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Overcoming Breast Implant Illness: An Interview with Sarah Phillipe

On Friday August 6th I interviewed Sarah Phillipe, as we chatted about overcoming breast implant illness, and below is the written transcript. If you would prefer to watch the interview you can access it by clicking here [1]:

Here is the transcript:

Dr. Eric:

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and is looking forward to the weekend ahead. With me, I have Sarah Phillipe, and we’re going to be discussing breast implants illness, and of course tying it into thyroid health and thyroid autoimmunity. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining me, Sarah.

Sarah:

Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me here. It’s a pleasure.

Dr. Eric:

Just to share Sarah’s background, again, she’s a registered nurse and she became a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, true cellular detox practitioner, as well as a breast implant illness expert. Sarah believes that the solution to reversing breast implants illness is about more than just the explants, and that we all need to take personal responsibility for restoring our health by addressing all of the root causes that contribute to chronic illness. It’s also Sarah’s belief that the body has an innate desire to heal, if given what it needs, and she focuses on teaching women how to unlock that innate intelligence and heal themselves. Why don’t we start off by just telling people your story and how you started helping others with breast implant illness?

Sarah:

Yeah. I always tell people that my story goes back to childhood really, and to a time where I think I was very impressionable. Kids are impressionable, right? They’re just like little sponges absorbing the world and making meaning out of everything. My desire for breast implants came from much earlier on in my life when my grandmother told me that I was going to be four foot 11, just like her, but not to worry because I will have the Johnson boobs. That just made me … It really gave what it means to be a woman and sexy and desirable an entirely different meaning, right?

I started to learn the world view of that at a really early age, and that is where my desire for bigger breasts started. I saw my mom, growing up, teased a little bit by our family members for having a flat chest and maybe not fitting into certain clothes a certain way and things like that, and she took it, she tolerated it fine. It didn’t bug her too much. But I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be teased, and I wanted to be in the Johnson boob club. I wanted to be that side of the family. Fast forward… as I got into middle school, I started stuffing my bra to make myself look a certain way because I just wanted what my grandma had said.

She told me don’t worry, as if I didn’t get that, the Johnson boobs, I had something to worry about. Stuffing my bra in middle school, and then getting … once I was an adult, becoming really, really into the fitness lifestyle and taking up bodybuilding. Never with the intention of performing on a stage, but just with the intention of wanting to achieve a certain physical goal. When I was about 30, that fitness lifestyle led me to finally making the choice to have the breast implants placed, to just have the look that I had always wanted since I could remember.

And I would say within about six months, I started developing some unusual symptoms that I did Google searching on and just thought that it was probably a thyroid issue. I had hair loss, I was fatigued, I would sleep a lot, I needed to sleep a lot later than usual, I had some skin issues, I had dry skin, I had some constipation, some anxiety, just different things like that. Nothing terribly alarming, but just some symptoms that I wasn’t used to. I started gaining some weight, despite what I ate and despite exercise, I just started feeling and looking bloated and puffy.

Like I said, I did my own research and I was at the time working as a nurse on the night shift, and I had been working as a nurse on the night shift for five years. Part of me thought that maybe that was a part of the problem as well, which obviously, was a huge stress on the body shift work. We’re just not designed to live that way as beings, right? Compounding effects there. But I searched out doctors who said my labs look normal, and maybe I needed to spice up my sex life or therapy or something like that, because my sex drive was also lower, and that wasn’t sufficient for me.

I wasn’t willing to accept that. I knew there was something deeper, I knew there was something more to understand about what was going on in my body. Then I looked into functional medicine and naturopathic doctors, and finally found someone who was willing to see me and acknowledge that I had Hashimoto’s and treat me for it, and I thought that would be my solution, the treatment, because I was still living and working in this conventional allopathic medical model. I hadn’t even really transitioned into a different way of thinking at that point yet.

But the further I got into just seeing her and being treated, I realized that it was really just a pill for every ill even though it was a little bit more natural of an approach rather than a medical approach. I started developing lots more symptoms, gas, bloating, alternating diarrhea and constipation, food intolerances, cystic acne, severe anxiety to the point where I could barely even stand to be in public. Any kind of stimulation, sound, loud noise, chemical smells, different light, so bright lights, even being around a lot of people, just that extra stimulation of any kind just threw me over the edge.

It was just like my nervous system was so irritated that anything else layered on top would just tip me over. I remember not being able to cope with working out anymore. It was too much of a stress on my body, and I didn’t want to believe that. I continued to push through and push through and push through even though I struggled so much, and to the point where my husband … My poor husband, he’s been through so much. But when we were working out together, I would just be so irritated if I could even hear him breathing, because the sound, just even sound, was so irritating to me.

It just progressively got worse and worse and worse, and I experienced a whole wide range of symptoms that were “unexplainable.” There was a point at which I had the intuition of thinking, I wonder if this is breast implants, I wonder if my breast implants could be causing this because I didn’t have any symptoms to speak of, even though my diet and lifestyle were not healthy before my breast augmentation. I started doing some Google searches. All I came across was this one lady on realself.com, which is just a place where people communicate with each other and ask questions and get responses from the community as a whole, right?

She was saying how she had developed an autoimmune condition after having a breast augmentation. But that was one person. It wasn’t enough for me to just go off of a hunch or a gut instinct, and take action and get the breast implants out. There was nobody talking about it back then. There were no Facebook groups, there were no websites, there were no doctors that had any real clue about it, and so I put that on the back burner, even though it was this deep instinct within me. I kept going down this rabbit hole of chasing conditions like SIBO and chronic Lyme disease and parasites and fungal overgrowth, and neurotransmitter imbalances and hormone imbalances, and at that time, what we call stage three adrenal fatigue.

