← Back to the Library

Breast implant illness


Breast implant illness (BII) is another invisible condition with no definitive diagnosis or prescribed treatment. Many people in the medical profession aren’t even convinced it exists, yet thousands of people with breast implants have experienced autoimmune-like symptoms including fatigue, chest pain, rashes, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, and joint pain. If you deal with an invisible illness, this is probably a story you’ve heard before: We don’t know the full picture, there are lots of differing opinions…and also lots of people with symptoms. A quick 101 on breast implants to give you some context: Breast implants are medical devices made up of a silicone outer shell that’s either textured or smooth and filled with either silicone gel or salt water (saline). Lots (we’re talking hundreds of thousands) of implants are surgically placed each year. And just to be clear, lots of people don’t have any problems with their implants. Another important point: BII is not the same as the very rare immune-system cancer called BIA-ALCL, aka breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This cancer is known to be caused by breast implants, and it has a high cure rate once the implant is removed. This might be the first you’re hearing about this topic, but health issues related to breast implants aren’t new at all. Reports of illness arose in the decades after implants started being used in the 1960s. Between 1992 and 2006, the FDA banned silicone-gel-filled breast implants except for reconstruction and “revision” (aka replacement) due to concerns that they might be linked to autoimmune conditions. When gel-filled implants were allowed back on the market, implant makers were required to do follow-up studies for safety and effectiveness. One study found associations between silicone-filled implants and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and scleroderma—results that were consistent with previously published studies. While the FDA disputed those findings, it has since acknowledged that some people may develop symptoms/pain caused by inflammatory responses and tissue changes when they’re exposed to certain materials in implantable devices. (That’s FDA-speak for “maybe there’s something to this....”) And it is working to establish a National Breast Implant Registry to collect data on breast implant safety that may help identify individual risk factors for complications. That’s a good thing—because if there’s anything more frustrating than developing mysterious symptoms, it’s developing mysterious symptoms that you might have been able to head off…if only you’d had more information. More info = better decisions! Ok, so what should you do if you have breast implants and suspect BII—or have any side effects that concern you? First, discuss them with your regular practitioner or the doctor who did your surgery. Depending on your symptoms, they might suggest that you consult a rheumatologist. It can be helpful to other women if you contact MedWatch, the FDA’s “adverse event” reporting program: call (1-800-FDA-1088) or check out the first website listed below. The ultimate solution is to have the implants removed and not replaced. Many women who’ve done that report that their symptoms improved afterwards. Also, if you’re starting to panic (or even feel anger—that’s normal too), remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Not only should you lean on others, you should share your story, too. Once you find a group of people who get you (and you realize you’re not alone), it becomes easier to use your voice to call for answers about BII. If you feel passionate about this issue, go ahead and speak up! With any invisible illness, that’s the best way to advocate for greater recognition, research, and, eventually (hopefully) a cure.

Wana Activity

People on Wana with Breast implant illness
Start the conversation on Wana!

Videos about Breast implant illness

Books about Breast implant illness

Podcasts about Breast implant illness


Manifestation Babe: Got Breast Implants? WHY I’m REMOVING Mine & How They’ve Been Negatively Affecting My Mindset and Health

Good morning healthy babes! Today’s episode is going to be just a little bit different. I’m going through something right now. It’s having a huge negative affect on my health and my mindset. I can feel it draining all of my energies and really distracting from my business, so I have to talk about it. Today’s shift is about breast implant illness. I want to talk about it because I’m starting to connect my story with other women who are going through the same thing. It’s all over Insta and Facebook, and there are so many women out there experiencing these symptoms - some without even realizing it! The symptoms of breast implant illness can manifest like adrenal fatigue or autoimmune disorders but are actually a sign of something more severe. I was one of those women who spent months denying the possibility that my breast implants could be poisoning me. But this episode is not meant to scare you! I’m here talking about my experience today to remind all of you that you’re not alone. Many of our personal experiences are sometimes actually collective experiences. Whether you were bullied in high school, are struggling with self-esteem issues, or maybe even you have implants too - We. Are. Not. Alone! (add clap emojis instead of periods?) Even if no one in your direct social circle can relate to you, there is someone out there that’s going through the exact same thing. That’s what today’s episode is all about. It’s not here to scare you. I don’t believe in fear mongering. But I do believe in supporting one another, and I’m here to share my personal experience with breast implant illness in hopes of helping other babes going through the same exact thing. In This Episode You Will Learn What it means to have tuberous breasts (8:00) When my symptoms got a little weird (19:25) Why some of us call our implants “ticking time bombs” (37:23) How I finally made the explant decision (41:12) Why I did more of my own research (50:50) Some Questions We Discuss Why is it hard to love your body sometimes? (10:50) What do the symptoms of breast implant illness look like? (20:48) What social media resources helped make my explant decision? (43:05) What different kind of explant surgeries are there?

Join the Wana community

Make new friends, find support, and learn from others. Enter your phone number and we'll text you the app!

Send a download link to your phone.

© 2020 Wana