What Are the Side Effects of Whole Body Cleansing?

Whole body cleansing is a regimen that generally lasts seven to 10 days. According to the Mayo Clinic, these programs usually consist of a strict diet of juice, water, raw fruits and vegetables, and supplements. Whole body cleanses can produce some serious side effects. Although many people use detox programs to purge their systems of toxins, the Mayo Clinic says that there is little evidence to support this claim.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Many people who embark on a whole body cleanse experience gastrointestinal issues. According to the book "Weight Success for a Lifetime," these symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Gastrointestinal issues can be quite serious because they can quickly lead to dehydration, which is something to avoid if you're already in a weakened state. Drink plenty of water and supplement your cleanse with electrolyte-rich beverages such as sports drinks if these symptoms last more than a few hours. If they persist for more than a day or two, it's advisable to halt the cleanse. See a doctor if the symptoms don't stop after you resume a mild diet. Do not exercise while you're participating in a full-body cleanse, as that can further exacerbate dehydration issues.


Headaches are a common side effect of whole body cleanses, particularly those that include little in the way of nutrition. They are your body's way of telling you that it requires sustenance. Though you may expect headaches during a cleanse, if they worsen over time or include blurred vision and lightheadedness, it's time to break the cleanse. "Simple Cleanse: The Weekend Cleanse and Intestinal Health" advises those with extreme symptoms such as these to drink some juice and eat 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice. If the symptoms go away soon after, you may continue the cleanse if you desire. If they do not, gradually ease yourself off the diet by eating more brown rice, along with half a banana, every two hours until you feel better.


Fatigue during a whole body cleanse is related to your body's plummeting blood sugar, as well as its lack of fuel to perform simple tasks. "Simple Cleanse: The Weekend Cleanse and Intestinal Health" says that you will probably require more sleep during a detox diet because your body can tolerate less stress and activity. If the fatigue is accompanied by fainting, dizziness or heart palpitations, stop the cleanse immediately and see a doctor. These issues can be symptoms of serious health problems and need to be checked out by a professional.