It really didn’t get me very far because I was just swimming upstream with the source still in place. Right? I was doing all the right things, but just not getting as far as I wanted to go. I saw lots of really well known doctors in the functional medicine world who, when I point blank asked if my breast implants could be causing this, would tell me, “No, I don’t think it’s your breast implants. I think we just need to address this infection or that infection or this hormone imbalance, and you’re going to feel better, and your breast implants, even if they are an issue now, won’t be an issue then.”

Dr. Eric:

Oh, wow.

Sarah:

Yeah. A lot of misinformation, a lot of misguidance. But at the end of the day, for me, fast forward many years down the road, I finally decided to explant really based on the fact that I had been trying to conceive for several years without success, and there’s just this deep knowing inside of me that my breast implants were a part of this picture. I finally decided to listen to that gut instinct. When it became no longer about just me, I started to think about how might this affect a growing baby inside me even if I did get pregnant.

I knew I had done some research over the years and I discovered that breast implants caused a lot of problems and that there’s a lot of chemicals and toxins within them, and thinking about … I’ll go into some more reasons why they’re not healthy for you after this, but just for keeping things concise, I’ll say that thinking about how problematic they are for me and then wondering what that might do for an unborn child or a breastfeeding child, and feeling personally responsible for that, if that were the case. That is what finally led me to the decision to explant.

It was a long six-year road of getting there, and I think women now … There’s so much information available now and so many support groups now that it’s a lot easier to make that choice, and be confident in that choice. But for me, just because of the timing of everything and the lack of information out there, it was a long road.

Dr. Eric:

How long ago was the explant procedure?

Sarah:

We’re coming up on four years.

Dr. Eric:

Okay. Great.

Sarah:

Yeah, four years in October.

Dr. Eric:

When it comes to symptoms of breast implant illness, are there common symptoms that women experience, or is it completely different depending on the person?

Sarah:

I would say, and I think this is the case with most chronic illness, that it tends to be very vague, right? The symptoms tend to cross a lot of different lines of different diagnoses. It can be really mysterious, it can be really hard too, especially if you’re seeing a doctor who really doesn’t know anything about breast implants and breast implant illness and specific, they’ve never heard of it or they don’t believe in it, things like that. It can be really challenging. I try to not focus too much on getting someone to tell you, “Yes, you have breast implant illness.”

If you have breast implants and you have a lot of symptoms that you’re not getting an explanation for from your doctor, then the implants are a part of the problem. People will generally experience a wide range of different symptoms, and it really depends on all the different additional stressors they have in their lives too. They’ll experience things like chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, so things like brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor word retrieval, and memory loss. I will personally say that I had the worst time with brain fog and difficulty learning new information and retaining it. I would have to read something 20 times just for it to sink in and process what it was that I was reading. Muscle aches and pains, joint pain, hair loss, weight gain or weight loss, temperature intolerance, low libido, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears, shortness of breath, metallic taste in the mouth, night sweats, skin rashes, insomnia, which is another one that I suffered with horrendously, hormone dysregulation, swollen and tender lymph nodes, that’s also a big one. Numbness and tingling in the extremities, cold discolored hands and feet, foul body odor, muscle twitching, vertigo, frequent urination, sensitivity to light and sound and chemical smells.

Feeling like you’re aging really fast, visual disturbances, liver and kidney dysfunction, GI issues like gas, bloating and diarrhea, constipation, GERD, heartburn, food intolerances, persistent chronic infections that don’t resolve, a chronic cough, difficulty swallowing, feeling like you’re choking, chronic inflammation, feeling like you’re dying, headaches, dizziness, migraines, mood swings, emotional instability, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts. That’s a huge list.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah, definitely.

Sarah:

Even if you had just a few of those, I’m sure you’d be questioning whether or not it’s the breast implants or something else. But I’m telling you, if you have breast implants and you have chronic symptoms of any kind, regardless of how many or how intense they are, if you want to truly heal the body, the first step is removing the source, and there can be more than one source, but the breast implants certainly should be considered as at least one of those sources.

Dr. Eric:

There are different types of breast implants. Does it make a difference which ones you have? Are some safer than others?

Sarah:

Yeah. I would not say that any breast implants are … I would not consider any of them safe. But there are different types. You have silicone and saline. The new-ish, I would say, I think they were really, really on the market around 2007 are the cohesive gel silicone implants which were deemed to be safe by the FDA, but really truly, they’re just as harmful, if not more harmful than the old silicone implants back from the ’80s and ’90s. I think we all remember the Dow Corning lawsuits, right? They cause problems in different ways.

Sarah:

The silicone breast implants are full of cytotoxic, carcinogenic neuroendocrine-disrupting chemicals. These are things like methyl ethyl ketone, cyclohexane, acetone, xylene, phenol, dichloromethane, toluene, benzene, talcum powder, formaldehyde, lacquer thinner printing ink, metal cleaning acid, all kinds of different heavy metals like aluminum and tin and lead and platinum. Then silicone, of course. Silicone is, in some cases and some schools of thought, considered an adjuvant connected to certain autoimmune conditions. You have this chemical soup, so to speak, that it’s just living in the body.

The silicone gel implants do start bleeding into the lymphatic system at body temperature. They’ve never been studied long term. They’ve never had clinical trials proving their safety long term. Sure, if you set them on a shelf, they’re going to last forever, but when you put them in a body, that the temperature is 98.6, or give or take a little bit, and you’re also not stationary, you’re not just sitting there doing nothing, you’re living your life, you’re active, you may have injuries, you may have falls, you may have trauma, you may have car accidents, something like that, and all of these things produce wear and tear, in addition to the fact that they can bleed at body temperature and leach their contents out into the surrounding lymphatic tissue.

