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Breast implants made me suffer with mystery illness that made me go blind

A mother from Norwich, Norfolk, endured years of suffering from a perplexing illness that left her temporarily blind. Danielle Sheehan, now 32, had undergone breast implant surgery at the age of 19 after winning a £5,000 beauty makeover.

Little did she know that this decision would lead to a series of health problems in the years to come. Danielle experienced hair loss, chronic fatigue, eczema, and inflammation, but she couldn’t determine the cause.

She sought medical help multiple times, even ending up in the emergency room when she lost her eyesight. Doctors initially suggested her symptoms might be due to an autoimmune condition or excessive stress. However, Danielle began to suspect that her breast implants were the root cause of her illness.

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The concept of breast implant illness (BII) gained her attention when she stumbled upon discussions online. She noticed others with similar symptoms, including rashes around the eyes, were attributing their health issues to their breast implants. It was a revelation for Danielle, as her symptoms aligned perfectly with those described by others.

Following the removal of her implants, Danielle’s symptoms disappeared within weeks. The transformation was so remarkable even her surgeon was taken aback by the before and after pictures. The rash on her face vanished just two hours after the explant surgery.

In January 2020, the government released information acknowledging the potential link between breast implants and reported health problems, while stating that more research was needed to establish a definitive connection.

It said they did “not know if there is a link between breast implants and the reported health problems” – but did not rule it out.

Danielle’s decision to get breast implants in 2010 was motivated by her career as a model. However, she soon began experiencing eczema flare-ups, which persisted despite various treatments. Doctors attributed her issues to stress, but Danielle took matters into her own hands, testing herself for food allergies and high cortisol levels. She made dietary changes and even adjusted her water filter system, all in an attempt to alleviate her symptoms.

She said: “After I had my son and over the last year, I had constant eczema, weeping skin and dry eyes – I ended up in A&E because I couldn’t see. Doctors told me they thought it was stress due to being a new mum and going through a breakup.

“I stumbled across other people talking about breast implant illness and saw they had rashes around their eyes the same as mine, it was like a lightbulb moment.

“My symptoms were all exactly the same – I had rashes, a low mood, I felt like I was slowly dying, and I just didn’t feel well at all. Even the surgeon was shocked to see the before and after pictures following the explant – two hours after the surgery [the rash on my face] was gone.”

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When Danielle came across stories of breast implant illness online, she started to connect the dots. Although the doctors she consulted were unfamiliar with the condition, they conducted an ultrasound to check the integrity of the implants, which turned out to be intact. While immunosuppressants were offered as a potential solution, Danielle decided to undergo an explant procedure first.

To fund the surgery, she sold her car, and the results were astonishing. Within hours of having her implants removed, she noticed a significant improvement in her skin condition. Danielle now aims to raise awareness about breast implant illness and believes that doctors should inquire about breast implants when investigating autoimmune disorders in women.

Since sharing her journey on TikTok, Danielle has received messages from other women who have faced similar experiences. They have reached out to her to share their stories and express their intentions to seek consultations for implant removal.

She said: The moment the implants came out I felt so much better. I feel safe in my body now, I feel emotionally stable, the rashes around my eyes have gone and the eczema is trailing off now. My hair looks better – it had got really thin and was falling out.

“My priority is awareness of breast implant illness. GPs need to take it seriously and ask about implants – it should be a mandatory question for girls going in with autoimmune conditions. I don’t think anyone would know – you never would put hair loss and rashes down to having implants.

“So many girls have messaged me since seeing my video on TikTok – so many of them having come into my clinic to say they’re getting a consultation to get their implants removed.”

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up Express.co.uk’s editorial research. A news editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

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  • Posted on July 28, 2023