Updated: Jun 27
The word "detox" gets a lot of buzz in the health world, which can somewhat diminish the true and necessary action that is needed in your body's detoxification system. Like most things in your body, the detox mechanism is complex and connected to many other areas of wellbeing. This is part of what makes it feel inaccessible for some women, how should ladies be supporting detoxification for themselves?
Is forceful detox even necessary for most women? In a perfect world we would say no, a healthy body is an efficient detox machine. Unfortunately, there are so many things interrupting this normal process: inflammation, stress, environmental toxins, and hormone disregulation just to name a few. If you are having any variety of imbalance symptoms your body is likely not detoxing efficiently.
We can have hope, though, as we understand detox through a holistic lens we can look for ways to restore the body to what it already wants to do: function optimally!
We'll start simply with the focus of hormonal detox today. If your hormonal imbalance issues include excess hormones, like estrogen dominance (or its bff, low progesterone), some hormone detoxing is in order. By focusing on hormone detox, you'll have a targeted approach to something that is relevant to your daily life, but you'll be sure to reap the benefits of other systems processing toxins too. Win-win-win, we say.
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Drainage vs. Detox
There is one extremely vital step before detoxing, that many women miss. Releasing the toxic buildup from your organs is not enough, your toxins need a way to get out, which is why drainage is a pre-step to proper detox. If you have ever tried to detox before and gotten sick with nausea, headache, fatigue, stomach pains, extreme weakness or other life-interrupting symptoms, you likely released toxins in your body that did not have a pathway to drain into. See the differences below.
Detox: Pulling toxins and harmful agents out of the individual cell.
Drainage: The mechanism that toxins leave or "drain" from the body.
Prefer to listen to this topic instead? Hear what we have to say about all things drainage and detox inside this podcast episode: How to Detox for Hormone Imbalance
Reducing Toxic Load
If healthy bodies detox well, how can we stabilize the system to help this process out? (out, get it?!) Proper detox is all about releasing and removing the stuff that was never meant to be there in the first place. One strategy to keep in mind is decreasing the amount of toxic load on your body. When your body is not overwhelmed with detoxing endocrine disruptors and food chemicals it can focus better on the task of eliminating excess hormones. Makes sense right?
Some of the things to be mindful of with toxic loading:
Decrease household offenders: beauty and cleaning products, cleaner food sources and cleaner indoor air. Learn more about endocrine disruptors in this episode about nourishing your hormones, HERE.
Practice nose breathing: persistent mouth breathing decreases oxygen and bypasses the helpful filtration system of the nasal passage.
Prioritize better sleep: give yourself the full benefit of nighttime recovery, when optimal cell regeneration allows normal detox to happen gently.
Be mindful of excessive stress: both physical, mental and emotion stress can lead to inflammation, which impedes optimal cellular function, giving your body something more important to manage than gentle and regular detox.
Four Main Drainage Pathways
This is your primary drainage path, so do not pass up colon support in favor of any other drainage pathway. If the body is not getting rid of its waste through regular bowel movements, your entire system is backed up and taxes the other pathways that are not meant to cover that drainage load.
As the liver processes blood, it filters toxins from it and turns them into bile to be eliminated through the kidneys (and from the kidneys into the bladder for elimination through urine). When these toxins build up because of liver insufficiency/weakness, they overflow into the bloodstream to be processed again instead of drained. These toxins can also accumulate in organs that are not set up for detox, which can contribute to damage of the lungs and kidneys, or irritate skin with rashes and inflammation.
Your skin opens its pores to drain by sweating. Sweat is a normal and needed part of wellness for women. Not being able to sweat is an indicator that there is compromise to the detox and drainage system and worth doing some investigation into.
The lymph system is responsible for filtering toxins in fluids that drain from the tissues throughout the body. Some of these toxins include viruses and bacteria, which is why they become swollen when we are sick. There is also a glymphatic system, in which the brain drains into the lymphatic system for toxin removal (many, many hormones are made in the brain). Swollen lymph nodes without sickness, excessive tissue swelling, or chronic inflammation can be a sign of poor lymphatic drainage.
Detox + Drainage Tools
Get to pooping at least once a day!
Increase dietary fiber with more whole fruits and veggies, move your body every day, try digestive enzymes with each meal and add in some magnesium citrate to your supplement routine. Do not underestimate the importance of gut health in this equation either. Women with chronic GI symptoms and hormone imbalances should be especially aware of the correlation between the two. Support your microbiome with fermented foods and probiotics.
Sweat every single day with either exercise of heat!
Utilize cardio workouts that heat you up and get the sweat glands going. Or heat yourself up to sweating status with a sauna or bath. We love this infrared sauna blanket for multiple health benefits, but a super inexpensive and accessible tool is detox baths- we have all the instructions and recipes for this HERE.
Get adequate hydration and monitor your urination for frequent and light colored pee!
Shoot for 4 quarts or 3 liters of clear liquids per day as a minimum. Get the most out of your hydration by adding trace minerals or other electrolytes.
Move that lymph!
Support your system with targeted supplementation!
Free Detox Bath Recipe
A simple and powerful tool you can do easily from home. Help to open up your sweating mechanism and drainage while also pulling out toxins with our 6 natural-medicine bath recipes. Instant download to the simple instructions and all our best tips, found below.
Although we are licensed midwives by profession, we are not YOUR midwives. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice. For more information, click here.