What Happens to Your Body When You Detox

What Happens to Your Body When You Detox

We know that detoxing and withdrawals can be an unpleasant experience, but it’s not so obvious why. 

Our bodies have a few different detox organs that constantly work to keep us healthy, but taking on an intentional detox often means overworking them.

What happens to your body when you detox causes a whole slew of physical and mental difficulties known as detox or withdrawal symptoms.  

Detoxing Introduction

Detoxing is the process of removing toxins from a person’s body. People make a conscious effort to detox for a variety of reasons. 

Some have to detox to pass a drug test mandated by their employer, while others may need a tolerance break. However, many people just want to improve their overall health with more energy, better cognitive ability, clearer skin, a stronger immune system, etc. 

The body has a natural detoxification process, but there are many things you can do to support the process.

The Body While Detoxing

You have to put some work into a detox process, and your body does too. Let’s get into what happens in your body while detoxing. 

Detox Systems

A few organs play a significant role in your detox process.


The liver is an integral part of your detox. It acts as a filtration system, cleansing your blood, metabolizing nutrients and medication, and converting toxins to a substance called urea, which can be passed through the rest of your system. 

But when you consistently take in toxins for a while, your liver gets overwhelmed and stops functioning to the extent of its abilities, resulting in toxin build-up. 

Once you start detoxing, your liver gets kicked back into action; the enzymes in your liver work faster than average to process all the toxins that got stuck in there. 


As soon as those built-up toxins are converted to urea, they’re released to your bloodstream and sent to the next point of conversion; your kidneys. 

Kidneys work as another filtration system, focusing on the toxins in your bloodstream. Blood passes directly through the kidneys so they can pull toxins and excess water to convert to urine and send the rest on its way. 


The skin is not typically the first detox organ that comes to mind, but it is an important one. It acts as a barrier between toxic substances and your body, but it also serves as an exit for toxins. 

Toxins that aren’t removed through your kidneys or colon can be excreted through your skin via sweat. Make sure your pores are nice and open so those toxins won’t be blocked when trying to get out.


Lungs don’t get enough credit for removing toxins, but they release more than just carbon dioxide. On average, we expel over 200 toxic chemical compounds every time we exhale. 

Like the skin, lungs pick up slack from the liver and kidneys. If those two organs cannot release a toxin, it may get carried through your bloodstream, into your lungs, and breathed or coughed out. 

Detox Symptoms

With so much going on in your organs, you’re bound to feel some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Generally, the extra work for your body will make you feel physically and mentally exhausted, so be sure to get plenty of rest while you detox.

Your kidneys need to push out lots of fluids to eliminate all the toxins that are suddenly ready to leave. This can lead to dehydration and secondary symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and more fatigue. Staying hydrated can support your kidneys through the detox and lessen the severity of symptoms.

Excess toxins exiting through your skin will cause an increase in breakouts for a lot of people. This can be distressing to see, but you’ll have clearer skin once the process is over.

Under normal circumstances, your lungs detox by simply exhaling. But, with an increase in detoxification, regular exhaling won’t be enough; you may find yourself coughing up mucus as your lungs rid themselves of built-up toxins.

While some extra coughing is expected during a detox, seek medical assistance if it becomes excessive or you have trouble breathing as these symptoms can become dangerous.

Final Thoughts

While going through a detox, it’s important to understand what’s happening in your body to understand how to take care of yourself during this challenging yet rewarding process. 

The organs that put in the most work during detox are your liver, kidneys, skin, and lungs; the overworking of these organs can result in troublesome symptoms, especially if you aren’t taking care of yourself. 

Whatever reasons you may have for taking on a detox, you’ll have an easier time now that you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.