While not every woman will have the same experience with breast implants, this is the story of one woman’s breast implants and how they affected her life.
Adopting a plant based lifestyle has dramatically changed my way of life. After battling melanoma with a total of eight areas for two and a half years, I was able to finally heal my body through the power of plant based foods. Those foods and supplementation such as B12, D3 supplements and the use of non GMO, organic, raw plant-based Sunwarrior protein supplements for pre and post workouts gave aid in recovery. My health began to increase, and my doctors were astounded at the progress I experienced simply by altering my diet. However, after two years of embracing a plant based diet, I began to notice fatigue, hormonal imbalance, bloating, headaches, digestive issues and inflammation throughout my body and in my lymph nodes which began to greatly debilitate my everyday life.
For a plant-based athlete, personal trainer, and health professional, I was concerned at what may be contributing to these issues despite my pristine diet and exercise regimen. A few months after the lymph nodes under my neck began to swell, I noticed a large lump forming in my right breast area. This was quite the concern for me, as my doctors were unable to provide a precise answer of what the lump may be without complete removal of the area.
Since my diagnosis of melanoma, I continue to undergo a series of blood work, body mapping and scans performed every three months to monitor the cancer and my lymph system to ensure I have no reoccurring areas. Due to the newfound breast lump at my routine exam, my doctor also put in for a series of ultra sounds on my breast in addition to a MRI to further investigate what the mysterious lump stemmed from. There had been no significant change in my vegan diet or new stressful event that I knew of that may be contributing to the change in my health. The results from the tests were inconclusive and resulted in a surgery for removal.
The mysterious lump, which the doctors believed to be a tumor, was in fact an inflamed lymph node. It was removed. However, I was a bit concerned for the next few months as my fatigue, hormone imbalances, and digestive issues continued. This, in turn, led to my estrogen, progesterone and luteinizing hormone plummeting. My menstrual cycle became nonexistent for months on end. At 26 years old, this was a horrific experience. I felt hopeless after visiting several endocrinologists, gastroenterologists and oncologists to help find what could possibly be causing this issues. Finally, after seeking out a Naturopath and researching more on my own, I learned how my breast implants may be the cause of my health issues. My breast implants were holding me back from progressing in my healing journey.
I’d had implants in since 2009 and was very happy with them. I had no issues with leaking, pain, or any signs of complications that were physically visible. After my holistic doctor suggested I researched more into health complications that the implants may have contributed to, I was astounded and concerned that this information was not made known to the general public.
Breast Implant Health Complications
Each year, roughly 300,000 women and teenagers undergo breast augmentation for various reasons. Worldwide, this number is roughly between 5 to 10 million. The FDA states the surgery is generally safe and with the popularity of the procedure, many women are unaware of the concerns and possible side effects of inserting the silicone and saline implants into the body. In the past few years, thousands of women nationwide have endured health issues and debilitating autoimmune disorders along with endocrine disruptions. After researching, I was able to locate websites and Facebook forums consisting of thousands of women with the same health issues I experienced due to implants.
Complications with Implants on the Market Today that May Surprise You
Many consumers are unaware that implants have a shelf life anywhere from 7–10 years. Every type of implant, which I will touch base on in this article, is susceptible to leaking, rupturing, fostering mold and systemic fungal growth in the body. While women may be happy with how their breasts may look after surgery, many are unaware that over time, the body may begin to treat the implant as a foreign toxic object and in turn, develop autoimmune responses leading to a host of side effects and illness.
From recent health investigations, the FDA has informed the public that silicone implants are specifically known to result in many more health issues than saline. However, the FDA fails to mention that, in addition to the possible leaking and rupturing, more dangerous side effects may result in autoimmune disorders over time. In fact, implants were originally placed on the market for a total of forty years without approval from the FDA. With limited monitoring, it is often difficult to guarantee safety.
In the 90’s, 450,000 US women took one of the world’s largest silicone manufacturers to court due to health complications after breast augmentation. Many women lost their lives due to the health complications before the court case was ever resolved. The court found these implants to be toxic. In studies following the lawsuit, research found the silicone was easily absorbed into the body (per animal studies) and resulted in tumors in up to 80 percent of the rats that were tested. After these studies were performed and reviewed by the FDA, the silicone implants were still allowed on the market.
Following the implant case, the media announced a scandal with PIP implants in the UK, which hit nationwide news. The PIP implants were found to contain chemicals that were toxic and normally used in production of mattresses and were not approved for human use. The UK banned the implants and offered free removal to all women involved in purchasing them.
Despite the lawsuit of silicone implants in several companies, silicone implants are currently on the market and still neglect to provide any long-term studies on the safety. Many women believe saline to be a safer option. I personally had saline implants, however all saline implants do contain a silicone shell that begins to break down the moment they are implanted into the body. This is inevitable. While not all women may have complications, new findings illustrate a significant number do.
