Chronic yeast infections, chronic sinusitis, fatigue and anxiety are just a few of the many symptoms that Kate Back experienced after getting breast implants. When a friend noted that Kate’s symptoms may be a result of breast implant illness, she was hesitant to believe it because it threatened the thing that made her feel beautiful. However, upon reading the stories of other women who had suffered from BII, Kate knew that her implants had to go.
Tell us about your explant journey.
Six months ago I found out one of my implants had ruptured. Initially, I wasn’t too phased. Until, not long after implanting, I started getting strange symptoms even though I wasn’t sick. I started experiencing asthma, to the point that I was taking Ventolin every 2-4 hours. My eyes were severely bloodshot like I had been smoking pot all day. I was experiencing vertigo randomly. I had five yeast infections within six weeks and I just generally felt unwell, fatigued and miserable.
My BFF suggested it may be Breast Implant Illness (BII), which was something I had never heard of, but I was resistant to this at first. What made me feel beautiful and womanly was being threatened with my deepest values around health. Once I saw that all my health issues for the past 3 years were all similar to over 100,000 other women’s BII symptoms, I knew they had to go.
Seven weeks ago, I had a bilateral en bloc capsulectomy to remove my implants. The surgery normally takes 2 hours, but mine took 3 hours and 46 minutes because the rupture was so bad it was like it had “exploded.”
Within days I saw my symptoms improving. My asthma is now gone! Vertigo, gone! The bloodshot eyes, gone! Yeast infection, gone (without conventional tx).
I still have a lot of healing to do, but my symptoms resolving in such a short time post-explant is enough proof for me that my implants were slowly poisoning me.
Aesthetically, I still have days where I struggle with my post-explant body, but I’m trying to embrace the natural me, the body who housed and fed 3 babies (twins in that), and the body who serves as a vessel for my soul.
I don’t pass judgment on anyone who has/will get breast implants because I’ve been there, and I understand. I’m just sharing a side of the BII story that I never knew and most never hear.
What type of implants did you have?
Smooth, silicone 400cc
What surgeon did you explant with?
Mark Baldwin from Horizon Plastic Surgery, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
I began experiencing symptoms six months after implanting.
What symptoms did you have?
Chronic yeast infections
Dry skin and hair
Food intolerance to 22 foods
Swollen, sore lymph nodes
Shortness of breath
How did breast implants impact your life?
I didn't realize until a few weeks before my explant that they were contributing to my health issues. So I can honestly say up until that time I did enjoy having them. But once I learned about BII and stopped resisting the obvious, I knew deep in my core, that they were a major player in my ill health. Once I knew that there was no doubt in my mind that they had to go. It was a terrifying and heartbreaking decision because I really did love how they looked and felt. My health will always be more important than my appearance, and I'm proud of myself for putting my health first. It was also important for me to be a good role model for my 3 daughters and hopefully, when they are older, my experience and story will make them think twice before ever considering cosmetic surgery or doubting their natural beauty.
What was surgery like for you?
The surgery went for almost 2 hours longer than normal as my rupture was so bad it was like it had "exploded" and my surgeon supported my need to have them out and that it was a total en bloc capsulectomy with nothing left behind, so he ensured that absolutely nothing was left inside me. Recovery was as expected. I was off pain meds by day 4 and felt pretty normal again after about 2 weeks.
How are you doing now, after explant?
Physically I am ok. It still hurts 2 months on, for my little daughters to cuddle into my chest but hopefully that will subside over time. Mentally I am ok too. I can't say that I'm in love with my explant boobs but I don't hate them either. They're me and I'm ok with that. I was scared for my confidence in front of my husband but surprisingly I am ok and I don't mind being naked in front of him. My asthma has gone, yeast infections haven't returned, vertigo has gone and my eyes are clearer than ever. However, most of my other symptoms are still lingering, they aren't as bad but they are still there. I am in the process of detoxing, healing my body within and creating equilibrium again.
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
I read so many posts of other girls saying their symptoms were gone in a matter of days and weeks, which gave me hope. But, as a student naturopath and an integrative health practitioner I know that isn't the norm and it takes a good 4 months of treatment and proper detoxification to get that full "true" healing effect. I think its important for women who do decide to explant to know that and accept that it is a healing journey and that they should work with a practitioner that can help get them through this process safely while getting optimal results.
Also, if they have a partner, don’t doubt their love for you. They fell in love with who you are, not the fake bolt-ons on your chest. Feeling and seeing my husband’s love not change the slightest bit after having them removed, is the best feeling. I love him more for that now.
And if you don’t, the man who falls in love with you will fall in love with you for you. If they don’t, they're not worth it.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
If I had known about the possibility of BII, I would never have had implants put it in to start with. I hope my experience and sharing my story can help other women make a true informed decision.