The lymph is a highway, right? It can mobilize all kinds of different things throughout the entire body. Then you end up with not only congested lymph nodes, but also congested liver and kidneys, and some people find that they’re actually removing silicone out of the bowels. There’s anecdotal evidence that it mobilizes. Then the saline implants, of course, they’re made with a silicone shell. You don’t have quite the array of chemicals in the saline implant. From the toxicity standpoint, they could be considered by some maybe a smidge safer. But the silicone itself is a neurotoxin, and it is incredibly pervasive in the environment, not just in the breast implants. Right?

We see silicone, if you look at labels, you’ll see it in your beauty care products, your skincare products, your makeup, your haircare products, you use it in replacement of plastic in the kitchen and with even cooking utensils, and here we are heating those utensils up when we’re cooking, and that makes its way into the food. It’s not a safe alternative to plastic by any means. But you’ve got that in the saline implants, and then the salient itself can act as a Petri dish for different microbes to get in and thrive and wreak havoc on the immune system.

It’s because the saline implants have this valve that’s used to fill the implant with saline when it’s placed in the body, and that valve can either be defective upon implantation or it can become damaged over time just from wear and tear or some kind of trauma to the chest wall. At that point, you have fluid that can go both ways. Bodily fluids can get in and the saline can get out, and whatever’s in that implant growing in that medium can also make its way through the body and cause the widespread of chronic systemic infections. We have seen, when certain surgeons are doing cultures upon explantation, there are like 10 different types of bacteria being found between the implant and the capsule.

We know this is not a sterile environment. This is a place where bugs are growing and thriving. That, all by itself, creates immune problems, and then you add the fact that implants are a foreign object, they don’t belong there, and your body is responding by creating scar tissue to basically wall them off, that’s the capsule, to protect you basically, and that’s your body during its job, what it’s supposed to do, but it knows they don’t belong there. There’s that also chronic immune stimulation.

Dr. Eric:

From what I understand, there’s a few different ways that potentially they can trigger autoimmunity or at least be a factor in different autoimmune conditions such as Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s, multiple sclerosis, and pretty much any autoimmune condition, not just the toxicity of the implants, the silicone as well as other toxins, but also making you more susceptible to infections, which also can be a trigger as well. Is that correct?

Sarah:

Yeah, absolutely. The clients that I’ve worked with, typically… I would say I can’t think of a single person who has not come to me with at least one autoimmune condition. It doesn’t have to be this raging out of control autoimmune condition. It can be at a level of antibody activity that can still be problematic. It certainly is, I would say in the majority of the cases, reversible. What damage is done is not necessarily reversible, but the process can be stopped usually. That’s where getting the source out is really important as well.

Dr. Eric:

If someone has breast implants and they’re watching this, and if they think it might possibly be an issue, what would you recommend? Would you recommend for them to, I guess, maybe find a doctor or an explant doctor or someone like you just to chat with/

Sarah:

I would, I think, really helpful resource because my work tends to focus on women who either, A) know they want to explant, already have a date scheduled, and they want to do whatever they can to start prepping their body for that surgery for a good outcome, or B) would be the other type of person is someone who’s already explanted and who still doesn’t feel well, and that’s really where I start teaching that a healing is about more than the explant, right?

Dr. Eric:

Yep.

Sarah:

Those tend to be the two types of women that I work with. For those of you who are just hearing about this for the first time or maybe you’ve been thinking about it and wondering and are not sure and want to just start doing some research, a really great resource that I would highly recommend is a website called breastimplantillness.com. That website actually has excellent surgeons listed by country and state, so people who are recommended, who either have been recommended by other patients, or the people who manage that website have done their due diligence and their own research to put together a part of that list as well.

You can look at who’s in your area and start having communication with those people, start a conversation with those surgeons. Then there’s really helpful people in the different Facebook groups too. There’s a lot of Facebook groups out there for breast implant illness, mine being one of them. But you can get a lot of good support there if you’re just starting out, and this is the beginning of your journey. [crosstalk]

Dr. Eric:

What’s the name of your Facebook group?

Sarah:

Reversing Breast Implant Illness. Let’s see here. The things you want to look for in a surgeon, once you are starting to have conversation with surgeons, and I think it’s important to interview different surgeons so that you can get a feel for who feels like the right fit to you. Who do you connect with? Who do you have confidence in and trust? Right? Things you want to look for are a surgeon who ideally doesn’t put implants in anymore, who only does explant surgeries because they’re going to, I think, believe in what they’re doing a lot more and I think that’s really important.

I think it’s important that the surgeon believes in breast implant illness, believes that what you’re telling them is true, understands breast implant illness, understands the thought process behind it all and why they’re problematic, and because of that has made a decision to no longer put them in. Then secondly, you want to find someone who will remove your implants en bloc, and also do a complete capsulectomy. That’s the ideal scenario for an explant procedure. En bloc just means that the implant and the capsule that surrounds them are coming out together as one unit rather than the alternative which is cutting the capsule open and then taking the implant out separately, and then either just leaving the capsule and closing you up, or maybe if you’re lucky, pulling the capsule out.

Most surgeons who don’t believe in breast implant illness are just going to pull the implant out and leave the capsule, and they’re not going to take the capsule out. I’ve actually spoken with many women who have three and four capsules in their body because they’ve had lots of replacements, and each time the surgeon just leaves the capsule there. But if you just think about the fact that the capsule is like this matrix, and it is … A lot of people think of it as the protection, right? But it’s actually not as protective as you would hope, because when you look at it under a microscope, the capsule is actually a lot more lace like.

