Are Silicone Breast Implants Safe?

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Breast Implants for Female Bodybuilders

When it comes to modern-day figure and bikini competitions, it’s nearly impossible to find females who do not have breast implants (especially in pro-level shows). Sadly, many female competitors put little-to-no thought into what they’re doing to their bodies internally when they opt for silicone breast implants.

 

Let’s not beat around the bush here, dedicated figure and bikini competitors are striving to look a certain way that simply cannot be obtained naturally. After all, it is exceptionally rare for a female to be under 15% body fat and have sizeable breasts. (This is only natural, as female breasts are primarily comprised of fat, ligaments, and connective tissue.)

 

As such, these females devote the majority of their existence to artificially manipulating their body for competitive advantages.

 

But what exactly are the health risks of silicone breast implants? This article is going to detail the hidden dangers of silicone breast implants, along with integrative solutions for females who have/had breast implants and are experiencing side effects.

 

Health Risks of Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone is a term that refers to substances that are polymers of oxygen and silicon – the second most abundant element on Earth. Silicon is a metal, quite similar to carbon, and comprises over 28% of the Earth’s crust (by mass).

 

Biologically, silicon is one of the most abundant trace minerals in the human body. It is necessary for cross-linking collagen strands, and contributes to the integrity, strength, and flexibility of your connective tissues (e.g. skin, bones, etc.).

 

However, the physiological nature of silicon still remains somewhat unclear, as do the health ramifications of having silicone placed in the body.

 

Silicone materials typically have an oily, wax-like consistency, and the viscosity (thickness) of these polymers increases as the silicon-oxygen chain length increases. As such, silicone gel breast implants are artificial devices; like any other foreign object being placed in the body, there are potential health risks and associated failure rates with the surgical process.

 

Here are the most common health risks of silicone breast implants:

Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture is the most prevalent “side effect” of silicone breast implants, and can result in tender, painful and distorted breasts. Since silicone is a foreign material, it is thought that contracture is a result of the body trying to extrude the substance. There is also an ongoing supposition among researchers that Staphylococcus epidermidis contamination may initiate a capsular contracture after breast implantation.

Implant Rupture and Silicone Leakage

In some cases, gel-filled implants can rupture, causing oil to leak and become trapped in the capsule wall. Silicone is a hydrophobic (water-repelling) molecule and must be transported through different means. As such, the body tends to rely on the lymphatic system and macrophages for transporting silicone that has leaked into breast tissue.

 

One study analyzed the prevalence of breast implant ruptures in 199 females (who had their implants between 9 and 13.5 years); the findings suggest that as many as 8% of the subjects had implant ruptures.

 

While that may not seem like much, consider that an implant rupture could cause serious health complications, not to mention breast deformity and necessary follow-up surgery to correct the issue. Moreover, 8% rupture rate is still roughly one out of every 12 implants.

Difficulty with Lactation

Evidence suggests that breast implants may disrupt the prospect of a female being able to nurse her children. In fact, women who have breast implants are much more likely to have difficulty with lactation than those who don’t. Naturally, if you are considering having children and want to be able to breastfeed, you’ll need to reconsider if breast implants are worth it.

Rheumatologic & Immunological Disorders

There is ongoing research suggesting that breast implants may increase the risk of rheumatologic disorders, particularly lupus and scleroderma. In fact, a study consisting of 156 females with breast implants found that roughly 10% had scleroderma-like illness and nearly 2 out of 3 noticeable joint and muscle pain, thought to be caused by autoimmune responses to the silicone implant.

Infection

Infection from silicone breast implantation is a major cause of morbidity related to this intervention, with an occurrence rate of about 2.5%. About 60% of implant-related infections develop during the acute postoperative period, whereas some may develop years after surgery. In either case, implant-related infections can lead to debilitating health consequences and need to be treated immediately if suspected.

Cancer

About the only promising health aspect of silicone breast implants is that there is no conclusive evidence that they increase the risk of cancer. Does this mean that silicone breast implants are completely safe? Certainly not.

 

If you’re a figure or bikini competitor (or any female, for that matter), it behooves you to evaluate the health risks of silicone breast implants before making the choice to operate. Many of the ramifications that were just discussed occur in nearly one out of every 10 females who get silicone breast implants, which is an alarmingly high rate when all is considered.

Treating Silicone Breast Implant Symptoms

If you have multiple symptoms like fatigue, gut issues, skin issues and more that you think are related to the implants then you need a comprehensive program to restore your health.  Of course, you’ll want to do this after you’ve had them removed.

 

The most effective way to start restoring health is a gentle detox.  Now, I’m not talking about something stupid like juicing or starving yourself.  I’m talking about eating healthy, like an elimination diet along with detox shakes and supplements to push phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification.

 

After the detox, if you’re still having issues, you will want to follow up with a practitioner to do specific lab work that could identify other areas of healing (hormones, thyroid, gut) and if there is a further need to detox at a deeper level.

Considering the Risks vs. the Rewards

It’s unfortunate that many females start their fitness journey in hopes of feeling better and having an attractive body, yet the extremes of competing sacrifice the former for the latter. Ironically, the more you learn about the human body and how you can enhance not only performance but also longevity, the more you’ll start to loathe figure and bikini competitions and the prerequisite for an ample bosom.

 

Ultimately, you need to take a step back from figure and bikini competitions and similar endeavors to consider if the risks of breast implants fit the rewards. Here’s the situation, as I see it:

 

Option 1) You go to the extremes of most competitors by opting for breast implants, along with the other risky behaviors such as performance-enhancing drug abuse, restrictive dieting, and excessive exercise. Best case: You win a couple pro-level shows but likely cut 20-30 years off your lifespan and live in a state of debilitation for the majority of your post-competition existence. Worst case: You face acute life-threatening health ramifications from the aforementioned lifestyle choices and never get to compete.

 

Option 2) You forgo breast implants because the size of your breasts is not indicative of your aesthetic beauty. Instead, you opt for a balanced, healthy lifestyle that allows you to look and feel great. Should you choose to compete in a physique competition, you do it in a practicable and safe manner to achieve your best look. Best case: You win some amateur and/or pro-level shows without detriment to your post-competition life. Worst case: You don’t win any shows but who gives a damn, you’re healthy and fit!

 

This begs the question, “Have figure and bikini competitions ever been about having a ‘healthy’ body or has it always been merely about ‘looking’ a certain way, even if that means cutting decades off your lifespan and feeling sick internally?”

 

At the end of the day, beauty is only skin deep.

Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo

Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.

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