Eight years after getting her breast implants, Mrs J found herself lying in an operating theatre, waiting anxiously for the surgeon to remove them.
“Implants weren’t something I planned for,” says the mother of four, who decided on going from C cups to double Ds in 2011. “But I’ve breastfed my kids and felt my boobs could look better.”
It wasn’t until several years later that she experienced a range of strange symptoms. “I was bloated and tired all the time, and I had this intense itch on my upper arms, but there was no rash.”
After taking her complaints to the gynae and getting several tests done, Mrs J was diagnosed with low DHEA and testosterone. Her thyroid, according to the results, wasn’t functioning properly either. This spooked the woman, who was a relatively healthy person who didn’t drink.
“I researched to find out what it could be,” she said. “But there seemed to be few answers until I found a Facebook group.” In it, hundreds of ladies who had breast implants had come forward with stories of similarly terrifying, and occasionally vague, symptoms, from chronic fatigue and chest pains to hair loss and headaches.
Called “Breast Implant Illness and Healing by Nicole”, the group hit 100,000 members by late 2019, making it the largest group dedicated to implant-related illnesses.
A mysterious malady
It wasn’t so long ago that the world watched transfixed as Pamela Anderson ran slow-mo in the opening scenes of Baywatch. Celebs were flaunting their gravity-defying mounds as casually as they were their Birkins, making it a must-have accessory among the masses.
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