It has holes in it. A lot of things become ingrained within that capsule, microbes, biofilms, toxins, silicone, things like that. That can continue to be an immune stimulant, and so you want to get that out. The other thing, the reason why I am a strong believer in en bloc is that if you’re cutting the capsule open and there’s a rupture, and nine times out of 10, especially if it’s silicone implants, you can’t tell until you get in there if there’s a rupture. Lots of false negatives on MRIs. Then you’ve got silicone just spilling out into the body and into the lymphatic system, and you’re in a far worse condition than you were before you went in for that surgery.

We want to minimize that risk, right? And have the best outcome possible. That’s why I strongly advocate for finding someone who can guarantee you an en bloc explant, and then also going in and removing any speck of capsule that’s left behind after that en bloc explant. Sometimes that means scraping ribs and cutting some tissue out and things like that. You just really want someone who’s going to do the best job for you so that you can have the best outcome and best healing possible afterward.

Dr. Eric:

If someone chooses the right surgeon, there’s a pretty good chance to only need one explant, whereas if they choose the wrong one, there’s a chance they might need multiple explants, correct?

Sarah:

Absolutely. I’m a believer in getting it right the first time and not going with someone who maybe quoted you a lower price, for instance, because they’re not spending as much time in there being really meticulous about it. That’s not saving you any money, because you’re likely going to need to go back for another surgery. In the end, that results in far more money spent than if you just had one surgery.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah, that makes sense. You’ve mentioned you saw a number of different functional medicine practitioners, some of the top doctors and there were different diagnoses, or they suspected different things, maybe chronic Lyme, which I actually dealt with a few years ago. If a scenario presented where someone with breast implants went to a functional medicine practitioner, let’s say they were experiencing a lot of the symptoms you mentioned, and they were diagnosed with chronic Lyme, but they also had the breast implants… my perspective is that the Lyme might not be as big of a problem with the toxicities.

Again, I’d love, of course, to get your opinion on it, but a lot of people have Lyme and don’t know it. I had Lyme for who knows how long and didn’t know as well. But I guess what would be your opinion if someone went somewhere else, and if they were told they have chronic Lyme or toxic mold, some type of chronic condition, and they also had the breast implants, would you recommend for them to look into getting an explant first or to address the chronic Lyme problem or the mold toxicity problem?

Sarah:

Yeah, that’s a really tricky question because the way I think about it is the Lyme isn’t typically the problem. Of course, mold toxicity, different story. The Lyme, the bugs within us that have just started to come alive and become more active and wreak havoc in the body, they’re a downstream result of a toxic terrain. When we clean up the body and we work on repairing the immune system, yes, oftentimes antimicrobials are still warranted in that case, but the outcome is going to be so much better, and the journey, the time it takes, is going to be so much shorter, and you’re not going to feel like you’re just chronically swimming upstream. It’s an uphill battle.

That’s what it was like for me when I was trying to overcome these things. Yes, I did get better. I got a lot better actually. I think I probably got about 50% better. But there was this block in the road, I couldn’t make any more progress. A lot of money and time was wasted on that, on trying to achieve a certain goal by going after a pathogen or something like that when I would have probably had a lot better success with that approach that I was taking had I removed that chronic source of immune dysfunction, immune stimulation, and toxic exposure, just bleeding and within my body day in and day out.

A lot of these toxins that are in breast implants that are bleeding into the body are not only toxic to us and creating a toxic overload, this overflowing toxic bucket, but they’re also feeding pathogens. Certain pathogens use these toxins to create their biofilm around themselves to protect themselves from being killed, and they feed on them as well. Just feeding a bigger problem. What I typically see is that, yes, the breast implants are a big problem, one of the biggest problems, but things don’t typically happen in isolation. It’s never one thing. It’s usually a multitude of stressors that have come together to create this perfect storm situation.

Oftentimes, it breaks my heart for people to think that with the breast implants just the explant is all that’s needed and they’re just magically better. Sometimes there is what I call honeymoon period after explant where people are just like, “Oh, my gosh, I feel so much better. This symptom is gone, this symptom is gone, I no longer have this, all of a sudden my skin looks amazing,” and it’s this period of time where they do feel better because they’ve had a significant stressor relieved, right? But then what happens if they do nothing else? Three, four, five, six months later, a year later, even two years later maybe, symptoms start creeping back up.

It’s because there was more going on than what met the eye. I always encourage people to work with someone, a practitioner, who understands all of these different factors and what kinds of stressors impact function so that you can address them all, not just one, and really truly get the body back into balance and clean up the terrain. It’s a little bit long-winded, but to answer your question, I think that step one should be explant, versus going down this rabbit hole of chasing pathogens when the thing upstream that’s feeding them all is still there. Before explant, there’s still work you can do while you’re waiting, but the deeper work I think should be reserved for once you’re explanted.

Dr. Eric:

All right, great. Can you talk a little bit about that, how someone would do a detox? Should they take supplements, take a dietary approach, do infrared sauna? I’m sure there’s not just one approach. But what do you recommend once someone does get the explant procedure?

Sarah:

Yeah. Either before explant or the first step in addressing what needs to be addressed, healing after explant, are fairly the same in my opinion. The first step is always opening drainage pathways, opening detox pathways. You can’t move things out of the body, you can’t detox the body, you can’t go on a bug killing spree if all your drainage pathways, your drainage organs, your detox organs, whatever you want to call them, are clogged up or they’re not moving well. First thing is the bowels have to be moving. You’ve got to be pooping regularly, two to three times a day.

