Mother, 34, who was left ‘slowly dying’ by her ‘toxic’ C-cup breast implants has them removed after four years of agony
- Andrea King, of Chicago, had two breast enlargements to boost her confidence
- She became severely ill and doctors even wondered if she had HIV, she claims
- After deciding her implants were making her ill, she had them removed in August
A mother-of-two has been left flat-chested after choosing to have silicone implants removed which she claims left her ‘slowly dying’.
Andrea King, 34, who has spent a total of $ 35,000 (£28,000) on her breasts, went from an A-cup to a C-cup to improve her confidence.
But she was in and out of hospital with dozens of mystery symptoms over four years, leaving doctors baffled and even wondering if she had HIV, Ms King claims.
After doing her own research, she concluded that she had ‘breast implant illness’, and had her implants removed immediately.
The personal trainer is no longer in pain or suffering with blood poisoning, bacterial infections or extreme fatigue.
Andrea King, 34, of Chicago, has been left flat-chested after deciding to remove silicone breast implants that almost killed her
Ms King has deformed breasts after removing her implants, costing her a total of $ 35,000
The personal trainer, who says she felt like she was ‘slowly dying’, is relieved to be out of pain
She said: ‘Five months ago I was diagnosed with four autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sjogrens syndrome and celiac. Not to mention IBS.
‘My immune system was so low that I was tested for HIV as well as several types of cancer as doctors were left baffled.
‘I tried my best to continue as normal but it was almost impossible to train and further my career as a professional bodybuilder. I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without being short of breath.’
WHAT WERE ANDREA KING’S SYMPTOMS?
Andrea King claims to have suffered around 54 symptoms in the four years because of her ‘breast implant illness’. These are:
- Teeth grinding and teeth moving
- Neck and shoulder pains
- Chronic muscle pain and tightness
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Temperature intolerance, cold sensitivity
- Purple lips
- Cold hands and feet
- Hearing loss
- Chronic dry eyes
- Dizzyness upon standing or almost blacking out when standing up
- Chronic sinusitis
- Recurrent illness
- Decreased libido
- Mood swings
- Food intolerances
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjordnes disease
- Celiac Chronic inflammation
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle wasting
- Shortness of breath
- Asthma symptoms
- Increased heart rate
- Periods of night sweats
- Periods of chills
- Chronic diarrhea
- Tingling hands and feet
- Poor muscle recovery
- Bacterial infections
- IBS symptoms
- Stomach bloating/distention
- Immune dysfunction/failure
- Liver dysfunction
- Hormonal imbalances
- Detox dysfunction
- Capsular contracture
- Slow clearing of common colds
- Burning feet
- Toxic shock symptoms
- Split second of hallucination
- Nipple pain breast pain
- Skin discoloration [green or grey]
- Clavicle separations
- Shoulder instability and separations
After her first breast implants in 2014, Ms King soon had them replaced less than two years later.
She said: ‘They’d gone hard as my scar tissue around the silicone had contracted. This is called capsular contracture.’
Capsular contracture is a complication with foreign materials in the body, such as breast implants. The cause is unknown but some researchers suggest it is a response of the immune system.
A ‘capsule’ of scar tissue around the implant is normal for healing. However, it can become hard or grow and surround the implant, causing pain.
Research shows about one in six breast augmentation patients experience some degree of capsular contracture.
Ms King saw eight different plastic surgeons to discuss her options, none of which spoke about taking the implants out of her body for good.
‘They all advised me to replace them from above muscle to under the muscle,’ she said. ‘They said capsular contracture was much more unlikely under the muscle.
‘No one advised me to take them out for good. So I decided to follow advice and went from a B cup to a C cup.’
Ms King was thrilled with the results until her health quickly began to decline.
She said: ‘I had awful pains in my shoulders and neck. I had three shoulder and clavicle separations within months of that surgery.
‘For the next two years I was battling breathlessness, dizziness, insomnia, joint and muscle pain, chronic bacterial infections, circulation problems, brain fog, chronic diarrhea, anxiety and night sweats just to name a few. I had over 54 symptoms with no diagnosis.
‘I’ve had the worst four years of my life trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
‘Getting no where with conventional medicine, I eventually had no option but to watch my symptoms worsen.’
Ms King revealed her health even had an impact on her relationship with her two young children.
She said: ‘I missed out on so many things with my kids, Louie (eight) and Tori (five). I was always sleeping or didn’t feel good enough to go anywhere.’
Worrying that she was going to die, Ms King began looking into the possibility that it was her implants making her ill.
