A mother claims she felt like she was “slowly dying” after having a boob job.
Norwich’s Danielle Sheehan went from a C cup to a DD after winning a £5,000 makeover as a 19-year-old.
But the beauty clinic owner was plagued with eczema and inflammation around her eyes, chest, and legs, hair loss, and fatigue in the years that followed, and she couldn’t figure out why.
Doctors dismissed Ms. Sheehan’s symptoms as “stress” or an “autoimmune disease.” The tests could not show that anything was wrong.
But Ms Sheehan, now 32, believes she suffered from breast implant disease (BII) after her symptoms resolved within weeks of removal.
BEFORE: Danielle Sheehan, 32, said she was temporarily blinded claims her decade-long suffering was caused by a free teen boob job won in a competition
AFTER: The mother believed she suffered from breast implant disease. She sold her car to pay for the reversal of her breast surgery, and she says her symptoms began to subside almost instantly.
Ms. Sheehan got breast implants in 2010 after winning a makeover in an online competition, hoping it would boost her modeling career.
However, she began to suffer from eczema flare-ups almost immediately after the operation, which did not improve with medication.
She went on to suffer from itchy and inflamed eyes that became so severe that she could not open them, forcing her to seek help from A&E.
Ms Sheehan also had rashes on her chest, neck, arms and legs, as well as hair loss, tinnitus, fatigue, moodiness, anxiety and “whole body swelling”.
She said: “The doctors told me they thought it was stress due to being a new mom and going through a breakup.”
IS THE DISEASE OF BREAST IMPLANTS REAL?
Neither the NHS nor the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognize a single condition called breast implant disease.
However, they do provide long lists of potential, and publicly known, side effects of having breast implants.
The implants are not designed to last a lifetime, the FDA says, and the longer a woman has the implants in her body, the greater the risk of complications.
Complications occur in about one percent of all patients and can occur at any time after surgery.
In addition to changes in the look and feel of the breast, some potential side effects include pain, infection, swelling or irritation, swollen lymph nodes, rash, or bruising.
Reported symptoms of BII include fatigue, chest pain, hair loss and headaches, chills, sensitivity to light, chronic pain, anxiety, brain fog, sleep disturbances, and depression.
The NHS urges any woman experiencing side effects to contact the clinic where the implants were placed and report it via an official yellow card scheme, to add information on the safety of the implants.
Not convinced by the diagnosis, Ms. Sheehan paid for private tests to check for food allergies and high cortisol levels, but they came back normal.
He then revised his diet but did not see any improvement in his symptoms.
Ms. Sheehan came across an online post about BII and believed her symptoms were similar.
Some people use the term to describe a variety of health problems that they believe are related to breast surgery, such as brain fog, anxiety, and joint pain.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) launched an investigation into the alleged disease in 2020 after receiving reports from patients.
The MHRA said it does not know if the condition exists as “there is no single disease that can explain the symptoms that some people report” and studies rule out a link between breast implants and long-term disease.
However, British surgeons insist that the condition is real and that women should be warned about this side effect of the procedure.
“They had rashes around their eyes just like mine, it was like a lightening moment,” Ms Sheehan said.
“My symptoms were all exactly the same: I had rashes, I was cranky, I felt like I was slowly dying, and I just didn’t feel well.”
She says her doctors hadn’t heard of the condition, but referred her for an ultrasound to check her implants. But the results did not show any problems.
Doctors then offered her immunosuppressive drugs, which are used to treat disorders in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body.
But Ms. Sheehan decided to have the implants removed to see if this would alleviate her ailments, and she sold her car to finance the operation.
Within hours of surgery, he claims his skin condition improved.
She said: ‘By the time 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 are gone and the eczema is fading now.
“My hair looks better, it had gotten very thin and was falling out.”
BEFORE: She was plagued with hair loss, eczema and inflammation for over a decade, but doctors tried to dismiss her symptoms as ‘pregnancy stress’ or an ‘autoimmune disease’
BEFORE: Danielle says even her surgeon was ‘shocked’ to see how suddenly her symptoms started to go away after they were removed.
AFTER: Danielle said: “I feel safe in my body now, I feel emotionally stable, the rashes around my eyes are gone and the eczema is fading now.”
Now he wants to raise awareness about BII and says doctors should rule this out before looking for autoimmune disorders.
And she says that since she posted about her journey on TikTok, other women have reached out to share their similar experiences with her.
Ms Sheehan said: ‘My priority is breast implant disease awareness.
“GPs need to take it seriously and ask about implants; should be a required question for girls admitted with autoimmune diseases.
‘I don’t think anyone knows, you would never attribute hair loss and breakouts to having implants.
“Lots of girls have messaged me since seeing my TikTok video, many of them have come to my clinic to say they are getting a consultation to have their implants removed.”
The NHS notes that some women report suffering from tiredness, anxiety and joint pain after having breast implants, acknowledging that it is known as BII.
About half of women say their symptoms improve once the implants are removed, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.