Then things like liver and kidneys and gallbladder and lymph and the gut microbiome, all of those things need to be dialed in before you can go deeper into detox work or addressing certain pathogens, and things need to be done in the right order. I often see people thinking all they need to do is detox, and so they’re just Google searching detox after explant, silicone detox, BII detox, things like that, and that’s not always the solution for most people. Most people need to focus on some gut work first, and start reducing the load of pathogenic overgrowth in the gut and balancing the gut microbiome and healing the gut lining a bit.

Then you can go deeper with detox work and detoxing things like heavy metals and chemicals and environmental toxins and silicone and things like that. If you try to do it in the wrong order, oftentimes you’re going to feel a lot worse, and that’s just … It’s something that we can avoid, and it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Detox I think gets thrown around a lot all over the place, and different people have different meanings behind it when they say detox. What I mean by detox is really actively pulling, chelating heavy metals and toxins out of the body. Yes, I think diet is very important, the lifestyle choices are very important, but food isn’t going to pull those chemicals and heavy metals out of your tissues. They’ve been stored there for years, since before birth even.

When you were in utero, you were accumulating toxins from your mother and from your grandmother and your great-grandmother. They’re passed down generation to generation, and that happens because as a woman when you’re creating a baby inside of you, a new body, you’re remodeling your own body. You’re remodeling bone and fatty tissue, and you’re sending it to that growing child in your uterus, and with that comes toxins that have been stored in your bones and fatty tissue. We enter this world already toxic, okay? It’s not just about the breast implants and the silicone and things like that. We’re detoxing from a wide range of different toxins that we’re exposed to from utero and beyond. I think that’s important to remember, that it’s just not like a breast implant illness detox. It’s a detox from the life that we live, right?

Dr. Eric:

Yep.

Sarah:

That is not a short process. Since you’ve been accumulating it your whole life, it doesn’t happen in 30 days or 90 days. It takes many, I would say, years to pull all of that out. You’re chronically exposed to more and more and more, so it has to be a lifestyle. You really have to incorporate detox as a lifestyle and learn how to do that. Then I think going after deeper, more stealthy pathogens becomes a little bit easier because you’ve cleaned up that terrain, and you can work on repairing the immune function and going after stealth pathogens.

Dr. Eric:

You said it’s been about four years since you’ve got your explant procedure. How long after that did you start feeling like yourself?

Sarah:

Goodness. My journey was a little bit different, I would say, because I had done a lot of the stuff that people in functional medicine often do to address what are considered root causes. I had gotten about 50% better, and so I wasn’t miserable by the time I explanted, but I still had some GI issues, I still had gas and bloating and just a real hard time with bowel movements and some skin issues and anxiety and irritability and still feeling like my nervous system was very overwhelmed. And fertility issues, of course, and hormone imbalances, and my menstrual cycles were very abnormal still.

After explant, I don’t know that I would say that I just felt amazing or even a significant change, but what I will say is that other people noticed a difference in me. People that I maybe hadn’t seen in a little while or even people who are close to me noticed and they would tell me that I just looked lighter and softer and just not as aggressive and tense, that I just had a different feel to the energy coming across. That was really interesting. I did need to still do a lot of work. I still had detox work to do. I still had endometriosis. Actually, I didn’t say this in part of my story, but I discovered that I had stage four endometriosis and I had bowel involvement, and one fallopian tube was completely blocked.

I ended up, about six months after my explant surgery, deciding to go ahead and have excision surgery for that endometriosis, and part of that involved the bowel section. Very unfortunate story. But there’s definitely an upside. There’s always things to be learned from our struggles, right? I don’t regret anything. I think that if I hadn’t gone through this experience, I would not be who I am or where I am in life today. But after that second surgery, about another six months later, so about a year after explant is when I really started to feel more like myself again.

But the interesting fact is, and I’ll just say this because there are so many other sources, it’s almost like we have to be health detectives for ourselves all the time, right? Every winter, I noticed, even after that year of two surgeries and lots of detox work and dealing with pathogens and immune system and all of that, I had started noticing that every winter I was feeling terrible. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was puffy, I was very tired, irritable, just down and depressed, and it wasn’t just because of a lack of sunlight. It was every winter and it was new.

The one thing that I connected the dots with is that the only thing that was different is that I had purchased this artificial Christmas tree that was … It came from China. It’s made with PVC piping that came from China, and I learned that PVC coming from China is coated in LED.

Dr. Eric:

Wow.

Sarah:

That led off-gases into the air, and here I am breathing this in for months at a time because I like to leave my tree up for a quarter. Breathing it in, day in and day out, and no wonder I felt terrible. There’s always little things that we just don’t know about that once we finally do that detective work and discover it, then it’s like you realize you get this whole new level of how you could feel in health, right? There’s always new things that I’m discovering, there’s always refining, there’s always more detox work. But I would say it is about that year point where I started to feel quite a bit better.

Dr. Eric:

So based on what you said, if someone let’s say with thyroid autoimmunity or any health condition, but if they get their breast implants removed, then a few weeks go by and they’re still not feeling much of a difference, you would say not to get discouraged? In some people, maybe after a few weeks, they’ll feel a lot better. But for others, it could be a much longer process.

Sarah:

Yeah. I would say for a lot of women, it’s a longer process. What I usually say about that is that you didn’t get here overnight. It’s been usually years, if not decades, of your body dealing with chronic sources of stress and toxic exposures, and the breast implants are just part of that. It’s not going to be an overnight fix. You’re not going to just miraculously heal from a surgery. It takes patience and dedication and just faith in your own body’s ability to self heal, and it will if you give it what it needs in order to do so, and you remove enough of the stressors on the body to where it can get out of survival mode and back into getting back to balance to homeostasis. It always wants to do that. Your body’s constantly trying to get to homeostasis.