- Ingredients Found in some Silicone Implants
- Methyl ethyl ketone (neurotoxin)
- Cyclohexanone (neurotoxin)
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Denatured Alcohol
- Acetone (used in nail polish remover and is a neurotoxin)
- Polyvinyl chloride (neurotoxin)
- Dichloromethane (carcinogen)
- Ethyl acetate (neurotoxin)
- Sodium fluoride
- Lead Based Solder
- Talcum powder
- Oakite (cleaning solvent)
- Methyl 2- Cyanoacrylate
- Ethylene Oxide (Carcinogen)
- Xylene (neurotoxin)
- Stearic Acid
- Zinc Oxide
- Naptha (rubber solvent)
- Phenol (neurotoxin)
- Benzene (carcinogen/neurotoxin)
- Lacquer thinner
- Epoxy resin
- Epoxy hardener
- Printing Ink
- Metal cleaning acid
- Color pigments as release agents
- Heavy metals such as aluminum (neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s and
- auto immune disorders)
Possible Side Effects of Saline & Silicone Implants
According to Dr. Bruning, many doctors fail to let patients know they may experience the following after surgery over time:
- Tenderness, lumpiness, or discomfort around the implants
- Change in the shape of your breast(s)
- Change in the consistency of your breast, such as increased softness
- Change in the way your breast moves – (all of these symptoms may be a sign your implant has ruptured)
- Hardening of breast tissue
- Muscle pain
- Pain and swelling of the joints
- Pain in the soft tissues
- A burning sensation
- Tightness, redness, or swelling of the skin
- Swollen glands or lymph nodes
- Unusual, extreme, or unexplained fatigue
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Unusual hair loss
- Skin thickening or hardening
- Dry eyes, mouth, or vagina
- Loss of memory, mental confusion or fogginess
- Autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, multiple chemical sensitivity disorder, cancer, and bio toxicity problems
- Endocrine disruptions
Today, we are unaware of what exactly is in the silicone shell of the saline implants or in the silicone implants on the market. Research has even found significant traces of platinum, a toxic salt in the product. After my removal of the implants, my plastic surgeon was not able to provide me with any information, and it is difficult to find any sources online. Fortunately, many doctors such as Susan Kolb and Dr. Edward Melmed are now helping to spread awareness of the health issues involved in breast augmentation and are openly sharing the experiences of thousands of women dealing with these concerns and their health improvements once they are removed. (Please reference materials below for more on these professionals).
Dr. Susan Kolb, who specializes in health complications of women with breast implants and the removal of implants states, “The above list reflects what was in the silicone implants (ALL silicone). It is still possible that that list is accurate if companies are still manufacturing that silicone.”
Today, despite possibly rupturing in 6–10 years after surgery, silicone implants are still available on the market (according to Nancy Burning, author of Breast Implants-Everything You Need to Know).
According to Dr. Susan Kolb, even though saline implants are known to be safer, they do carry a host of health issues. According to Dr. Nancy Bruning, 60% of women will have complications within four years, and 1 out of 5 women will have additional surgery in three years. The average surgeon advises removal every 7–10 years after surgery for proper maintenance as the implant breaks down. Again, this information is inconsistent with normal doctor guidelines and troubling since the FDA fails to regulate the safety and correct protocol for augmentation.
Mold, Fungus & Biotoxins
Mold is a concern with saline implants due to many implants containing faulty valves. Over time, valves tend to leak, but the leaking may be difficult to notice, according to Dr. Kolb & Dr. Mercola: “Once the valve is damaged, especially in certain implants, mold and bacteria can grow inside the implant. If the valve damage causes the implant just to deflate, then the woman will go ahead and get it changed out, and she won’t become ill. But in some implants, the valve injury does not cause the fluid to leak out, but can allow bacteria and especially mold and fungus inside the implant. I’ve had patients who have had mold inside the saline in this implant, a mold called penicillium growing. Whenever somebody hugged them too hard or even [due to] breast exams.”
Dr. Mercola goes on to say, “The patient can become very ill, specifically if she was allergic to penicillin. She would have an anaphylactic-type reaction whenever her implant was manipulated. It can be very, very serious. In general, women who have this bacterial and mold infection in their chests are deathly ill. The mold produces a biotoxin that’s also a neurotoxin. Many of my women come in in wheelchairs. They come in with the diagnosis of MS and lupus together. Fortunately, they have neither. But some of them are incredibly ill. They have severe mental clouding. They can’t even have a conversation.”
In 2014, The National Center for Health Research found risks of breast implants including:
- Patients being four times more likely to commit suicide
- Lowered self esteem
- Back and shoulder pain
- Memory loss and brain fog
- Implant rupture
- Joint paint
- Breast sensitivity and hardness
- Autoimmune symptoms
- In France, officials require a “cancer warning” on all implants, and recently a study conducted by Cambridge University in the UK concluded nearly all ALC (a type of cancer) cases were found in women with implants.
