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An illness that not many people know about

#BII #Breastimplantillness

In my previous post, I talked about my current health journey, what I didn't mention is how all my symptoms are interconnected and the driver for my poor health. This driver is my breast implants.

Hundreds if not thousands of women across the world are suffering a silent illness, breast implant illness (BII). Currently, breast implant illness is not a medically recognised illness/disease and implants are still considered safe, despite the multitude of women that have had their health altered due to these "toxic bags". Symptoms associated with BII vary but include anxiety, fatigue, joint/muscle pain, brain fog, hair loss, dry skin/hair, food intolerances, IBS and autoimmune type symptoms/conditions to name a few. It's through support groups that women are learning about the dangers of breast implants, but there are still a lot of women that would be oblivious to the dangers of their implants and suffering from symptoms and illnesses which they don't realise are connected. If you have breast implants or are considering getting them I strongly urge you to join some of the groups available on Facebook.

Once a foreign object is placed in your body, there's no denying that the body will try and break it down. Breast implants whilst considered "safe" contain a multitude of unsafe ingredients such as heavy metals like arsenic and mercury, neurotoxins like acetone and phenol and carcinogens like ethylene oxide. Based on the various chemicals in implants how can they really be considered safe and how can you argue health implications won't occur, when the ingredients are so dangerous. The most worrying aspect of Breast Implants is that so many of them are constantly being recalled due to BIA-ALCL cancer links, yet women with these recalled implants are often not notified and oblivious of the dangers that are in their bodies.

As mentioned in a previous post at the start of this year I started losing my hair and went to the doctors where I discovered I was deficient in Zinc and Vitamin D and had Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. I had been aware of BII for a little while but didn't think it related to me, until this year I hadn't had any symptoms and I had my implants put in by a reputable surgeon in Melbourne, basically, I felt like I was immune from BII and it wouldn't happen to me. I remember being in the car not long after I found out my medical results where I remember BII and it clicked that it could be the issue. However, I ignored it, hoping my problem was something more simple. It wasn't until I spoke to a naturopath that I realised my implants were the cause of all my symptoms. I joined a Facebook page Breast Implant Illness (Australia and New Zealand) and it's here that I realised many women had experienced similar symptoms to me and many more were in a worse condition than myself. My hair loss and nutrient deficiencies were the symptoms that were most common amongst other women. I found no similarities with NAFLD however, that does not mean it isn't related to BII. Liver enzymes are produced to breakdown products, which begs the question were my liver enzymes high because my body was trying to break down my breast implants? AND did the ultrasound actually show fatty deposits or are those deposits part of my implants.. (that one, I'll never know). Lastly whilst hypertension isn't a common symptom either upon a search of the Facebook group I learnt that a lot of women who had high blood pressure had a reduction once they had an explant, some no longer requiring medication.

Basically, I believe my breast implants are the reason I have had so many issues. Hypertension may not be directly caused by the implants but I think the associated stress and anxiety would definitely be a contributing factor. I am super curious to see if I have a reduction when I explant. Current evidence suggests that it isn't enough to remove the implants themselves to resolve BII but the capsule (scar tissue surrounding the implants) must also be removed. After some research, I found a surgeon in Bendigo who I opted to with, he was highly recommended and a lot cheaper than Melbourne surgeons. I am currently booked in for the surgery on the 17th of September. The 17th of September is the day lockdown in Victoria is meant to end, so I don't actually know if my surgery will go ahead. The surgeon has still kept me booked in, but the decision will be up to the hospital upon allowing elective surgeries again they might deem my surgery not important enough and not allow it to go ahead. I have my fingers and toes crossed that there won't be any issues and come the 17th of September I will still be able to have my surgery at a Public Hospital.

There is a huge misconception that women choose to get breast implants for wow factor, to impress people or because they are self-absorbed and whilst this may be true for some women it isn't the case for everyone and there are a lot of women who have implants and you wouldn't even know! I had my own personal reasons as to why I chose to get implants. I got them for my own self-confidence and I don't regret my decision. However, I do regret telling some people about my surgery as people who were meant to be friends found it funny and ridiculed my decision, evoking some embarrassment and unworthiness. Whilst, clearly breast implants are dangerous and have adverse effects having the surgery resulted in a massive increase in self-confidence. After my surgery I ended up quitting my job, ending an unfulfilling relationship, travelling overseas by myself and commencing my degree. Whilst all of these things could have been achieved without implants, the implants gave me the confidence I needed to be able to believe in myself.

Through seeing a naturopath and my own health knowledge I have managed to improve and reduce a lot of my symptoms, my hair has grown back which is such a relief. However, I know that my breast implants are still an issue and whilst the symptoms are manageable at the moment, there is the potential they could worsen which is why have chosen to go through with explant surgery. This surgery will impact me more mentally than it will physically, I will have to come to terms with a changed body which I am not looking forward too. But, I'd rather be healthy and have little boobs than unhealthy and have a full-chest. I wish I had had the self-confidence prior to getting implants and had not been persuaded by an endocrinologist to get the surgery but, again my experience wasn't all negative and I am part of the person I am today due to my implants.

This has not been an easy topic for me to write about and there are still a lot of people in my life who don't know I have breast implants but I think it's imperative to bring awareness to the dangers of breast implants, even if the topic is a little awkward and embarrassing.

I hope this post brings awareness to the dangers of breast implants and that woman contemplating surgery really consider the future impacts that decision may have. I have attached some articles below for additional reading if anyone is interested. If you have any questions feel free to comment below or message me.