Dr. Eric:

One thing I heard which I brought up earlier, sauna, and if someone is suspecting breast implant illness, from what I’ve heard, they probably shouldn’t do sauna?

Sarah:

Yeah, I definitely recommend to avoid a sauna until explant … Probably a good month after explant is when most surgeons will give you the green light to go ahead and start using a sauna. It’s a great detox tool. There’s been lots of studies done on far infrared light for stimulating the release of certain toxins and metals from your tissues, and then you’re sweating that out. Right? That’s a really great tool to utilize. It doesn’t have to all be about supplements, and I think that’s a great adjunctive therapy in addition to using oral chelators, things that will go into the tissues and pull out toxins and bind them up and hold on real tight until they’re out of the body. But yeah, before explant, you’re heating those implants up even more.

Imagine the rate at which they may start bleeding if you’re heating them up even more than body temperature. I think that’s definitely a good idea to avoid, and I would say some people do it anyway and they either say they feel worse or they feel better. I think either case is not great because if you feel better, you’re probably releasing a lot of toxins, but at the same time retoxifying yourself with heating those implants up and then bleeding more. If you feel worse, then you’re definitely not ready for that kind of detox yet and your drainage pathways are likely too sluggish to really actually get those toxins out. Rather than just mobilizing them and having them circulate around, you want them to get out. Right? Feeling worse is not a good sign.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah. Okay. Makes sense. Before we wrap this up, anything else that people should know, maybe besides the detoxifying, do you recommend mind body medicine? I assume you recommend what an average functional medicine practitioner would do besides the detox process, which is quite complex.

Sarah:

Yeah, my approach really is about the whole person, about the whole body, and that includes mindset and emotional health, and I think we’re more than physical beings. We’re spiritual beings as well. A lot of people enter into this journey trying to get their health back through explant, and just not really necessarily having their mindset right going into it, and not maybe being prepared for the emotional aspect of healing, and what that might look like and feel like to them as they see a huge change in their physical appearance that they’re not used to seeing.

There are many different pieces to that emotional well-being that needs to be addressed. Beyond breast implants, it’s important to take a good look at your entire life from birth until now, and pinpoint any significant stressors along your life, whether they be physical, chemical, structural, or some kind of mental emotional trauma, right? We have to address all those things, even the things we don’t want to look back at, in order to heal because all of them produce the same stress response in the body. Relieving enough stress on the body is really important, and so we have to look at all the different types of stress.

That is really my approach, is looking at addressing toxicity, addressing different types of stealth or chronic infections, and then addressing different types of trauma. That’s all really important. No one piece is more important than the other, so you can’t just focus on detox. You can’t just go on a bug killing spree or a candida diet or anti-candida diet or something like that, and expect to get true and lasting healing. It needs to be a very comprehensive whole person kind of approach. I think a big part of the mindset piece is coming into this journey knowing that it’s not going to be a straight line to healing. There will be ups and downs, you probably will feel worse at times, and to get out of that sick mindset, right?

People are always talking about how sick they are. “I’m so sick, I can’t do this, I can’t do that. I’m never going to get well. I’ve tried all the things and I’m still sick.” But I think it’s important to reframe that and stop talking about yourself that way. Because regardless of what is true, whatever you think about yourself, even if you’re not speaking it out loud, your body responds as if it is true. Having that kind of mindset where you’re constantly telling yourself about how sick you are and all the symptoms you’re experiencing day to day just keeps you in that place, and it’s hard to overcome that, even with doing all the right things physically. Yes, mindset is huge. It’s equally as important as anything else, and we have to include that in any healing journey.

Dr. Eric:

All right. Well said. Well, thank you so much for sharing everything.

Sarah:

Of course.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah. You mentioned earlier your Facebook group, Reversing Breast Implant Illness, and also a website that people could find you…

Sarah:

Yeah, my website is the same. It’s reversingbreastimplantillness.com. I’m on Instagram, it’s all the same name. Pretty easy to find me. YouTube as well, same thing. Actually, you can find me on YouTube by searching Sarah Philippe. Yeah. There’s information about my explant reset program, which really addresses all the things that I just talked about on my website.

Dr. Eric:

All right, awesome. Well, thanks again, Sarah. I appreciate you sharing everything you know about reversing breast implant illness.

Sarah:

Of course, thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Eric:

All right. It looks like we have a bunch of questions. We’ll try to get to as many as we can. All right. Teisha asked, “Could this be the same with tooth implants?”

Sarah:

Very good question, Teisha. This is another one of those root causes that I’m often looking for with my clients, is what else is going on here? The mouth can be such a source of hidden stress on the body that most people just don’t know to think about. It’s not that all implants are evil. There are certain implants that are considered safe. I did an interview with Dr. Curatola who’s a world-renowned biological dentist. I’ll post it on my YouTube channel, but he is my go-to for all things oral health. I hate to say he knows it all because nobody knows at all, but I trust him wholeheartedly, and there is a specific type of implant that he uses. I want to say it’s…

Dr. Eric:

Probably zirconia. Most will use titanium. Titanium is well-tolerated for most people, but there still is a certain percentage that will react to the titanium. But zirconium is what most biological dentists will use.

Sarah:

Yeah, I believe that’s what he says as well. But it really depends also on how the implant was placed, why the implant was placed. Was it a root canal tooth that was pulled? Was it infected tooth that was pulled? If so, was the entire periodontal ligament pulled, removed? Because that’s also … It’s like removing the implants but not removing the capsule. Right? There’s still a source of infection there and toxic exposure there. It has to be done a certain way. With any kind of surgery that’s needed, there’s a right and a wrong way. There’s a best practice and there is a practice that may lead you down the road of staying ill.

