‘My breast implants left me screaming with pain and bed bound but doctors didn’t believe me’

Nowadays, plastic surgery is more common than ever and many people choose to go under the knife to achieve their dream look.

One of the most traditional procedures is breast augmentation, which involves placing breast implants under the breast tissue or muscles to create a larger breast or improved shape.

One woman who decided breast augmentation surgery was the way to go was Ana Remígio, 47, from north London.

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Ana had her implants placed in 2001 when she was 27 years old. She told MyLondon, “The reason I got my implants is because my breasts became quite saggy after breastfeeding my son, which is normal.

“I met another woman who had implants and she told me she had no problem.

“I talked to a surgeon, made a list of questions, and asked all the right things – but obviously they weren’t telling me the whole truth.”

Little did Ana know that many people claim to experience a range of intense and mysterious symptoms after having breast implants placed.

Ana noticed changes “right after” the operation – she slept more than before and her symptoms gradually worsened over the years.

“I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome,” said Ana. “The worst year of my life was 2018, I felt so bad that I was in bed most of the time, I could hardly work, there were moments when I couldn’t raise my arms.”

The symptoms Ana suffered from were numerous, including chronic fatigue and pain throughout the body

Ana said she often “screamed in pain” despite initially denying that her breast implants were to blame.

“My left chest was in constant pain, it never stopped. And my right one had a very strong pain underneath that came and went. I had to live with that for years – the pain.

“I ended up in A&E because I called 111 and they thought I was having a heart attack because they had chest pain. I tell them it’s chest pain.”

Ana studied the symptoms of breast implant disease (BII) described by Breast Cancer.org as a term used to describe “a wide range of symptoms that may develop after reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation with breast implants”.

The list of symptoms associated with BII includes chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, anxiety, depression, hair loss, and difficulty concentrating, to name a few.

Despite the intensity of these symptoms and the number of women who report having BII, it is not currently recognized as an official medical diagnosis.

According to British government : “Research into breast implant safety has continued around the world for the past 30 years.

“While there is still no definitive evidence or known scientific practice to show that breast implants cause these symptoms, we continue to review the research with our independent clinical experts to see if new evidence comes to light.”

A number of women who have experienced BII, like Ana, are upset that the subject is so poorly understood and believe that there is not enough research on the condition or the support offered.

Ana said that when she reported her symptoms to the healthcare professional, she felt like she was making it up.

“When you see a doctor, the symptoms you’re having aren’t linked to your breast implants, so it’s worse,” she said.

“I had a doctor who asked me, ‘Do you think about diseases a lot?’ And that totally crushed me, that made me never to go to the doctor again, because what’s the point if they think it’s all in your head? “

There is also a specific form of cancer known as BIA-ALCL that is directly related to breast implants that Ana claims she was not made aware of prior to her surgery.

Ana told MyLondon that she felt the doctors weren’t taking her symptoms seriously

In order to get rid of the “unbearable” symptoms, Ana finally decided to have the implants removed.

“I did this privately – I applied for funding from the NHS and even with a letter from a breast surgeon acknowledging the link between implants and chronic fatigue syndrome it was turned down.”

Ana was forced to use a credit card to have the surgery.

To others considering getting breast implants, Ana has one thing to say: “I would tell them exactly that – if it were me, I wouldn’t.”

It encourages people to “do their own research” before undergoing a trial.

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Ana is part of a large online network full of other people with BII and the group is fighting to raise awareness about BII and has two different goals.

The first is getting a proper “informed consent” in place prior to breast implant surgery, which means that patients need to be educated about the risks and complications associated with breast implants.

Your second goal is to better educate health professionals to understand when breast implants are making you sick and how to treat them appropriately.

You can find more information about breast implant disease here

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