Model battled mood swings & low libido after being ‘poisoned by breast implants’
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All cosmetic surgery comes with risks, the NHS warns.
But when choosing to go under the knife, many don’t think about repercussions it could have on their life.
This was the case for Stephanie Fernandez, who fell seriously ill after getting a boob job.
She was diagnosed with a rare condition called breast implant illness (BII), which was so severe doctors mistook it for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Thankfully, the 32-year-old from Miami, US, has bounced back after getting the implants removed.
She spoke about her journey with her influencer friend Desy Gato, 24, who supported her when she was recovering.
Stephanie said: "I used to think my boob job was the best investment I’d made in my whole life.
“I was 19 when I had them done and it gave me so much confidence because my left breast was always noticeably bigger than my right.
“Before removing my implants, I thought I was crazy. I’d never heard of breast implant illness so to me my symptoms were so random and no specialist I saw could connect the dots.
“I only heard of BII when I was scrolling on Instagram and came across a post by a friend of a friend who was suffering because of her implants.
“I then read up on the variety of symptoms and joined a Facebook support group, realising that there were women all around the world who were suffering like me.”
What is Breast Implant Illness?
According to the NHS, Breast Implant Illness is a condition that consists of a very broad range of nonspecific symptoms such as hair loss, brain fog, general fatigue, fibromyalgia and other associated conditions such as ME, irritable bowel syndrome, various skin conditions and autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid, SLE and Raynaud’s.
Many of these patients have tried a range of strategies to overcome their ailments, including nutritional advice, changes in diet and a variety of lifestyle changes.
Most of them have reached the conclusion that their breast implants are responsible for their malaise and are requesting an explantation (removal of implants).
Though Breast Implant Illness has been recognised as a condition that affects some patients with breast implants there is currently a lack of good evidence that the breast implants are the cause.
The variety of generalised symptoms reported have made it difficult to ascertain the true features of the illness and so an objective diagnosis can be difficult.
It is believed in some patients, the cause may be psychological rather than physical.
Explantation appears to work for only 50% of patients.
Stephanie continued: “I sat in front of my computer screen and sobbed. My implants were causing my body to attack itself.
"I was also suffering from anxiety with constant outbursts and mood swings, had no sex drive and felt very emotional – which affected my personal life and relationships.
“Doctors kept telling me I was fine but I kept getting more symptoms.”
In November 2020, Stephanie decided enough was enough and contacted an explant surgeon in Miami.
She was quoted $10,000 (around £7,000) to get the implants removed, which could potentially stop her body from rejecting the surgery.
Stephanie couldn’t get the op covered on medical insurance so stumped up the cash herself.
It proved to be worth the money as she feels almost back to normal three months after getting the surgery.
The star documented the whole process from diagnosis to post-op on Desy's podcast, so that other women can learn from her experience.
Desy said: “I wanted to team up with Stephanie to raise awareness of BII, in the hopes that it will encourage others to seek help and push for answers.
“I know a lot of my listeners are influencers and models who have implants.
"It was really important for me to help Stephanie spread the word and as she has been so personally affected.”
Desy donated $200 (around £140) raised from the podcast episode’s sponsorship towards BII research.
And the friends are now planning to jet off to Mexico to celebrate Stephanie’s recovery.
Stephanie said: “I don’t have general anxiety anymore, I sleep better, my food intolerances are gone, my hair that I lost is all growing back and I have such a better energy with my mental health now my physical symptoms are eased.
“Shopping for new bras has been so hard, I can’t wear underwire anymore."
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She added: "I bought a couple of grandma bras, plain with no lace or padding.
“The asymmetry is still there, both boobs are an A cup but one is more of a pancake than the other.
“But it feels so good to go back to being me. I am getting more and more accepting of my little boobs every day.
“I really want women to understand if you are feeling any of these symptoms you aren’t crazy and help is out there.”
- Plastic Surgery
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