You definitely want to make sure you have the right person doing these types of procedures, and that just takes a lot of research and knowing what to look for. If you have health issues, if you’re someone who … I don’t know if you have breast implants or not, Teisha, but if you did and you had them removed and you’re still having issues and you’re wondering if the tooth implant could be an issue, yes, you could still have an infection around that implant. In that case, I would find a place where you can get a cone beam scan, which is a 3D image of your entire skull, and I would find a biological dentist who is really, really experienced at interpreting those, and believes that they’re valuable and understands how to use that as a tool for diagnosing infections.

Dr. Eric:

Besides a cone beam scan, which I think is great also for looking at infections, there’s testing available to see if you’re reacting to the titanium, so if you have a titanium implants. There used to be Clifford testing, which is biocompatibility testing. Unfortunately, they went out of business, unless if they’re back in business. But last I heard they’re no longer in business. But then there’s MELISA testing, something else to look into. Let’s see. This next question here is a long question. “I had my implants in for over 30 years. I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in June and didn’t connect my symptoms that possibly all or part is from my implants of sailing.”

“I have saline thinking they were safe. My symptoms started on/off in my 40s. I also had radiation as an infant on my throat, had two silver fillings that were just removed in March of 2021, then the COVID shots, Mono as a child, two back surgeries, and always thought my pain and stomach issues was from my back surgeries,” and I think the rest got cut off. But I guess as you mentioned, there could be … Again, the implants definitely could have been a factor. But again, it sounds like there could have been other things as well.

Sarah:

Yeah. An answer to this question, I think it is definitely helpful that you touch on all of those different points because it just goes to my point originally that it’s not always just about the implants. It sounds like there are multiple things going on here, and I definitely think the implants should come out. I can’t promise you that that’s going to resolve all of your problems of course, but it is a huge step in the right direction that will make the rest of what’s needed a lot easier.

It will make it possible so that you can actually heal. Implants coming out. Radiation on my throat, I’m wondering if there was some kind of throat issue or thyroid issue? I don’t know. Fillings, and if the fillings weren’t removed safely, then that’s another huge source of mercury exposure. COVID shots, yeah. I keep my own opinions about COVID shots to myself, but another source of toxic exposure.

Dr. Eric:

She had them for 30 years, I would imagine that the longer you have it… Everybody’s different. Again, someone could have them for five years and it could still leak, or even I guess, one or two years, but especially like you said, with all the issues she’s having and having them in for so long, probably is a good idea to consult with an explant doctor.

Sarah:

Yeah. They’re not lifetime devices. I would say that, I can’t tell you how many people I come across whose surgeons have never told them. That they need to be replaced every five to 10 years. Yeah, they’re due to come out.

Dr. Eric:

All right. Let’s see. “What is the website for the explant doctors? And can breast implant illness cause Hashimoto’s?”

Sarah:

I see a lot of women who have had breast implants who also have Hashimoto’s, and there’s no research connecting the two, and that’s because there’s really not much research out there on breast implants and breast implant illness in general. First of all, we need more studies. But I tend to rely more on your gut instinct, your intuition about this. For me, I didn’t have Hashimoto’s before I had breast implants, and we know they’re a chronic source of immune stimulation and they can lead to all kinds of different chronic infections, and we know that autoimmune conditions, especially that of the thyroid are connected to different infections and different sources of toxicity. I think there certainly could very well be a connection there.

Dr. Eric:

What’s that website again, for the explant doctor?

Sarah:

Breastimplantillness.com. They actually have an explant surgeon tab on their website.

Dr. Eric:

Okay. Cool. Thank you. Can you go a few more minutes?

Sarah:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Eric:

Okay. Thank you. This is another question, which I’m sure the answer to this is yes, as well. “Can 30-year-old breast implants cause Hashimoto’s?” Really, we’re discussing maybe even more likely to be a factor with autoimmunity than breast implants. Again, the thinking might be, well, but I’ve had them for so long, why all of a sudden would they cause an autoimmune condition? First of all, it takes a number of years for autoimmunity to develop. There’s that silent autoimmunity phase. It could have taken years for the antibodies for Hashimoto’s to show up on the testing or even just the thyroid panel itself to become imbalanced. But then getting back to the duration of having the implants. If someone has them, like you said, five to 10 years is the average life of an implant. 30 years is well past that.

Sarah:

Yeah. What I would say about chronic conditions, including autoimmunity and things like Hashimoto’s, is that there’s typically some level of genetic component here. With autoimmunity, we tend to think of it as there is a genetic component. However, there’s usually some kind of trigger, and also gut involvement. Usually there’s some leaky gut going on. Something like breast implants can be a trigger for autoimmunity to develop, especially if you’ve already got some genetic weakness. I have a family history of Hashimoto’s. My mom has Hashimoto’s.

She also has a mouthful of amalgams in her mouth. For her, the trigger, probably … She doesn’t have breast implants, so it wasn’t breast implants. For her, it’s likely her amalgams, and they need to come out. You got to think about the different types of toxic exposures and infections and things like that that could be triggering that for you. It sounds like, if you have breast implants, that that could be the trigger, and so it’s important to start removing those things.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah. Next she mentioned, “No wonder why can’t get rid of H. pylori.

Sarah:

Exactly. Exactly, you’re absolutely right.

Dr. Eric:

All right. Then Kim asks, “I blame breast implants on most of my health issues, including Graves’ without a doubt.” “When I get my implants removed, will my Hashimoto’s get worse? I finally have it on the control?”

