your detox—no tap water! Have plenty of fresh filtered or bottled water. You will want to drink half your body weight in ounces of water (this is preferable to practice daily, regardless of detoxing). Herbal teas are also nice.
  • Get Some Rest: When you feel tired, you should listen to your body and rest. Hot showers with skin exfoliation are soothing, and prayer or meditation can help to cope with mood swings or emotional disturbances.
  • Eat Lightly: If possible, eat plenty of broth-based soups, fresh fruit and vegetables, and light meals. If you are experiencing excessive gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, pause food intake and increase your consumption of fresh water.
  • Exercise: If you have the energy for it, do some exercise. Going outside for fresh air and sunshine is also beneficial.
  • Keep Calm: Try to be as relaxed, stress-free, and as peaceful as possible throughout your detox. Stay positive and keep in mind you are restoring yourself to an ideal state of health. Your body wants to be healthy, but thanks to our current lifestyles, it may require some time to do so.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Rebecca


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      • profile image

        Alise- Evon 4 years ago

        Nice hub on detoxing. I am familiar with the Master Cleanse, but reading more on its history was interesting.

        Voted useful and interesting.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

        Very useful information on detox. I have experienced some of the listed items when I detoxed from unhealthy eating habits. I find exercise to help and also saunas when ridding your body of unwanted toxins, as you mentioned. Thanks for the share.