Additional Breast Implant Studies
A study by the National Cancer Institute found women with breast implants (in comparison to other various plastic surgeries) were three times more prone to suffer from cancer. They were also found to be three times more likely to suffer from pneumonia. A few studies have been funded on long term safety of breast implants: one, performed by the FDA, investigated women specifically with ruptured implants and found they were more likely to have fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, thyroiditis, and many other autoimmune diseases once silicone chipped off into scar tissues and lymph nodes, poisoning the body over time.
In 2013, Dr. Zuckerman released a statement from the FDA, without the approval from the Public Advisory Committee, regarding a new type of implant. The FDA admitted studies on this new implant were not as effective to safety in comparison to the other previously approved gel implants on the market. Dr. Zuckerman states,” Unfortunately, (the implant manufacturer) has not done a good job of doing post-market studies once their implants have been approved. And, even if they do these studies, by the time these studies are done to find out what the risks are, hundreds of thousands of women could have these inadequately studied devices in their bodies, and could have been harmed by them.”
I personally had the Saline Natrelle brand of implant by this company with a smooth silicone shell and experienced a host of issues from the implants, as mentioned earlier. These side effects were experienced without any leaking or rupturing; the side effects manifested because of my body’s response to the implants over time.
Removal of Implants
Over 97% percent of women who have had their implants removed noted health improvements, and 96% who did not remove the implants noticed their symptoms getting worse. In my opinion, removing my breast implants was a huge step to healing my body, Incorporating a healthy nutrition plan and exercise program adds to that healing. My immune system is no longer compromised, and I am thankful I was able to find doctors to assist in finding the root cause of many of my health issues. Many women are not advised of the harmful side effects implants may cause.
Society’s Standard of Beauty
“Dr, Frank Vasey suggests that the cosmetic and psychological benefits of implants are so powerful that they keep women in denial, reluctant to even consider the possibility that in order to get healthy, they may have to give up their implants. I find this true even when we experience definite physical symptoms such as pain, tightness, and hardness. Most of us love(d) our implants. We got them because we wanted them; we were willing to undergo surgery for them – some of us many times. Symptoms, no matter how severe, have a tough time outweighing the desire to be whole again or to fulfill our society’s standard of beauty. “– Nancy Bruning
If someone would have told me seven years ago, I would endure health issues or illness due to my implants, I would have never gone through with the surgery. At the time, I was focused on the confidence I would obtain from the change in my body and the “joy” it would bring to my life, or so I thought. To be honest, prior to having the implants and even during the time spent having the implants, I never truly found the sense of accomplishment I was seeking. Now, having them removed and learning to focus on health and loving my body for what it truly is, I have an overall sense of contentment I never dreamed possible.
What I have found through my journey, is each and every one of us in beautiful and unique and accepting that is where confidence and happiness lies. Whether you have implants or you do not, you are beautiful. Living in a society where media heavily influences the perception of “beauty” is difficult. When it is all said and done, happiness is not found in a magic weight loss pill, plastic surgery, material items, money, or fancy vacations. It is found simply by knowing you are intrinsically perfect and have so much to offer the world around you by embracing your inner beauty. By feeding your body nutritious foods, engaging in exercise, and learning to appreciate your true authentic self, nothing will compare to the health and vitality that loving your body, mind and spirit will bring you.
I have learned the happiness I was seeking for in an “ideal” body was inside me all along, and I am hoping to share this information with others who may be going through similar complications. We all have flaws and they are what make us beautiful. After all, normal is boring!
In conclusion, this is my personal experience healing my body of cancer and disease. Not all women who have had plastic surgery may feel the way I do, and even with surgery, many are confident and happy with their decisions and may experience little to no health issues with implants! This article may not pertain to everyone, however, thousands of women are in fact very ill due to toxicity from breast augmentation, and it may benefit consumers to be aware of the pros and cons to undergo such a surgery when many doctors fail to inform clients of the possible long time side effects. I encourage you to please research extensively if breast augmentation is right for you and worth any possible risks. If you do have breast implants, regular checkups may greatly benefit you to avoid any future complications. Remember, you are beautiful just as you are. Whether you decide to go through with surgery or not, happiness is always found within!
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Bruning, Nancy. Breast Implants: Everything You Need to Know. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 1992. Print.
Cool, Lisa. "The Shocking Health Claims Against Saline Implants."
BREAST IMPLANT HORROR LEAKY. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. Kolb, Susan E. The Naked Truth about Breast Implants: From Harm to
Healing: A Spiritual Healer's Journey as a Plastic Surgeon. Savage, MN: Lone Oak, 2010. Print.
"Kristen Philipkoski ." Breast Implant Awareness. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. <Breast Implants: Recovery&Discovery>.
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For additional references please review:
Breast Implants and Health Causes , Dr. Melmed