As soon as she read of other women’s experiences online about becoming sick from their implants, she says ‘a light bulb went off’.
Ms King said: ‘I had no idea breast implants could be so toxic and cause your body to react so badly. The rejection caused issues to spread throughout my whole body.’
Ms King said there was ‘no question’ that she needed to remove her implants immediately.
She said: ‘It was an easy decision to make, even though I knew I’d be left with little to no breast tissue afterwards. I was preparing to be deformed as well, knowing that I had to have a double capsulectomy.’
Ms King suffered from 54 symptoms over four years in and out of hospital. After doing research, she concluded she had ‘breast implant illness’. Pictured in hospital after the removal
Ms Kingsuffered with many symptoms such as breathlessness, dizziness, insomnia, joint and muscle pain and anxiety. Pictured in hospital with her two children after an infection, Tori, five, and Louie, eight
Ms King took a huge amount of medication for her problems. She was diagnosed with four auto-immune diseases by the time she realised her implants were making her ill
WHAT WAS THE PIP SCANDAL?
French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which is now out of business, was found to have made silicon breast implants using silicon intended for mattresses, not for medical use.
PIP implants were withdrawn from use in the UK in 2010, but by it is estimated 47,000 woman had the implants before this happened.
20,000 women sued the company responsible for testing the implants – TUV Rheinland – and were awarded £2,600 each.
PIP implants are not though to pose any serious health risk, but are two to six times more likely to rupture.
If they rupture they should be removed because they can become misshapen and cause pain, swelling and enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit.
The NHS does not recommend women having PIP implants removed unless they are problematic – women can discuss the implants with their surgeon if they are concerned.
Most PIP implants were used in private clinics and hospitals, but a small number were given in NHS operations for women who had breast cancer surgery.
‘As soon as I woke up from surgery, my body had instant relief. You can see it in my face.’
Ms King said that despite eating as healthily as possible, there was ‘no doubt’ her breast implants were the cause of her declining health.
She said: ‘If I had not had them removed, I believe that they would have been the cause to something that would have eventually killed me.’
Ms King, who has never had an official diagnosis, now wants to raise awareness of breast implant illness and to warn other women of the potential side effects.
She said: ‘I’m not against breast implants but I want people to know what can happen.
‘If I’d have known this could’ve happened to me I would never have taken the risk.
‘I would much rather have had my small size A boobs than what I have now. I’m worse now than where I started. Implants ruined my breasts.
‘The final surgery has left my chest deformed. I’ve been emotionally having to deal with this. However, I’m no longer dying. My health is ultimately what matters.
‘I’ve opted to wearing padded bras and do the best I can to hide my deformities. I’ll never have breast surgery again.’
Because Ms King felt like her body had been ruined, she now lives a ‘toxic-free life’ to try and regain her health.
‘Since my implants had left my body with so many toxins, chemicals, metals, poisons, I decided to make a complete lifestyle change for me and my family.
‘I’ve also ditched bleaching my hair and fake nails. As well as overhauling all the beauty products and body care products and now buy organic toxic free alternatives for my whole family.
‘Everything we use is toxic these days. I have to work really hard everyday with my diet, lifestyle and enforce detox to help myself rid them and slowly regain my health.
‘Although I am still recovering from the chronic illnesses I’ve been diagnosed with, I’m confident my body will go back to normal someday.’
Ms King, pictured recently with her husband Ben, says she has ditched hair bleach, fake nails, and now only buys organic toxic-free products for her family
Ms King holding the implants that she says ‘ruined her breasts’
Although Ms King was not diagnosed with a medical condition, she, and other women, believe ‘breast implant illness’ to be a real concern.
Campaigners say there needs to be more funding to research the condition, as women’s symptoms are misdiagnosed and mistreated.
Nicole Daruda, the founder of Healing Breast Implant Illness – which offers advice and raises money for further research, said: ‘Breast implant illness is a period of illness caused by foreign body immune responses to breast implants and to silicone chemicals and heavy metals which are endocrine disruptors, cytotoxic, neurotoxic and inflammatory to healthy cells.
‘In 2006, the FDA re-approved silicone breast implants for sale due to pressure from manufacturers and without long term safety studies and this coupled with the ever present over-sexualisation of women in popular culture and social media created a trend of women getting breast implants.
‘As the negative health affects of breast implants are being fully realised by women worldwide an epic health crisis is occurring which we call breast implant illness for lack of an officially recognised medical term as yet.’
You can follow Ms King’s recovery on her Instagram page, @dre.king.4.ifbbpro.