Detoxing and cleansing have become popular ways to jumpstart weight loss, improve health, and feel better. Many people use detoxes and cleanses to reset their diet or get rid of built-up toxins in their body. Detoxes and cleanses can take many forms, but they often involve limiting your diet to liquids or avoiding certain food groups for a set period of time.
As your diet changes during a detox, so will your bowel movements. Detox poop can look different than regular poop since your digestive system is expelling different things. Here’s what to expect when you cleanse or detox.
What is detox poop?
Detox poop refers to feces during or after a detox or cleanse. Your poop can provide clues about how your detox is progressing and whether your body is eliminating waste effectively.
On a detox diet, you may have bowel movements that are loose, more frequent, smellier, or differently colored than regular poop. This is because cleansing foods and colon cleansing supplements affect your digestive process.
For example, foods like fruits and laxative supplements make poop loose because they contain fiber and compounds that add bulk and moisture to stool. Cleansing supplements containing herbs, teas, enzymes, or minerals may change stool color and texture as they pull waste out of your colon.
Common characteristics of detox poop
Here are some things you may notice about your poop during a cleanse or detox:
Stool color often changes on a detox diet. Beets, green drinks, juices, herbs, enzymes, and some supplements can tint your poop red, green, blue, purple, yellow, brown, grey, or black.
Dark green poop may indicate your cleanse is causing a rapid transit time through your colon. Light green or yellow hues point to fast upper GI tract transit.
Seeing white or clay-colored stools could mean your liver and gallbladder are congested from the detox. This prevents bile from being released to color stool brown.
It’s normal for poop to have an unpleasant odor due to bacteria and gases produced by digestion. But on a detox, smells might be more extreme or unfamiliar.
Food sensitivities uncovered by your cleanse can make poop smell foul. Probiotic supplements can bring a sour or yeasty odor. And detox supplements make cause poop smells you’re not used to.
Oily anal leakage
Some detoxes use herbs that stimulate bile flow or draw mucus out of your colon. This can cause oily, greasy-looking stools or discharge when you’re not pooping.
Supplements like cascara, aloe, and bentonite clay have laxative effects that can lead to anal leakage or slippery poop. The oiliness comes from excess fat and mucus being excreted.
Toxic overload and constipation can trap gas and stale waste in your colon. Effective colon cleansing can lead to poop that contains undigested food, old fecal matter, or parasitic worms.
You may notice odd bits, cloudy spots, or stringy blobs in the toilet or peeking through loose stool. This is a sign your cleanse is doing its job drawing out debris.
Diarrhea and loose poop are common on cleanses that restrict your diet or contain laxatives. Fruit, juices, teas, fiber supplements, magnesium, and aloe vera have a loosening effect.
Watery poop helps your body quickly eliminate waste and toxins. But diarrhea longer than 2-3 days can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink fluids and get enough electrolytes.
Urgent bowel movements
Needing to poop frequently or suddenly is also common when cleansing. Loosening and prokinetic agents make waste move faster through your intestines.
If you feel constantly stressed about where the nearest toilet is, adjust your cleanse plan. Fiber and laxatives may need to be tapered down or avoided if urgency persists beyond the first couple days.
When to see a doctor
Changing poop is normal when you alter your diet and supplements. But some detox symptoms could be signs of issues requiring medical attention:
- No bowel movement for 3+ days
- Blood in stool
- Severe bloating or pain
- Dizziness, fatigue, or fever
- Need to go but can’t poop
- Diarrhea lasting over 3 days
See your doctor if detoxing causes severe side effects or symptoms that concern you. They can check for underlying conditions and help you get back on track.
Tips for healthier detox poop
You can help your body eliminate waste more comfortably by keeping these tips in mind during a cleanse:
Drink enough non-caffeinated, non-sugary fluids to replace those lost from pooping frequently. Water, herbal tea, and broth help prevent dehydration.
Probiotic foods or supplements populate your gut with “good” bacteria to support healthy digestion and bowel function.
Include soluble fiber
Getting some fiber from fruit, vegetables, psyllium husks, or cereals can produce bulkier, softer poop that’s easier to pass.
Avoid gut irritants
Coffee, alcohol, processed foods, sugar, and artificial sweeteners can further upset your tummy. Stick to plain foods.
Take digestive enzymes
Plant-based enzyme supplements help properly digest fibers, fats, proteins and carbs for fewer detox symptoms.
Try activated charcoal
This absorbent supplement relieves gas and diarrhea to make detox poop more comfortable.
What your poop should look like after detoxing
Once your cleanse is over, your poop should go back to its normal consistency, color and frequency. Healthy, regular poop is shaped like a tube or snake and about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. It should be S-shaped and sink to the bottom of the toilet.
However, everyone’s bowel habits are a little different. As long as you don’t strain or experience discomfort, your poop is likely a normal consistency for you. The University of Bristol developed a visual chart that shows common variations in healthy poop (see below).
|Poop Chart Type||Description|
|Type 1||Separate hard lumps similar to nuts|
|Type 2||Sausage shaped but lumpy|
|Type 3||Sausage shape with cracks in the surface|
|Type 4||Smooth, soft sausage shape|
|Type 5||Soft blobs with undefined edges|
|Type 6||Fluffy pieces with ragged edges|
|Type 7||Watery with no solid pieces|
Poop types 1, 2 and 3 indicate constipation, while 4 and 5 are ideal stools. Type 6 may mean mild diarrhea, and 7 reflects severe diarrhea needing treatment.
Post-detox poop should match your “normal” type before cleansing. If stool remains loose or you develop constipation, slowly transition your diet and see your doctor.
It’s common to have strange and smelly poop during a detox, thanks to dietary changes, supplement effects, and accelerated toxin elimination.
Look out for extremely loose stool, severe urges, or other distressing symptoms. With ample hydration and a gradual detox plan, your bowel movements should return to normal after cleansing.
Pay attention to clues from your poop about your detox process. And when in doubt, consult a doctor to make sure any troubling symptoms are addressed.