Do You Suffer from Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?

More and more women are complaining of symptoms they suspect might be related to their silicone breast implants — symptoms attributed to what is being referred to as Breast Implant Illness (BII). One Facebook Group devoted to the illness has more than 50,000 members, all of whom claim to be suffering from a variety of BII symptoms, which we list later in this post.

While a number of studies show no clear link between silicone breast implants and many of the symptoms being reported, at BioDesign Wellness Center, we believe that this is a serious health issue. So, when  women tell us they think what they’re experiencing is related to their implants, we listen.

Breast Implant Illness Image

First of all, the silicone used in breast implants doesn’t exist in nature. To the contrary, it is a chemical composition created by hydroxylating silica to form polydimethylsiloxane. And while this isn’t a highly toxic substance, it remains a foreign substance that is not biologically inert.

Several studies have demonstrated varying levels of IgG antibody reactive to this substance in humans. One study in particular — Human Immune Response To Polydimethylsiloxane (Silicone): Screening Studies In A Breast Implant Population — concluded, “Test results showed that patients with implants demonstrated statistically significant elevation in anti-silicone antibodies compared with the unimplanted control groups.” This evidence clearly shows an immune response, which has the potential to trigger inflammation. And that can cause or contribute to many of the symptoms women are reporting.

Unfortunately, even with this evidence, conventional medicine does not recognize BII as an official medical illness and has established no diagnostic criteria for this illness.

Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

Women who suspect that they are suffering from Breast Implant Illness report a wide range of symptoms, including the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Body odor
  • Brain fog
  • Chest pains
  • Chills
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Hormonal issues
  • Joint pains
  • Memory loss
  • Neurologic issues
  • Problems sleeping
  • Rashes
  • Sensitivity to light and sun

Potential Causes of Breast Implant Illness

The reason conventional medicine does not recognize Breast Implant Illness (BII) as an official medical illness is its claims there is insufficient evidence to prove that silicone implants are the cause of the above reported symptoms. This reasoning strikes us as irrational and unscientific — especially in light of evidence cited earlier connecting silicone implants to an increase in IgG antibody reactive to silicone in women with implants.

BII symptoms are likely to be caused by one or more of the following:

  • An immune/inflammatory reaction to a foreign substance in the body — silicone or other chemical components of implants
  • An immune/inflammatory reaction to the surgical implant procedure.

Additional evidence that silicone implants may be the cause of reported symptoms comes from a U.S. Food & Drug Administration report title Risks and Complications of Breast Implants, which indicates, “In some cases, removal of the breast implants without replacement is reported to reverse symptoms of breast implant illness.”

What to do if you suspect you may have Breast Implant Illness

If you have developed unexplained health symptoms since receiving breast implants, we encourage you to schedule an evaluation with a doctor who recognizes the connection between implants and symptoms. At BioDesign Wellness Center, we can order lab tests to evaluate whether your breast implants are the likely cause of your symptoms. If results show an immune/inflammatory response to the implants or a component of the implants, we have treatment options to help calm down that response. We can also help you decide whether a surgical consultation would make sense to determine whether surgical removal of the implants could be beneficial.

Regardless of whether your symptoms are related to your implants or to something else entirely, it is important that you see a doctor who can identify and treat the root causes of whatever is ailing you, so you can get back to feeling your best and return to the activities you enjoy. Allowing immune/inflammatory responses to persist, untreated, often results in a worsening of the condition and makes it more resistant to treatment.

If you’re interested in consulting with us here at BioDesign Wellness Center — Tampa’s functional medicine practice — about a link between how you’re feeling and the possibility that you may be suffering from Breast Implant Illness, please contact our customer experience manager, Lori, at (813) 445-7770 to schedule a consultation.

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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about Breast Implant Illness is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at BioDesign Wellness Center, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.