Sarah:

That’s really tough to say because not everyone feels the same or better after explant surgery. I have worked with women who have explanted and then felt much worse, and whether that is an autoimmune condition that’s getting worse or whether it’s just something else going on is hard to say. But I will say that I think that sometimes the stress of the surgery for certain people also can be a trigger. It’s not this easy in and out surgery. It’s an aggressive surgery, and it’s a huge stress on the body, but it needs to happen, right? We can’t just ignore this. We have to go forward and remove those sources. For some people, that stress of the surgery is enough to trigger more things or trigger worsening health conditions short term, because we can always turn that around.

Dr. Eric:

All right. Daniela asked, “Could kidney stones be related?”

Sarah:

Possibly. I would say just about anything could be related, because it’s not that there’s this direct cause and effect, but it’s all the downstream dysregulation happening in the body that leads to widespread inflammation and stagnant lymph and stagnant detox pathways and immune dysregulation, and all of those things that can cause something like, in your case, maybe kidney stones to be an issue. But there’s usually more at play. It’s not just like, well, the breast implants are the cause of the kidney stones. It’s a bigger picture of what’s going on in the body.

Dr. Eric:

All right. This is actually a good question because you mentioned a sauna, you probably shouldn’t do sauna. Maria said, “So enjoying myself on the beach is no bueno?” So no good. “Can I lay out in the sun with having implants?”

Sarah:

Good question. I think there are some people who would say … And these aren’t necessarily practitioners. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Don’t heat up your body at all. Don’t take hot showers, don’t bathe in a bathtub full of hot water, keep our body as close to body temperature as you can.” But I think that there’s also a lot of benefit to getting that sun exposure. Benefit to a vitamin D status, first of all, benefit to our emotional, mental well-being, benefit to our immune system. The sun in the right dose is very healing. I’m often telling people they need to stop …

Well, ask your doctor, but in my experience, personally, I’ll tell you what I do, let’s just say that. I like to get lots of good sun exposure with no sunscreen, and then when I’m done in the sun, I will put clothing on or get in the shade. I think we’ve been lied to, we’ve been led to believe that the sun is always harmful, and that you should avoid it at all costs, so you don’t let yourself be exposed without sunscreen. But I think in some cases, like what you’re saying here, the benefit may outweigh the risk.

Dr. Eric:

Yes, I agree with that. Actually, Maria was also kind to share your … I believe this is your website here.

Sarah:

It is. Thanks, Maria.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah. Then let’s see. We’re going to finish up in a minute or two here. “I blame my C-section for Hashimoto’s and postpartum.”

Sarah:

Yeah. Again, C-section is a very aggressive surgery. I actually used to work in OB, so I’ve been a part of a lot of C-sections. Yeah, they’re incredibly aggressive, very stressful on the body, and it certainly could be a trigger.

Dr. Eric:

Maria, I will say here just because again we’re going over time here and I don’t want to keep Sarah here too much longer, but H. pylori, there are certain protocols. Maybe I could discuss this in a future call just for the sake of time here. But yeah, there are natural protocols for H. pylori. It’s not always easy. A lot of times it can be challenging, and even antibiotics aren’t perfect. There are people that take the triple therapy of two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor for a couple of weeks, and it still sometimes doesn’t get rid of H. pylori, and natural agents can be effective, but it does take time to do that.

Sarah:

It’s a tricky bug, and then you have to also consider why it’s a problem. Right? Why is that bug there and overgrowing and causing problems? It’s not just about treating the bug, it’s about addressing the upstream, right? What’s triggering that to be a problem? There’s a lot more that goes into protocol creation for something like this. But I have seen it time and time again resolve. It just needs the right approach. Yeah, that’s all I’ll say about that because we could get into a rabbit hole here.

Dr. Eric:

Yep. All right. Just a few quick comments. I think we’re done with questions. Just, “I never knew that implants needs to be changed. None of doctors ever said that.” Thank you, and thank you for tuning in. Kim, “Just to continue with my previous statement, I did have my implants removed two years ago, but still struggling with health. I’ll look Sarah up on YouTube.” All right, awesome. You might have a future client. Then Maria, I think this is the last comment, “Thank you, Sarah. Excited to learn more about your program so I can thrive as I was created to be.”

Sarah:

Oh, good. Good for you, Maria. I love your outlook and your attitude.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah, this was great. I’m surprised. I shouldn’t be surprised. I usually get a good amount of questions. I honestly just wasn’t sure just because it’s such a specific topic with breast implant illness how many questions we got. We will see, but again, it was a pleasure having you on, and it sounds like people learned a lot. Yeah, definitely check out Sarah’s website. Again, I’ll highlight Maria’s comment again. Visit that website, her YouTube channel as well. Then again, she has a Facebook group, and you said also Instagram, the same handle. Well, thank you. Thanks again, Sarah.

Sarah:

Of course.

Dr. Eric:

I appreciate you taking the time and sharing your insight on breast implant illness.

Sarah:

Yeah. I was happy to do it, and I’m glad we got a chance to do this. I’m glad enough people were on to ask the questions they wanted to ask. Yeah, it’s been a pleasure, and thank you so much.

Dr. Eric:

Yeah. All right. Well, everyone, thank you so much for tuning in. Hope you have a good rest of your Friday and a wonderful weekend ahead, and I will be live next week at 2:00. Hopefully I’ll see all of you or at least some of you on again. Again, thanks again. Sarah. I hope you have also a wonderful Friday and weekend ahead.

Sarah:

Thanks. You as well.

Dr. Eric:

All right. Thanks, everyone.

Sarah:

Bye-bye. Take care.

Dr. Eric:

Goodbye.