Faima Bakar, Metro News: March 11, 2019.
Erika Rae Ritschard had surgery seven years ago to get implants to increase the size of her breasts to double Ds.
But after the cosmetic procedure, the 28-year-old noticed that she was experiencing anxiety and depression.
The mum-of-three from Mississippi, says she had symptoms which included weight loss, heart palpitations, memory loss, extreme fatigue, skin rashes, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal feelings.
As a result, Erika decided to get rid of the sillicone implants as she believed they were poisoning her. She paid $5,000 (£3,831.30) for the explant procedure.
The photography editor believed she was suffering from ‘breast implant illness’ after stumbling on a Facebook support group for the condition.
Although there is no official connection between breast implants and the condition known as ‘breast implant illness’, thousands of women have joined online support groups reporting similar symptoms.
‘It’s horrifying to think that what I had chosen to put into my body was making it wither away.
‘I wanted to cut them out of myself. During my worst times, I even contemplated suicide.
‘After breastfeeding two babies and losing some weight, I wasn’t really into the appearance of my breasts.
‘My husband told me I looked perfect but I was really set on getting implants. I felt like I had given my body to my kids and this was something just for me.
‘Within three months, I was dealing with anxiety and depression.’
She reported going to the ER over extreme migraines, she lost 40 pounds, had aching muscles and her hair also became very brittle.
Erika says she was tested for parasites, had pelvis and stomach ultrasounds, MRIs and CAT scans but doctors never diagnosed her.
A few years later, Erika came across Facebook group Breast Implant Illness and Healing and felt like she finally had her diagnosis.
She said: ‘The description in the group fitted with exactly what I was experiencing. I felt like I was reading about myself.
‘I thought: “Holy crap, that’s why the doctor can’t find anything wrong with me!”
‘I posted a bit of my story on the page and hundreds of women wrote to me and said it was definitely breast implant illness.’
Just three months later, Erika had her breast implants removed at a surgery in Alabama.
She said: ‘I immediately felt myself again but at first I was worried it was the pain medication I was on after the operation.
‘But two weeks in, I knew this was a real heal. I put on forty pounds in four months. All my muscle pain was gone. I could sleep through the night.
‘My skin was soft again, no more alligator patches. All of my symptoms subsided in the first two months.’
Dr Diana Zuckerman, President of the National Center for Health Research in Washington D.C, said that just because breast implant illness is not recognised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it doesn’t mean that the condition is not real.
‘When there’s a new pattern of a group of symptoms that seem to all cluster together for a group of people it often takes a long time until the medical community accepts that it is a real thing,’ said Dr Zuckerman.
‘We certainly have seen and talked to many women who have experienced this cluster of symptoms that are referred to as breast implant illness.
‘What they have in common is that they are symptoms that could be caused by their immune system going out of whack.’
See original story here.