What Is Breast Implant Illness?

What Is Breast Implant Illness?

Breast implants are a popular choice for many women, driven by various reasons. Unfortunately, a significant number of these individuals are unaware of the potential risks associated with breast implants. With over 300,000 breast augmentation procedures performed annually in the United States for reconstructive and cosmetic purposes, Breast Implant Illness has emerged as a concerning issue affecting numerous women. It is increasingly being referred to as a ticking time bomb within the breast implant community, and the question is not if it will affect you, but rather when.

Breast Implant Illness manifests as a collection of vague and chronic symptoms that arise after undergoing breast augmentation with silicone or saline implants. The onset of these symptoms can occur shortly after augmentation or even more than a decade later. The manifestations encompass various systems in the body, including the endocrine, neurological, immune, gastrointestinal, detoxification, and metabolic systems.

Endocrine System:

  • Thyroid issues: Hair loss, constipation, weight gain, dry skin, low basal body temperature, cold hands and feet, heart palpitations.
  • ADH concerns: Dry mouth, excessive thirst, shocks from static electricity, frequent urination.
  • Adrenal challenges: Low blood pressure, dizziness, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, insomnia, edema, anxiety/panic attacks.

Sex Hormones:

  • Irregular or lack of menses, PMS, mood swings, hormonal imbalance, low sex drive, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Neurological System:

  • Cognitive dysfunction, memory loss, difficulty with concentration, brain fog, blurred vision, sensory loss, tingling, muscle weakness, headaches, tremors, seizures.

Immune System:

  • Viral infections: Mouth ulcers, herpes simplex.
  • Fungal infections: Oral thrush, chronic yeast infections.
  • Bacterial infections: Chronic urinary tract infections, night sweats, gastrointestinal issues.

Gastrointestinal System:

  • Malabsorption syndrome, food allergies/sensitivities, IBS symptoms, GERD, gut dysbiosis, leaky gut.

Detoxification System:

  • Lymph node enlargement, metallic taste in the mouth, foul body odor, premature aging, chemical sensitivity.

Metabolic System:

  • Inability to lose or gain weight easily, blood sugar disregulation, fatigue.

Other Symptoms:

  • Restrictive lung disease, pericarditis, new onset asthma, ringing in the ears, symptoms or diagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme disease.

The onset and variation of symptoms depend on factors such as health status prior to implants, genetic predispositions, overall toxic exposures, and the type of implants used. Common early symptoms reported include fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, joint pain, muscle aches, gastrointestinal disturbances, and recurring infections.

Breast Implant Illness is a complex, chronic condition with symptoms that often span the entire body. Patients frequently endure a frustrating journey seeking answers from various practitioners, receiving multiple misdiagnoses and symptomatic relief medications. The root cause is seldom addressed, and patients may be dismissively advised to seek counseling.

Why Does Breast Implant Illness Occur?

When foreign materials like breast implants are introduced into the body, potential problems can arise. Both silicone and saline implants can lead to issues due to the presence of chemicals, heavy metals, bacterial or fungal growth, and their impact on the immune, endocrine, and detoxification systems.

Breast implants continuously stimulate the immune system, resulting in immune dysregulation. This can lead to a compromised immune system, enabling the overgrowth of opportunistic organisms and the reactivation of dormant pathogens. Silicone toxicity and the chemical composition of breast implants contribute to oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and systemic dysregulation, leading to debilitating chronic illness.

How Do Implants Cause Autoimmunity?

Immune dysregulation and overgrowth of pathogenic organisms create conditions for autoimmunity through leaky gut. Pathogens produce biotoxins that damage the gut lining, allowing harmful substances to pass through. The body recognizes these substances as foreign, triggering an immune response that may lead to molecular mimicry and the development of autoimmunity.

Breast implants, particularly silicone, contain cytotoxic, neurotoxic, and carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals that contribute to inflammation and overload detoxification pathways. The endocrine-disrupting properties of these substances may result in fertility issues, increased endometriosis incidence, and elevated cancer risks.

Saline implants, although filled post-implantation, share a shell with silicone implants and may also lead to complications, especially if the implant's valve is damaged, allowing the entry of microorganisms.

Currently, there is no specific test for diagnosing breast implant illness. Recognizing the pattern of symptoms associated with chronic illness caused by breast implants becomes crucial. Often, patients may appear well externally while experiencing significant internal distress. The condition is frequently misdiagnosed or goes undetected for years.

Plastic surgeons and conventional medical practitioners may deny the existence of breast implant illness, making it challenging for affected individuals to find appropriate help.

Despite these challenges, a holistic approach, starting with en bloc explant surgery and complete capsulectomy, offers hope for reversing breast implant illness. In the next blog post, I will delve into how to restore health after explantation.

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