Horrifying reason woman was always tired
When Alivia Celio went under the knife last December to get breast implants never did the 23-year-old imagine she would be getting them removed less than a year later.
Last month, Ms Celio travelled to the United States where she paid $11,000 to get them taken out at a medical clinic which treats Breast Implant Illness, a medical condition not recognised in Australia.
Last year, the public relations worker decided to get her B cup increased to a size D after upping her exercise regimen.
"I started training more and basically my breasts sort of shrunk in size," Ms Celio told news.com.au.
"I didn't want the look of breast implants as such, more so just for my breasts to go back to what they were and be a bit perkier."
After undergoing a $11,000 breast implant surgery at a Sydney clinic Ms Celio was over the moon with how they looked.
"Initially I was happy with the results and the surgery went how I expected it to, nothing was too unexpected until about March," she said
All of a sudden and just three months after her surgery, Ms Celio was crippled with tiredness and struggling to get out of bed.
"I started getting really fatigued for no reason at all," she said. So, I've always been the type of person who likes to socialise on weekends, I push myself at work, I studied at uni, and I was always fine being on the go.
"I noticed I started to get really fatigued when nothing in my life was really changing."
Ms Celio also began experiencing declining vision, nausea, gut issues, joint pain, rashes and a hormonal imbalance that caused her to lose her period.
Before long Ms Celio's family and friends began noticing she was unwell and the symptoms began taking a toll in other ways.
"It was really hard for me emotionally, I did struggle a lot," she said,
"I've always been someone who is quite happy, and I always tried to be caring and help others who were struggling.
"For me I found it hard to feel my own emotions in that time. It was definitely a very dark time for me which is why I wanted to stay in bed all day everyday and not see people."
Unsure of what was making her ill, Ms Celio turned to doctors who blamed stress.
"Initially doctors just told me that my hormones were out so I got prescribed a progesterone cream to try and boost my progesterone, because it was extremely low," she said.
"Doctors told me to manage stress … it was my first full-time position after studying at uni and they kind of just blamed it on external factors like work, stress, over exerting myself, hormone changes.
"But no one would really say why my hormones were changing or anything like that, it was just kind of try this or try that and see how go."
Desperate for answers and unable to work, Ms Celio saw a naturopath in August who raised the possibility of Breast Implant Illness, a term used by women who describe a variety of symptoms after having implants.
"She brought to my attention Breast Implant Illness and that she had quite a few girls come to her with the same symptoms who all had breast implants," Ms Celio said.
"Once she said that obviously I was kind of shocked … (At first I thought) I want to rule that out, it's not them, I only just got them.
"And then when I looked at my timeline of events and symptoms, it just added up to it being them.
"Because I didn't struggle with anything before, I always had a regular menstrual cycle, like everything, I was social. It just all started declining and it made sense to me."
While not widely recognised by doctors in Australia, women report symptoms including chronic plain, tiredness, depression, rashes and weight gain.
Some women who claim to suffer from the condition opt to undergo explant surgery, which was what Ms Celio ended up doing last month.
Ms Celio travelled to Cleveland, Ohio, where she paid $11,000 to have her implants removed by Dr Lu Jean Feng from The Feng Clinic.
While she had been warned by Australian doctors that removing her implants could leave her with "deformed" breasts, Ms Celio said the results look better than her original breasts.
"They've been so good, it's called fluffing up so basically since surgery they're a lot perkier," she said.
"They're the same size as they were prior to surgery. I'm definitely not deformed, if anything I'm really happy with them they way they look compared to before my breast augmentation."
While admitting recovery from the major surgery hadn't been easy, Ms Celio said the symptoms she had been experiencing earlier this year have disappeared.
"Physiologically at the start it was a bit of a struggle just healing and stuff and obviously I didn't feel my best for a while," she said.
"But now I have my energy back, I want to socialise again and my vision is really clear, I feel happy, I'm so happy with my decision."
Now, more than $20,000 poorer and two surgeries later, Ms Celio has a message for other women that may be considering going under the knife for implants.
"I would definitely say do your research," she said. "I think they should definitely look up Breast Implant Illness and how many individuals are affected by it.
"And I would tell people to just appreciate what you have. I think everyone just picks on themselves and stuff, but at the end of the day we're all healthy and happy and that's all that matters really."