Breast Implant Illness (BII)–Identifying Symptoms

I got pregnant with my eldest when I was 19. In my last trimester, my breasts suddenly grew to about 1000 times their size and quite suddenly and disappointingly sagged. Over the next 2 decades and with multiple pregnancies, my chest would inflate, sag, deflate, sag some more, inflate…well, you get the picture. I was so self-conscious about it that it was difficult being intimate with my husband, completely naked. I realized as I ran up the stairs sans bra, that it sounded like someone was clapping. That was the last straw! I decided to look into breast augmentation.

My thought process toward breast implants

Since I’m squeamish about the idea of anything being implanted into my body, I had settled on a “lift”. Just a little something to perk The Girls up after years of breast feeding and aging. My doctor advised me that manipulating the skin would only leave my chest looking flatter than a man’s. Really?! No thank you…that would defeat the purpose of wanting to feel and look more feminine!

I realized as I ran up the stairs sans bra, that it sounded like someone was clapping.

She convinced me that implants would be the way to go. I was initially disappointed that I didn’t have enough mass to just get the lift, but I resigned myself to studying the pros and cons of saline versus silicone. All negative press regarding breast implants were aimed at silicone, so I felt confident that I made the right choice with the healthier version of saline. What my “Google-ing” and book-reading research didn’t address at the time was Breast Implant Illness or “BII”.

BII Symptoms

I had my breast augmentation surgery in 2010 and felt elated by the results: no more clapping sounds when I ran up the stairs sans bra. Most of all, I just felt better about myself. I kept my surgery on the down-low because I didn’t want people staring at my chest. I’m also not one prone to showing cleavage. So I quietly had my surgery and went about being a woman. By the time we left Europe 2 years later, I could feel that some kind of debilitating sickness had taken over my body. I was crippled by fatigue and exhaustion, my hair was falling out in clumps and my weight climbed. And it didn’t end there. My thyroid and adrenals were noticeably dysfunctioning and I seemed to catch every cold and flu virus around me. I constantly feel bloated and inflamed.

I thought that being diagnosed and somewhat treated for some of these ailments would improve my health. But I was so, so wrong. On paper, I am the picture of health, with minor thyroid issues. In my body, I feel so worn and sick that I have made major overhauls in my life in my attempt to heal. I changed a lot around my house including my cleaning supplies and kitchen. Still, nothing seems to have helped me improve noticeably. I’m still bloated and inflamed, still losing hair, still feeling debilitated by exhaustion.

Healing from BII

I recently came to read about a woman’s path to healing after implants. She’s vocal about her experience with breast implants and it made me realize that I should look more deeply into whether or not I have BII as well. I rabbit-holed myself into countless articles about BII and spent the next few days thinking and praying over this. My gut tells me that I suffer from BII. So what happens now?

I found a doctor in Atlanta who specializes in breast augmentation. He has performed hundreds of explants and is the only doctor whose website addressed the possibility of BII. My surgery is scheduled for April of this year. And of course you already know that I’ll share that experience with you as well.

This is such a private issue…it’s hard to expose myself like that. But that old, but true, saying of, “If it just helps one person…”. I hope my article helps you or someone you know. Leave a comment if you have or had BII and tell me your experience. I would love to know about your path to healing! 

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